Fictional TV moms are just like real-life mothers. While some are full-time moms, others manage to build professional careers while performing their duties as a parent. Many TV series have featured a working mother, but do you know which TV mom was also a lawyer?
Clair Huxtable of The Cosby Show
Clair Huxtable is the wife of Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby) and the mother of their five children in the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show. Played by actress Phylicia Rashad, the TV mom is a lawyer by profession who values the importance of maintaining a successful career and a strong household at the same time.
As a lawyer, Clair doesn’t put up with any nonsense and can easily find out if any of her children is trying to get away with something. Though the NBC sitcom didn’t highlight Clair’s life in the courtroom, the character’s quick wit, smarts, and cool demeanor suggest that she had already won several legal cases.
Who was the inspiration for Clair Huxtable?
Cosby ― who co-created The Cosby Show with Ed. Weinberger and Michael J. Leeson ― is credited for conceiving the character of Clair. Basing Clair on his own wife, Camille, Cosby originally wanted to make the character a plumber. But the producers, as well as Camille, ultimately swayed Cosby to rewrite Clair into a lawyer to reflect a family that closely resembled their own.
Since the sitcom’s inception, Cosby had always intended for Clair to reflect the ways in which women’s roles have evolved in both home and workplace. This explains why Clair was depicted as a hardworking career woman with strong feminist principles ― an aspect of the character that was highlighted during her confrontations with her chauvinistic son-in-law, Elvin Tibideaux (Geoffrey Louis Owens).
How was Clair Huxtable received by viewers?
The Cosby Show had been plagued with various criticisms during its eight-season run, but the audience loved Clair as well as Rashad’s portrayal of the character. In fact, the actress had earned two Emmy nominations for her performance of the iconic character.
And even though Rashad had gone on to play other acting roles after The Cosby Show ended in 1992, Clair remains the role for which she is best known. A feminist icon and considered one of TV’s first working mothers, Clair had a profound influence on African-American women and female lawyers in television, and that impact is aptly called the “Clair Huxtable Effect.”
Other beloved TV moms
Clair is just one of the many incredible mothers on TV. Also falling into this category are Beverly Goldberg of The Goldbergs, Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch, Claire Dunphy of Modern Family, Marge Simpson of The Simpsons, and Sophia Petrillo of The Golden Girls. Click here to see 30 of the greatest TV moms ever.