Her career started at 8 months old: 11 things you may not know about Keshia Knight Pulliam
By Marie Seva
Keisha Knight Pulliam, best known as ‘Rudy’ from “The Cosby Show,” has been working in the entertainment industry longer than some people are aware. The actress, who was voted off “Celebrity Apprentice” this week, had her first break into fame at the age of 8 months when she appeared in a Johnson & Johnson print ad for infants. She went on to appear in the educational children’s television program “Sesame Street” when she was only 3-years-old.
Let’s take a peak at more interesting facts about the former child wonder who transformed into a very classy and savvy businesswoman:
- Pulliam was born to Denise and James Pulliam, Sr. on April 9, 1979 in Newark, New Jersey. She is the eldest of three siblings, having two younger brothers, James Pulliam III and Mshon Pulliam.
- When she was only 4-years-old, the actress endeared herself to the world as Rudy Huxtable, the youngest daughter of Cliff and Clair Huxtable in “The Cosby Show,” which ran from 1984 to 1992. Her role was originally meant to be played by a boy as the youngest son of the family, but auditions proved unproductive, so casting directors began auditioning girls, and Pulliam topped the list.
- Pulliam holds the record for the youngest actress to be nominated at the Emmy Awards. She was nominated as Best Supporting Actress at the age of 6 for her role in “The Cosby Show.”
- Bill Cosby recognized how special Pulliam was early on. He said, “This four-year-old child was unbelievable. She was natural. People gravitated to her. She got big laughs from time to time in front of the audience. We never had a problem. Nobody ever had to come down from wherever they were observing and get the child and stop her from crying. I’ve done enough Jell-O commercials to know how to appreciate Keshia Knight Pulliam at age four.”
- There was no special treatment for Pulliam as a child star. At the wishes of her parents, Pulliam was treated like an ordinary child in her household. She was made to do dishes, babysit for her brothers and go to a regular school like any girl her age.
- She left show business for some time to concentrate on her studies. She went to Foxcroft School, an exclusive boarding school for girls in Middleburg, Virginia. She then went on to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.
- In her comeback to television, Pulliam joined and won on “The Weakest Link” game show in 2001 and the “Celebrity Fear Factor” in 2003.
- Pulliam created the Kamp Kizzy Foundation. Its goal is “to inspire, empower and develop youth between the ages of 11-16 into confident and successful young adults.” It is primarily for girls, but Pulliam is starting a program for boys called “Project James,” which will be launched in 2015.
- Donald Trump fired Pulliam from “Celebrity Apprentice” for declining to her TV dad, Bill Cosby, for solicitations. In an interview on “The Wendy Williams Show,” Pulliam said, “I did what I felt in my heart was right.” She said that because she had not been in communication with Cosby in recent years, she did not feel it was appropriate to break the ice by asking for a check. She said that she refused to compromise her “integrity and…character as a woman” for “15 minutes of fame.” It was later revealed that Trump donated $25,000 to her foundation.
- Regarding allegations against Bill Cosby, Pulliam said “He was awesome. He was the guy who made jokes with me to make me remember my lines … he’s the man who inspired me to be such an entrepreneur … I feel that his legacy and all the great things he’s done speak volumes.”
- When asked how Pulliam wanted to be remembered, she replied:
“I would love to be remembered as a wonderfully dynamic and multitalented actress who left a legacy through her work and through her life of helping people and of being a positive force in the world.
“And I’d also like to be remembered for doing my best at everything that I set my mind to do, while helping to inspire others along the way.”
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