Keshia Knight Pulliam

Active - 1985 - 2021  |   Born - Apr 9, 1979 in Newark, New Jersey, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Nathan Southern

A native of New Jersey, actress Keshia Knight Pulliam first rocketed into the national spotlight -- and won the hearts of many a devoted '80s television viewer -- as Rudy Huxtable, the spunky, pint-sized youngest daughter of Dr. Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby), on The Cosby Show. Initially brought in at the age of five (in 1984), Knight Pulliam imparted the series with a "cuteness" factor that laudably waned somewhat as the program wore on and the actress herself aged (though producers eventually brought in Raven-Symone to fill the gap). By the fall of 1992, in fact -- when Cosby wrapped -- Knight Pulliam had reached her teens. Over the course of the series run, she received an Emmy nod for Best Supporing Actress at age six, and qualified at the time as the youngest actress to be nominated for an Emmy in history.

During Cosby, Knight Pulliam also essayed occasional feature roles; among other accomplishments, she headlined at several telemovies, including the period holiday drama The Little Match Girl (1987), the Mark Twain update A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1989), and Debbie Allen's musical version of Pollyanna, Polly (1989), as well as its sequel, Polly: Comin' Home! (1990). After The Cosby Show wrapped, Knight Pulliam attended Spelman College in Atlanta, then achieved a second wind in her career as a reality television star, on programs including a celebrity installment of Fear Factor, Celebrity Mole: Yucatan, and a TV child stars episode of The Weakest Link. She also signed for a starring role in Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail (2009), as Candy, a locked-up prostitute befriended by the sardonic, hell-raising Madea.

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  • At 8 months old, she appeared in a national print ad for Johnson & Johnson.
  • Made TV debut on Sesame Street when she was 3.
  • In 1984, she landed her breakout TV gig playing youngest child Rudy Huxtable on the NBC comedy The Cosby Show, a role that was meant to be a boy's part. 
  • Was honored in 1984 with an NAACP Image Award.
  • Became the youngest female nominated for an Emmy in 1986.
  • In 1985, she landed her first movie part in The Last Dragon (1985). 
  • Won a Kid's Choice Award in 1991.  
  • A frequent participant on celebrity-themed game shows, she was crowned the winner of a 2001 special edition of Weakest Link and a 2002 special edition of Fear Factor.    
  • Started a production company called PullPenn in 2008.
  • Won the first of two NAACP Image Awards in 2009 for her work on the cable series Tyler Perry's House of Payne.