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Exclusive: Bill Cosby Co-Star Tony Winner Phylicia Rashad Speaks Out for First Time, Defends Her Friend

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Bill Cosby, right, with Phylicia Rashad, his television wife from "The Cosby Show," during his May 3, 2002 induction ceremony into NBC's Walk of Fame. (AP file photo)

Bill Cosby, right, with Phylicia Rashad, his television wife from “The Cosby Show,” during his May 3, 2002 induction ceremony into NBC’s Walk of Fame. (AP file photo)

 

(Showbiz 411) – It was just happenstance: I ran into Tony winner Phylicia Rashad today at Paramount’s super elegant lunch for the movie “Selma” at the Metropolitan Club. Rashad co-starred with Bill Cosby for 12 years as his TV wife– first on “The Cosby Show” and then on its sequel “Cosby” featuring Madeline Kahn. She will always be Claire Huxtable, wife of Dr. Cliff, and mother of the Huxtable family.

No one knows Cosby better than the soft spoken, smart, articulate Rashad, for whom I have a lot of respect. So far she has not said a word about the scandal that has engulfed Cosby and is systematically destroying his 50 year career and reputation.

So far.

Now, as the extraordinary “Selma” lunch– which featured a brilliant performance by Common and John Legend of their theme song, “Glory”– Rashad and I had a talk about Cosby. No less than Harry Belafonte and Ruben Santiago Hudson were hovering above us as we chatted. Let’s make something clear. Rashad, who is one of our greatest stage actresses, has kept quiet, didn’t seek me out, and even said “I don’t want to become part of the public debate.”

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