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Keisha Knight Pulliam: Interesting Things You Might Not Know

Updated on April 19, 2017

Appearances Before "The Cosby Show"

Most people think Keisha Knight Pulliam got her start on The Cosby Show. However, she had already been performing by the time she first appeared on the series in 1984 at five years old.

When the girl was only nine months old, she appeared in a national print advertisement for Johnson's & Johnson's baby products. She appeared in numerous other national commercials and television shows before viewers saw her on The Cosby Show.

Her acting career also starting before she became a Huxtable. When she was three years old, she appeared regularly on Sesame Street. Not only that, but while she was on television with the Cosbys, she was also starring in movies. She made her feature film debut in The Last Dragon in 1985. That means the little girl was on the little screen and big screen at the same time.

Role as Rudy

Viewers watched her play the role of Rudy in 179 episodes of The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992. There is a little-known fact about the character. Rudy was originally written as a boy. The Huxtables were to have two boys and two girls. A suitable boy for the role could not be found so auditions were extended to girls. Jaleel White, later known for his role as Steve Urkel on Family Matters, was turned down for the part.

Knight Pulliam was nominated for an Emmy for her performance in the second season of the series. She became the youngest nominee ever. Her television mother, Phylicia Rashad, was also nominated during that season. Neither won but both were honored nonetheless.

Coming of Age

Viewers saw Knight Pulliam grow up before their eyes on The Cosby Show. She has maintained a presence on television as an adult.

  • She portrayed Miranda Lucas-Payne on the TBS comedy-drama Tyler Perry's House of Payne from 2007 to 2012. She appeared in 56 episodes.
  • In 2013, Keisha was a contestant on the ABC celebrity diving show Splash. She was the first contestant to be eliminated from the reality show.
  • In 2013, Keisha was also a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice and was the first contestant to be eliminated because she was the project manager for the team that lost.

It seems as though 2013 wasn't a very good year for Keisha as far as reality shows were concerned.

Keisha Knight Pulliam's Awards and Nominations

Year
Award
Series
1986
Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in A Comedy Series
The Cosby Show - Nominated
2009
NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series
Tyler Perry's House of Payne - Won
2010
NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series
Tyler Perry's House of Payne - Won
2011
NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series
Tyler Perry's House of Payne - Nominated
2012
NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series
Tyler Perry's House of Payne - Won

Personal Background

Keshia Knight Pulliam is a Newark, New Jersey native. Her parents are Denise and James Knight Pulliam, Sr. She is very close to her two brothers, James Knight Pulliam II and Mshon Knight Pulliam.

In 2001, she graduated from Spelman College with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology. While in college, she became a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Her marriage to Ed Hartwell lasted only seven months. At the time, his net worth was $200,000. Hers was $12 million.

Marriage, Divorce, and a Baby

Knight Pulliam's marriage was like a whirlwind. She began dating Edgerton Hartwell, a former NFL linebacker, in September of 2015.

They became engaged on New Year's Eve of 2015. They got married a day later in her house in Atlanta.

On July 17, 2016, Knight Pulliam announced that she was expecting her first child. Hartwell filed for divorce on July 25, 2016; he demanded a paternity test. On January 23, 2017, the 37-year-old became a single parent after giving birth to her daughter, Ella Grace.

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