The Cosby Show is one of the most beloved family sitcoms of all time. The loving Black family of seven won the hearts of thousands of viewers from 1984 to 1992, per IMDb. No matter who you were, there was a member of the Huxtable family you could identify with. For many, that was the eldest of the kids, Sondra Huxtable. Actress Sabrina Le Beauf played Sondra throughout the series’ run, but believe it or not, she almost lost the role to a then-unknown young talent who would go on to be an international superstar.
Le Beauf grew up in Los Angeles for most of her life. She had a genuine interest in acting from a young age. After high school, she headed to UCLA to study theater arts. She fell in love with the stage and headed to the Yale School of Drama, as per The Washington Post. Her theater experience would come in handy when auditioning for The Cosby Show, but she still almost lost the role. As The Daily Mail revealed, the role almost went to a young Whitney Houston. When it came time to sign her contract, Houston worried it would impact her not-yet-established singing career. Once Houston declined, it was clear Le Beauf was the one for the gig.
Sabrina LaBeauf wasn't always happy with the role
Sabrina Le Beauf was grateful for the opportunities and experiences she got from being on one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, but the work wasn’t always fulfilling. She only appeared in 54 episodes of the show’s 197 episode run (per IMDb) and often felt like the situations she was put in didn’t allow her to showcase her talents. Unlike other actresses of the day, she wasn’t afraid to say so.
“An actor needs to exercise, the discipline needs exercise to meet the challenges,” she told The Washington Post in 1989. “Working in television you do not have the opportunity most times to do what you are capable of doing. Having been on the show for five years I have not been able to do what I am capable of doing. I feel cheated that 55 million people a week watch something that is not my best work.”
Le Beauf became more of a mainstay on the show later in its run, when we saw Sondra and husband Elvin Tibideaux (played by Geoffrey Owens) welcome twins Winnie and Nelson, named after the Mandelas.
Sabrina LaBeauf found another career to love, but acting is still in her heart
After the series came to an end, Sabrina Le Beauf returned to UCLA, where she attended an interior design program. In it, she found love for the field. “Whatever part of the brain and the heart that acting feeds in me, design does the same thing,” she told People in 1999. “You walk into an empty home and little by little you put it together and it comes to life, just the way you build a character. Once it’s there and people really like it, it’s the same as the applause you get as an actor.”
She didn’t give up on acting altogether, however. She collaborated with Bill Cosby again with an appearance on Cosby that same year, per IMDb. In 2004, she turned her talents to voice acting, teaming up with Cosby again for Fatherhood. She played Norma Bindlebeep for the show’s 26 episodes. In 2009, she did a little something different with her role in the horror thriller The Stalker Within. It was her last TV acting credit to date, though she returned to the stage that year. Broadway World shows her last production as Love, Loss, and What I Wore, which she appeared in from 2009 to 2013.
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