The Hollywood Reporter said “A Different World” was transformed “from a bland 'Cosby' spinoff into a lively, socially responsible ensemble situation comedy” after Debbie Allen took over as producer-director after the first season.

The show explored controversial topics such as AIDS, the 1992 LA riots, race, and unplanned pregnancy. “A Different World” was commended for encouraging African-Americans to pursue higher education, and historically black colleges saw a bump in enrollment after the show aired. Like “Cosby,” the series was also a financial bonanza for NBC, earnings ratings of No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 4 its first four seasons.

Lisa, however, couldn't maintain the squeaky clean image that Cosby demanded from the series's stars. She reportedly had a poor work ethic and she suffered backlash from the “Cosby” audience after she appeared topless in 1987's “Angel Heart,” a movie in which she filmed several steamy sex scenes with co-star Mickey Rourke.
Classic TV Beauties
Classic TV Beauties 1980s Countdown
    LISA BONET as Denise Huxtable in "The Cosby Show" and  "A Different World"
Denise was the Cos's wild child, the free spirit who changed boyfriends, hairstyles and clothing styles daily. During her seven year stint as Bill Cosby's TV daughter, Denise matured from a high school to a college student to a step mother.

In real life the doe-eyed, racially-mixed Lisa found Denise's image difficult to live up to as she courted controversy and struggled to stay out of the doghouse during her Cosby days.
In her first foray on a TV series, Lisa was fortunate enough to land a starring role in the biggest hit TV show of the 1980s and of one of the most historic TV series in the history of television.

“The Cosby Show” wasn't a program about a black family, it was a program about an American family. The series shattered the myth that white people would not watch a show with an all-black cast.
Airing on Thursday nights at 8 pm, “The Cosby Show” was truly appointment TV. “Cosby” ruled the Nielsen ratings, ranking No. 1 every year from 1985-89, and it was a top five show for seven of its eight seasons. It's been estimated that the show earned NBC $1 billion.

Lisa appeared in about half of the 208 episodes of “Cosby.” She left the show in 1987 to star in the spinoff “A Different World,” a series centered on students attending a historically black college.

“I was really surprised” that Cosby chose her to star in the spinoff, she told the Houston Chronicle in a 1987 interview. “I thought I'd continue my last two years on 'Cosby' and then I'd move on from there.

“I saw them try different spinoffs, so I knew they wanted to extend something to the audience by then. But I didn't know it was gonna be with me.”
.No. 9
She offered a halfhearted apology in the interview with the Houston Chronicle.

“I wasn't aware of Denise's reputation and her following,” she said. “I wasn't thinking of how many people watch the show. When you're doing the show and you're in the trenches, you really don't see what everyone's talking about.”

Lisa also reportedly agitated Cosby by marrying musician Lenny Kravitz (another child of Jewish and African-American heritage) and becoming pregnant at age 21. Appearing semi-nude on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine didn't go over well with the Cos either.

She was fired after appearing in only 22 episodes of “A Different World,” then she returned to “Cosby” and she was later fired again at the Cos's urging. She wasn't invited to appear in the show's finale in 1991, and she hasn't participated in any reunion shows since then,

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 1998, Lisa said the show “was a big part of my life. My daughter just got all the tapes from my aunt and she'd never really seen my work before. All through her life people had been asking her mom, 'Can I have your autograph?' and she never knew why.”
Four years later, though, she told The Washington Post, “The whole experience and energy behind it felt disingenuous and motivated by corporate profit. I felt devalued and disrespected.”

Born in San Francisco to a Jewish mother and black father, Lisa called herself “Literally the black sheep of the family. There were definitely moments of discomfort while my grandmother was working through her racism.”

“I spent a lot of time feeling alienated and rejected, but I found my art – theatre – when I was 16,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to get 'Cosby' and move to New York and shift my life that had been my dream all along and it came true.”

Lisa has acted sporadically since her “Cosby” era. Her most memorable film roles were in “Enemy of the State,” “High Fidelity,” and “Biker Boyz.”

Daughter Zoe Kravitz, now a well-known actress, lauded her mom's decision to drop out.

“She walked away from being famous because she didn't really care about it,” she said on the website in 2011. “She is the most true artist I have met. She doesn't change for anybody. I admire her so much – and the fact that she's my mom is just so cool.”
Lisa Bonet Denise Huxtable "The Cosby Show," "Different World"
Lisa Bonet Denise Huxtable "The Cosby Show," "Different World"
Lisa Bonet Denise Huxtable "The Cosby Show," "Different World"
Lisa Bonet Denise Huxtable "The Cosby Show," "Different World"
Phylicia Rashad "The Cosby Show" Clair Huxtable
Loni Anderson "WKRP in Cincinnati" Jennifer Marlowe
Alyssa Milano "Charmed" Phoebe Halliwell
Pamela Anderson "Baywatch" "V.I.P." CJ Parker Vallery Irons
Goldie Hawn "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In"
Cher "The Sonny and Cher Show"
Jennifer Aniston "Friends" Rachel Green
Christina Applegate "Married... With Children" Kelly Bundy
Kirstie Alley "Cheers" Rebecca Howe
Markie Post "Night Court" Christine Sullivan