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See Martin Kendall From "The Cosby Show" Now at 60

Actor Joseph C. Phillips is now just as well known as a political commentator.

Several seasons into The Cosby Show's run, audiences were introduced to two new characters who quickly made their mark on the show. In Season 6, the Huxtable family was surprised to find that Denise (Lisa Bonet) had secretly married a military man named Martin Kendall and become stepmother to his daughter, Olivia (Raven-Symoné). Both Martin and Olivia became regulars on the series and remained so until it ended with its ninth season. These days, Joseph C. Phillips, who played Martin, is still acting, but he's also taken on another career that has him speaking to audiences for a very different reason. Read on to find out more about the 60-year-old actor's life and career today.

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He actually played two roles on The Cosby Show.

Lisa Bonet and Joseph C. Phillips on "The Cosby Show"
Carsey-Werner Distribution

From 1989 to 1991, Phillips appeared in many episodes of The Cosby Show as Martin, but, years earlier, he played a different role. During a Season 2 episode, Phillips played a character named Daryl, who went on a date with oldest Huxtable kid, Sondra (Sabrina Le Beauf).

As Martin, Phillips also popped up on an episode of The Cosby Show spinoff A Different World.

He's still acting today.

Andre Harrell, Tommy Davidson, and Joseph C. Phillips on the set of "Strictly Business" in 1991
Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

In addition to being a major part of The Cosby Show, Phillips has also had recurring roles on the series The District, General Hospital, Without a Trace, The Young and the RestlessCriminal Minds, and 13 Reasons Why.

Most recently, the actor guest starred in episodes of Good Trouble and CSI: Vegas.

He's a political commentator.

Joseph C. Phillips on "CBS Sunday Morning" in 2015
CBS Sunday Morning / YouTube

While Phillips is still active as an actor, it's not his only public-facing work. He's also a conservative political commentator and columnist, who has worked for NPR's News & Notes and American Urban Radio Network. He touches on being a Black conservative in his 2006 book He Talk Like a White Boy: Reflections on Faith, Family, Politics and Authenticity.

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He just landed a new position.

Sam Philips and Joseph C. Phillips at Netflix's Emmy After-party in 2018
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

In October 2022, it was announced that Phillips would be joining Clark Atlanta University as a Theatre and Communication Studies professor. According to a press release from the school, he previously served as a fellow at "the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian College; the Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute; and the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, where he designed, wrote the curriculum, and taught a seven-week course titled 'Black Conservatism in America.'"

He's a father of three.

As for his personal life, Phillips has three sons—Connor, Ellis, and Samuel Phillips—with Nicole Phillips. He and Nicole married in 1994, and according to TV One, she filed for divorce in 2018.

Phillips sometimes posts about his children on social media, including noting how proud he is of their accomplishments. In an Instagram post from July 2022, Phillips shared a photo of his sons when they were little and wrote, "Time raced by. The baby is a rising senior at #universityofnebraska #cornhuskers The middle is a communications major at #ucsantabarbara #gauchos The eldest is a graduate of #westpoint."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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