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|Also Known As:||William H Cosby Jr., Dr. William H Cosby Jr., William Cosby Jr, Ed D, William Henry Cosby Jr.||Died:|
|Born:||July 12, 1937||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA||Profession:||actor, comedian, producer, author, commercial spokesperson, TV host, composer, screenwriter, musician, fruit salesman, shoe shiner, bartender|
Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
Choice Awards for favorite comedy series. Star Cosby earned Best Actor statues from the Golden Globes in 1985 and 1986 and producer Cosby enjoyed further success with the spin-off, "A Different World" (NBC, 1987-1993), a college-set sitcom that also enjoyed strong ratings.Throughout the run of the "Cosby" juggernaut, the comic actor became a bestselling author, first with the humor book Fatherhood (1986), which spent six months at the top of The New York Times bestseller list. The following year, Cosby warned audiences to stay away from his theatrical turkey "Leonard, Part 6" (1987) - a rare request from any actor - and settled back into his position as top TV star and author of the hugely popular follow-up book Love and Marriage (1989). He reunited with director Poitier and contributed story and producer credits for the big screen family outing "Ghost Dad" (1990), however he could not raise the level of the material above that of an extended sitcom. His reputation remained solid with the bestseller Childhood (1991), and following the end of his wildly successful sitcom run, he took supporting roles in moderately popular big screen comedies "The Meteor Man" (1993) and "Jack" (1996). When he returned...
Choice Awards for favorite comedy series. Star Cosby earned Best Actor statues from the Golden Globes in 1985 and 1986 and producer Cosby enjoyed further success with the spin-off, "A Different World" (NBC, 1987-1993), a college-set sitcom that also enjoyed strong ratings.
Throughout the run of the "Cosby" juggernaut, the comic actor became a bestselling author, first with the humor book Fatherhood (1986), which spent six months at the top of The New York Times bestseller list. The following year, Cosby warned audiences to stay away from his theatrical turkey "Leonard, Part 6" (1987) - a rare request from any actor - and settled back into his position as top TV star and author of the hugely popular follow-up book Love and Marriage (1989). He reunited with director Poitier and contributed story and producer credits for the big screen family outing "Ghost Dad" (1990), however he could not raise the level of the material above that of an extended sitcom. His reputation remained solid with the bestseller Childhood (1991), and following the end of his wildly successful sitcom run, he took supporting roles in moderately popular big screen comedies "The Meteor Man" (1993) and "Jack" (1996). When he returned to series TV with the CBS sitcom "Cosby" (1996-2000), he attempted to stretch, playing an out-of-work curmudgeon who drives his wife (again played by "The Cosby Show" co-star Phylicia Rashad) crazy. After the initial season, however, the character was softened and the addition of a pre-school plot allowed the comic actor to do what he did best -interact with children.
In 1997, America mourned the tragic murder of Cosby's son Ennis - who was senselessly murdered in L.A. during a car-jacking - and learned in the process, just how close the portrait of TV's Theo Huxtable (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) was to that of Ennis. Like the affable but ever-struggling Theo, Ennis had his troubles with school, but once diagnosed as dyslexic, overcame the disability, graduating from Morehouse College and dedicating himself to helping others with similar learning disabilities. Fast on the heels of Cosby's devastating loss, he weathered an extortion attempt on the part of a young woman who claimed she was the product of a liaison between her mother and Cosby. There was no proof of his paternity - though he did acknowledge the affair- and the entertainer provided financial assistance to the young woman, including college tuition. In spite of his personal grief and the whiff of scandal, Cosby refused to cancel personal engagements, telling one audience, "I want you all to know you don't have to forget what happened. But we're supposed to laugh, have a good time. Be together."
Cosby responded by throwing himself into work and sticking close to his life's calling for the benefit of children. He hosted "Kids Say the Darndest Things" (CBS, 1998-2000), based on a popular segment of "Art Linkletter's House Party" (CBS, 1952-1969), and launched the Emmy Award-winning preschool animated series "Little Bill" (Nickelodeon/CBS, 1999-2004), a charming series of moral stories featuring the voices of Phylicia Rashad, Ruby Dee and Cosby. He maintained a steady schedule of public appearances at community centers where he addressed problems in lower income African-American communities. Cosby finally brought the beloved "Fat Albert" to the big screen in 1994. Always in artistic control, he co-wrote the script and served as executive producer, landing J l Zwick to direct and teen comedian Kenan Thompson to star as the jovial fat one. Upon release, the feature made enough box office dollars to avoid being labeled a flop, but not enough to warrant a sequel. Cosby maintained a low profile over the next several years, choosing to focus on speaking engagements and the publication of more books, but his name surfaced in 2008 after the election of Barack Obama, the country's first black president. Commentators pointed to Cosby, among others, for his role in destroying negative cultural stereotypes and helping make it possible for Americans to accept the reality of educated professional, African-Americans - with some labeling it the "Cosby Effect."
After several years out of the spotlight, Cosby returned to stand-up comedy in the 2010s, touring regularly around the country with new material. He also made regular appearances on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (NBC 2009-2014), during which he invariably sparred mock-aggressively with house band The Roots, fellow Philadelphia natives. Cosby performed his first televised stand-up special in over thirty years, "Far From Finished" (2013), on Comedy Central in November 2013.Show," while racking up Grammy Awards for more live recordings in 1968, 1969 and 1970. After "I Spy" came to and end in 1968, Cosby remained on the air as host of the Emmy-winning variety show, "The Bill Cosby Special" (NBC, 1968) and his own sitcom, "The Bill Cosby Show" (NBC, 1969-1971), where he starred as a high school physical education teacher.
Cosby subsequently took a hiatus to resume his own education, earning first a Masters Degree and then a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts. He became a high-profile advocate of the importance of childhood education; furthering his cause by teaching reading skills in taped segments on "The Electric Company" (PBS, 1971-77) and creating his own half-hour animated show, "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" (CBS, 1972-79). Cosby, with total creative control, shaped the series into a showcase for the educational and child-rearing theories developed during his doctoral studies. The warm-hearted show brought to life characters from Cosby's stand-up routine - who were, themselves, characters from his own childhood -where they faced relatable situations like peer pressure and first loves, book-ended by live-action Cosby introducing the week's dilemma and commenting on its resolution. In a similar educational vein, Cosby's LP Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs earned a Grammy for Best Children's album in 1972.
While generally known as a television success, Cosby followed up with three popular features during that time which served as a dignified alternative to the era's "blaxpliotation" offerings. The Sidney Poitier-directed "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974) was a straight-ahead comic caper about a working class guy's night out-gone-awry. The buddy con game "Let's Do It Again" (1975) also paired Cosby with Poitier with great results, however the third film in the trilogy - the heist "A Piece of the Action" (1977) - was panned. After a short-lived attempt at helming a variety show, "Cos" (ABC, 1976), Cosby struck out with the lackluster ambulance comedy "Mother, Jugs and Speed" (1976) and a slapstick teaming with Richard Pryor in Neil Simon's "California Suite" (1978). He maintained his presence in educational television, hosting "Picture Pages" preschool reading segments on "Captain Kangaroo" (CBS, 1955-1984), while his fun, irreverent manner with children made him a perfect pitchman for such family-oriented products as Jell-O, Kodak film and Coca-Cola.
In 1984, Cosby returned to primetime television in a big way as creator and star of the phenomenally successful "The Cosby Show." The show was not only hailed for averting the near-death of the sitcom genre, but for its groundbreaking portrayal of an African- American family that was wholesome, educated, upper-middle class and instantly embraced by audiences of all colors and soci conomic backgrounds. The show's status as the top-rated television program of the 1980s suggested that American audiences had become "color-blind" enough to accept the show's star as a universal father figure. For five straight seasons, the lighthearted, observational domestic humor extracted from the life of obstetrician Cliff Huxtable, his lawyer wife, and their five children ranked number one in the ratings and raked in Emmys, Golden Globe Awards, and People's
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CAST: (feature film)
Milestones close milestones
Received an honorary degree from Fashion Institute of Technology in May 2000.
His disertation for his doctorate in education focused on the impact on children's values of his popular 1970s cartoon series, "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids".
Cosby has recorded more than two dozen albums.
He once explained that the 'E' that started each of his five children's names stood for "excellence."
Inducted to the TV Hall of Fame, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1992.
In 1999, Cosby was approved as a part owner of the New Jersey Nets professional basketball team.
He was honored with the Steven J Ross/Time Warner Award presented by USC's School of Cinema-Television in 2000. He had previously received an honorary degree from the school in 1998.
Cosby's success in the 1960s freed his mother from her life as a domestic: "For the rest of her life, she bowled, cheated at bridge with little old ladies, [and] made the best peach chiffon pie in the world--only she used too many eggs. But do you know what that incredible woman did when she died? In her will she left me $48,000--in case I ever needed something to fall back on." --Bill Cosby quoted in Biography Magazine, June 1998
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