- NAME: Bill Cosby
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, Comedian, Television Producer
- BIRTH DATE: July 12, 1937 (Age: 76)
- Did You Know?: After originally dropping out of high school, Bill Cosby went on to get his Bachelor's Degree from Temple University and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts.
- Did You Know?: Bill Cosby was the first African-American male to win a Primetime Emmy Award for I, Spy.
- EDUCATION: Temple University, University of Massachusetts (Amherst)
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Full Name: William Henry Cosby Jr.
- AKA: Bill Cosby
- ZODIAC SIGN: Cancer
Best Known For
Bill Cosby is an American comedian, actor and producer, who has played a major role in the development of more positive portrayal of African-Americans on television.
While filming the television series "Cosby," Bill Cosby received the tragic news that his son had been shot and killed.
Using his natural innocence and appeal, Bill Cosby became synonymous with the popular and fun treat, Jell-O.
After his iconic career had run its course, Bill Cosby took up more serious causes as he addressed issues in the African-American community.
Bill Cosby is best known for his time transforming television history as Heathcliff Huxtable on the hit television series "The Cosby Show."
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Bill Cosby was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Navy, and later dropped out of college to become a stand-up comedian. Cosby's first acting assignment, in the espionage series I Spy (1965-68), made him the first black actor to star in a dramatic role on network television. Cosby's most successful work, The Cosby Show, appeared on NBC from 1984 to 1992, and was the highest-rated sitcom for five consecutive years.
"I guess the real reason that my wife and I had children is the same reason that Napoleon had for invading Russia: it seemed like a good idea at the time."
"I think if a 30-year-old Bill Cosby sat on stage with a 72-year-old Bill Cosby, they would enjoy each other."
"My observations are not bread crumbs. They do not dissolve. They are on record, on film printed in books, and found on the Internet. I am happy to share them. For this I was born."
"When I say I don't care about white people, I mean let them say what they want to say. What can they say to me that’s worse than what their grandfather said?"
"I don't spend my hours worrying how to slip a social message into my act."
"I find [acting] challenging but not that hard—as long as I get enough sleep and learn my lines."
"Things from real life are the things that get people laughing."
"I watch an awful lot of television and I get a little tired of what I see….We have about six television sets in our house, and it's less expensive for me to do a television series than it is for me to throw them all out."
"Every comedian can carry in his arsenal [profanity] that can get him out of trouble any time he's in trouble. But the real challenge is to be basically, genuinely funny without needing to go to the cheap laugh."
"I think I'm similar in my comedy to the way jazz musicians work. After you play a song through once, the solos start. I treat each of my characters as a song, and I start soloing when the character comes into the plot."
"I want to show the happiness within our people….I'm going to take ['The Cosby Show'] and make it last as long as I can to show black people that they have something to be proud of."
Actor, comedian, writer and producer Bill Cosby was born William Henry Cosby Jr. on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With numerous awards to his credit, Bill Cosby is one of the top names in comedy. He also helped break down racial barriers on television in the 1960s with I Spy and, later, The Cosby Show.
Cosby, the oldest of four boys, grew up in Philadelphia's Germantown neighborhood. At first, the Cosbys were able to get by, financially, but the family's money began to slip when Cosby's father, William Cosby Sr., began drinking heavily. After his father enlisted in the U.S. Navy, Cosby became like a parent to his brothers. Cosby's mother, Anna, worked cleaning houses. He and his family ended up living in the Richard Allen Homes, a low-income housing project in his neighborhood. At the age of 8, Cosby suffered a great loss when his brother James, the second oldest of the boys, died.
With money very tight for his family, Cosby started shining shoes to help out when he was 9 years old. He also later found a job at a supermarket. Despite their hardships, Cosby's mother stressed the value of education and learning. She often read to Bill and his brothers, including the works by Mark Twain. A gifted storyteller himself, Cosby learned early on that humor could be a way to make friends and to get what he wanted. Cosby excelled at making things up. As one of his teachers once noted, "William should become either a lawyer or an actor because he lies so well.''
In school, Cosby was bright but unmotivated. He liked to tell stories and jokes to his classmates more than he liked to do his schoolwork. One of his teachers encouraged him to put his performing talents to use in school plays, not in her classroom. At home, Cosby listened to a variety of radio programs and started imitating such comedians as Jerry Lewis. He also watched such television performers as Sid Caesar and Jack Benny whenever he could.
While he was more interested in sports than academics—he was active on his school's track and football teams—Cosby was placed in a high school for gifted students after scoring high on an IQ test. But Cosby failed to apply himself, and ended up falling behind in his classes. He switched to Germantown High School, and even there he learned that he would have to repeat a grade. In frustration, Cosby dropped out of high school. He worked several odd jobs before joining the U.S. Navy in 1956.
During his military service, Cosby worked as a medical aide on ships, in several hospitals and at other facilities.
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