- 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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He also joined the Navy's track team where he excelled, especially in the high jump event. Regretting his decision to drop out of school, Cosby earned his high school equivalency diploma while in the service. After leaving the Navy, he went to Temple University where he had been given a track scholarship.
While at Temple, Cosby landed a job as a bartender at a coffee house. He told jokes there,
and eventually landed work filling in for the house comedian from time to time at a nearby club. Cosby also performed as a warm-up act for his cousin's radio show. He soon started performing at a place in New York City. He found inspiration in the works of such comedians as Dick Gregory, an African-American comic who often talked about racial issues in his routines. Early in his career, Cosby also discussed race in his act. But he eventually dropped it from his performances, choosing to focus on telling stories about more general and universal themes.
Nearly halfway through his college career, Cosby decided to drop out to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. He toured extensively, winning over fans along the way. In 1963, Cosby made an appearance on The Tonight Show, which helped introduce him to a national audience. He soon landed a recording contract and released his first comedy album, Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow ... Right!. He won a Grammy Award (best comedy performance) for his next effort, 1964's I Started Out as a Child. For the remainder of the 1960s, Cosby released hit album after hit album, winning another five Grammys. He would later pick up two more for his recordings for children.
In 1965, Cosby also helped show television networks and audiences alike that an African-American could play a leading role in a TV series. He starred with Robert Culp in the espionage series I Spy. The two spies pretended to be a professional tennis player (Culp) traveling with his coach (Cosby). The show ran for three years, and Cosby received three Emmy Awards for his work.
Not long after I Spy ended, Cosby starred in his own sitcom. The Bill Cosby Show ran for two seasons, from 1969 to 1971, and featured the comedian as a gym teacher at a Los Angeles high school. A former aspiring teacher, Cosby went back to school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Around the same time, he appeared on the educational children's series The Electric Company, and developed the animated series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, which he based on many of his childhood experiences. In 1977, Cosby received a doctorate in urban education from the university, having written his dissertation on Fat Albert.
On the big screen, Cosby enjoyed box-office success with the 1974 comedy Uptown Saturday Night, co-starring alongside Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte in the film. Continuing to attract big audiences, he appeared opposite Poitier in two comedy smashes, Let's Do It Again and A Piece of the Action, in 1975 and 1977, respectively.
Once again turning to his life for inspiration, Cosby began working on a new television series.
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