Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Highest Rated: 83% Bill Cosby: Himself (1982)

Lowest Rated: 7% Ghost Dad (1990)

Birthday: Jul 12, 1937

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

One of America's most well-loved entertainers for a half-century, comedian, actor and producer Bill Cosby enjoyed considerable success as a recording artist and television star in such series as "I Spy" (NBC, 1965-68) and "The Cosby Show" (NBC, 1984-1992) before his career and reputation were demolished by numerous accusations of sexual assault, which resulted in his imprisonment in 2018. Born William Henry Cosby, Jr., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 12, 1937, he was one of four sons born to Navy man William Henry Cosby, Sr., and his wife, Anna Pearl. Cosby, Jr. was a natural athlete and performer at various schools in the Philadelphia area, but a less than stellar student, and he dropped out in the tenth grade to join the Navy. After completing his service and earning his high school equivalency diploma, he earned a track and field scholarship to Temple University in 1961. There, he studied physical education while working nights as a bartender, and it was in the latter capacity that Cosby discovered that he had a talent for making people laugh. He soon took his act to comedy clubs across the country, including the hungry i in San Francisco; there, he developed a devoted following with his material, which hinged on humorous and fanciful stories based on his childhood experiences. The club dates led to appearances on variety and talk series like "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" (NBC, 1963-1992) and "The Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS, 1948-1971) and in 1964, his first comedy album, Bill Cosby is a Very Funny Fellow Right! for Warner Bros. in 1963, Two years later, Cosby made his television acting debut on "I Spy." The series, with Cosby and Robert Culp as intelligence agents, was the first network series to feature an African-American actor as a series lead, and defied NBC's fears that it would lose affiliates in certain regions of the United States by becoming not only one of the most popular series during its network run, but also earning Cosby three consecutive Emmy Awards. His next two forays into television-the sitcom "The Bill Cosby Show" (NBC, 1969-1971) and a variety series, "The New Bill Cosby Show" (CBS, 1972-73)-proved less successful, but after completing his master's degree (and later, a doctorate) in education, Cosby found his footing with educational programming. He was a key figure in the early years of the PBS developmental series "The Electric Company" (PBS, 1971-77), and a cartoon based on his childhood experiences and comedy routines called "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" drew an Emmy nomination and praise from parents and educators for its moral-driven plotlines. Cosby also found success in features during this period, most notably the Neil Simon portmanteau film "California Suite" (1976) and the urban comedy "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974), but television continued to remain his best showcase. He scored the biggest small screen hit of his career in 1984 with "The Cosby Show," a warm-hearted and progressive sitcom centered an obstetrician (played by Cosby) and his large family, which included Phylicia Rashad as his on-screen wife and Lisa Bonet and Malcolm Jamal-Warner among his television brood. Cosby took a direct, hands-on approach to the series, providing creative control as its co-producer and overseeing the direction and tone of the stories, which addressed African-American social and cultural issues. The result was a rating hit for the majority of its eight-season run, and influenced both NBC and other networks to produce more series with African-American stars, including the "Cosby" spin-off "A Different World" (NBC, 1987-1993) and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC, 1990-96). But Cosby was unable to reproduce its success with subsequent projects: the features "Leonard Part 6" (1987) and "Ghost Dad" (1990) were flops, and "The Cosby Mysteries" (NBC, 1994-95) and "Cosby" (CBS, 1996-2000) paled in comparison to the "Cosby Show" juggernaut. In 2014, Cosby recorded a comedy special for Netflix, and prepared to star in a new NBC series produced by "Cosby Show" producer Tom Werner. But a clip of comedian Hannibal Buress, which alleged that Cosby had committed sexual assaults, raised the specter of long-standing allegations against the comedian, some of which reached back to the mid-1960s. Cosby had been able to fend off the accusations via legal means for decades, but the viral popularity of the clip not only revived the claims, but also added new accusations. By 2015, some 60 women, including several Playboy playmates, supermodel Janice Dickinson and actress Louisa Moritz, had publicly stated that Cosby had forcibly assaulted or raped them, often with the help of pills that caused them to black out; three felony charges, including one filed by former college basketball star Andrea Constand, went to trial in 2015, but resulted in a mistrial in 2017. But a retrial in 2018 resulted in guilty verdicts for all three counts, resulting in a sentence of three to ten years in state prison. Though Cosby filed an appeal in 2019, the damage to his career was irreversible: colleges and charities rescinded degrees and severed ties with the entertainer, while business entities that had featured Cosby in their advertising withdrew support. Cosby's television series were pulled from syndication, and several states revised their sexual assault legislation, citing the statute of limitations that prevented many of Cosby's accusers from bringing him to trial. Perhaps the most damaging fallout from Cosby's alleged crimes was the erosion of public trust: having spent decades as a beloved performer and the epitome of the kind, understanding father, Cosby had become a pariah.

Highest rated movies

Bill Cosby: Himself
Uptown Saturday Night
Hickey & Boggs
Let's Do It Again
California Suite
Mother, Jugs & Speed
The Meteor Man
The Devil and Max Devlin

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
23% 44% Fat Albert Self,
Writer
$48.1M 2004
77% 69% Comedian Self $2.7M 2002
No Score Yet No Score Yet Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey Executive Producer - 2001
No Score Yet No Score Yet Tulsa Lynching of 1921: A Hidden Story Unknown (Character) - 2000
42% 81% Men of Honor Executive Producer $48.8M 2000
17% 49% Jack Lawrence Woodruff (Character) $58.6M 1996
No Score Yet No Score Yet I Spy Returns Unknown (Character),
Executive Producer
- 1994
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Cosby Mysteries Guy Hanks (Character) - 1994
25% 36% The Meteor Man Marvin (Character) $8M 1993
7% 32% Ghost Dad Elliot Hopper (Character) $20.9M 1990
9% 20% Leonard Part 6 Leonard Parker (Character),
Producer
$4.2M 1987
No Score Yet No Score Yet In Remembrance of Martin Unknown (Character) - 1986
83% 93% Bill Cosby: Himself Unknown (Character),
Director
- 1982
18% 25% The Devil and Max Devlin Barney Satin (Character) - 1981
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Hungry I Reunion Unknown (Character) - 1981
No Score Yet No Score Yet Top Secret Aaron Strickland (Character) - 1978
54% 45% California Suite Dr. Willis Panama. (Character) - 1978
No Score Yet 82% A Piece of the Action Dave Anderson (Character) - 1977
No Score Yet 67% Fat Albert Halloween Special Unknown (Character) - 1977
47% 54% Mother, Jugs & Speed Mother (Character) - 1976
63% 86% Let's Do It Again Billy Foster (Character) - 1975
No Score Yet 49% Journey Back to Oz The Wizard of Oz (Voice) - 1974
67% 81% Uptown Saturday Night Wardell Franklin (Character) - 1974
No Score Yet 67% Man and Boy Caleb Revers (Character),
Executive Producer
- 1972
67% 57% Hickey & Boggs Al Hickey (Character) - 1972
No Score Yet 70% To All My Friends on Shore Blue (Character),
Executive Producer,
Original Music
- 1971

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Good Morning America Guest 2015
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Colbert Report Guest 2014
No Score Yet 56% The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Guest 2014
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Arsenio Hall Show Guest 2014
No Score Yet No Score Yet Today Guest 2013-2014 2009-2011
No Score Yet 75% Late Show With David Letterman Guest 2014
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Guest 2013
No Score Yet No Score Yet Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Guest 2012-2013
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Guest 2013
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Doctors Guest 2012
No Score Yet No Score Yet Lopez Tonight Guest 2010
31% No Score Yet The Jay Leno Show Guest 2009-2010
No Score Yet No Score Yet Meet the Press Guest 2009
No Score Yet No Score Yet Jimmy Kimmel Live! Guest 2008
No Score Yet No Score Yet Sesame Street Unknown (Guest Star),
Guest
2004 1970-1971
No Score Yet No Score Yet Kids Say the Darndest Things Host 1997-2000
No Score Yet No Score Yet Cosby Hilton Lucas (Character),
Executive Producer
1996-2000
No Score Yet No Score Yet Becker Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
No Score Yet 83% The King of Queens Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet Touched by an Angel Unknown (Guest Star) 1999 1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Cosby Mysteries Unknown (Character),
Executive Producer
1995
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Cosby Show Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable (Character) 1984-1992
No Score Yet No Score Yet A Different World Unknown (Guest Star) 1987
No Score Yet No Score Yet Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Unknown (Character),
Unknown (Voice)
1979-1981 1975-1976 1972-1973
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Bill Cosby Show Unknown (Character) 1969-1971
No Score Yet No Score Yet I Spy Alexander Scott (Character) 1965-1968

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