Bill Cosby - Rotten Tomatoes

Bill Cosby



African-American entertainer Bill Cosby, in his own words, "started out as a child," the son of an eight-dollars-a-day maid and an absentee father. A product of grinding poverty, Cosby escaped his rundown Philadelphia neighborhood by dropping out of high school and joining the navy. He earned his diploma via correspondence course, then earned a football scholarship to Temple University. Working nights as a bartender, Cosby discovered he had the ability to make people laugh, so he temporarily shelved his plans to become an athletics teacher and set out to become a nightclub comedian. Most black comics of the era used the race issue in their act; this didn't quite work for Cosby, but relating humorous reminiscences about himself and his childhood buddies worked beautifully. After numerous TV guest shots and several top-selling, Grammy Award-winning record albums, Cosby was signed by producer Sheldon Leonard to co-star with Robert Culp in a weekly TV espionage series, I Spy. This was an era of acute racial tension; many NBC executives were wary about a black leading man, and quite a few Southern affiliates threatened not to run the show, but Leonard, a street scrapper from way back, refused to back down. I Spy was a hit, earning Cosby an Emmy. As the series progressed, the camaraderie between Cosby and Culp deepened, and by the end of the series, Culp was talking and ad-libbing in the same low-key, offbeat cadence that Cosby had adopted for his club appearances! After I Spy, Cosby signed a sweetheart deal with NBC, which guaranteed him a two-year run on his next program, whether the ratings were good or not. The Bill Cosby Show cast the star as high school coach Chet Kincaid, and was unusual for the time in that it was a sitcom minus a laughtrack. At times it was a sitcom minus laughs as well, but NBC had made its promise, and Cosby did his best. In the '70s he teamed with actor/director Sidney Poitier to make a trio of popular crime/comedy features: Uptown Saturday Night, Let's Do It Again, and A Piece of the Action. Viewers who think of Cosby in terms of one success after another have forgotten such failed 1970s TV projects as The New Bill Cosby Show and Cos. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there was The Cosby Show, the eight-season wonder that single-handedly rescued the sitcom format from oblivion in 1984 and enabled the woebegone NBC network to crack the Number One slot in the ratings week after week. And there were guest spots on the award-winning children's show The Electric Company and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1969-84) a superlative Saturday morning cartoon show supervised by Cosby that managed to be what is now called "prosocial" without losing any of the fun. He has also been the long-time commercial spokesman for Jell-O. In the fall of 1996 Cosby returned to prime time TV with yet another The Cosby Show sitcom, again set in New York City and co-starring Phylicia Rashad. Although The Cosby Show became made him arguably the most famous person in the country, he could not capitalize that rush of fame into a film career choosing to make a series of box office bombs including Leonard Part 6 and Ghost Dad. He created yet another TV show, The Cosby Mysteries, and shepherded a successful animated chilsdren's series, Little Bill, to screens in 2001. He appeared in the big-screen version of Fat Albert in 2004.

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
97% Keep On Keepin' On
  • Actor
2014
No Score Yet Stand Up Planet Comedy Showcase
  • Actor
2014
No Score Yet Bill Cosby: Far From Finished
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet For Love of Liberty
  • Actor
2010
No Score Yet For Love of Liberty: The Story of America's Black Patriots
  • Actor
2010
No Score Yet A Table in Heaven
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Biography
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Electric Company - Greatest Hits & Bits
  • Actor
2006
25% Fat Albert
  • Executive Producer
  • Himself
  • Screenwriter
2004
87% Lightning in a Bottle
  • Actor
2004
63% Lipstick & Dynamite: The First Ladies of Wrestling
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids
  • Director
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Steve Gadd - American Drummers Achievement Awards
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Quincy Jones: In the Pocket
  • Actor
2002
76% Comedian
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet I Spy Returns
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Little Bill - Merry Christmas, Little Bill
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Little Bill - Big Little Bill
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Little Bill - I Love Animals!
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Little Bill - What I Did at School
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Little Bill - Me and My Family
  • Actor
2001
41% Men of Honor
  • Executive Producer
2000
No Score Yet The Tulsa Lynching of 1921: A Hidden Story
  • Actor
2000
60% Hickey & Boggs
  • Al Hickey
2000
No Score Yet Little Bill - Family Fun
  • Actor
1999
No Score Yet Little Bill - Brave Little Bill
  • Actor
1999
100% 4 Little Girls
  • Actor
1997
No Score Yet 50,000,000 Joe Franklin Fans Can't Be Wrong
  • Actor
1997
17% Jack
  • Lawrence Woodruff
1996
No Score Yet I Spy Returns
  • Alexander Scott
1994
No Score Yet The Incredible Voyage of Bill Pinkney
  • Narrator
1994
29% The Meteor Man
  • Marvin
1993
No Score Yet Story Porch With Bill Cosby
  • Actor
1993
7% Ghost Dad
  • Elliot Hopper
1990
No Score Yet Animation Wonderland
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's Picturepages - "Who's Counting"
  • Actor
1989
9% Leonard Part 6
  • Leonard Parker
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
1987
No Score Yet Bill Cosby: 49
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's Picturepages - "Matching Games"
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's Picturepages - "Letters & Numbers"
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet In Remembrance of Martin
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet The Tortoise and the Hare
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's Picturepages - "Numbers"
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's Picturepages - "Clear Thinking"
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's picturepages - "What's the Shape"
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's Picturepages - "Words & Letters"
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's Picturepages - "Sights & Sounds"
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's Picturepages - "Shapes & Colors"
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Reading Rainbow - Arthur's Eyes
  • Actor
1983
83% Bill Cosby: Himself
  • Director
  • Actor
  • Screenwriter
1982
No Score Yet Fat Albert Easter Special
  • Bill/Fat Albert/Mushmouth/Leroy Mudfoot/The Brown Hornet
1982
No Score Yet The Devil & Max Devlin
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet Hungry i Reunion
  • Actor
1981
18% The Devil and Max Devlin
  • Barney Satin
1981
No Score Yet Loose Shoes
  • Actor
  • Producer
1980
55% California Suite
  • Dr. Willis Panama - Visitors from Chicago
1978
No Score Yet Top Secret
  • Aaron Strickland
1978
No Score Yet Fat Albert Halloween Special
  • Executive Producer
  • Bill/Fat Albert/Mushmouth/Leroy Mudfoot/The Brown Hornet
1977
No Score Yet A Piece of the Action
  • Dave Anderson
1977
No Score Yet Fat Albert Christmas Special
  • Bill/Fat Albert/Mushmouth/Leroy Mudfoot/The Brown Hornet
1977
50% Mother, Jugs and Speed
  • Mother
1976
83% Let's Do It Again
  • Billy Foster
1975
71% Uptown Saturday Night
  • Wardell Franklin
1974
No Score Yet To All My Friends on Shore
  • Blue
  • Producer
  • Executive Producer
  • Screenwriter
1972
No Score Yet Man and Boy
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
  • Caleb Revers
1971
No Score Yet Best of the Best of The Electric Company
  • Actor
1971
No Score Yet Aesop's Fables
  • Actor
1971
No Score Yet Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed
  • Host
1968
No Score Yet I Spy, The Best Of
  • Actor
No Score Yet Bill Cosby's Picturepages - "All About Animals"
  • Actor
No Score Yet Fun Learning: Chocolate Princess and Other Children's Stories
  • Actor
No Score Yet Tortoise and the Hare
  • Actor
No Score Yet Chocolate Princess and Other Children's Stories
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
2009-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Late Show With David Letterman
1993-2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet Sesame Street
1969
  • Actor
  • Voice
No Score Yet Live From Lincoln Center
2000
  • Appearing
No Score Yet The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet Colbert Report
2005-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Meet the Press
1947
  • Guest

Quotes from Bill Cosby's Characters

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