Bill Cosby is, by any standards, one of the most influential stars in America today. Whether it be through concert appearances or recordings, television or films, commercials or education, Cosby has the ability to touch peoples lives. His humor often centers on the basic cornerstones of our existence, seeking to provide an insight into our roles as parents, children, family members and men and women.
Cosby the Comedian: With over 26 years in comedy, Cosby is for many young comedians the man who wrote the textbook. He was born to Anna and William Cosby, and from a young age he began making up gags and practicing routines on his mom and dad.
Cosby attended Wister Elementary School along with his pals Fat Albert, Old Weird Harold, Dumb Donald, Rudy, Nolan, and Weasel-all later immortalized by Cosby's routines.
Cosby the Jazz Aficionado: Cosby was drawn to the masters of jazz: Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Mingus and Miles Davis. Through their musical example, Cosby learned to emulate in comedy their ability to take an idea and continually find new and innovative ways of expressing the same theme.
Cosby the Audio Recording Artist: Cosby has had more than 21 albums (three of them musical, the rest comedy routines) on the national pop charts, as well as six singles. During the mid-sixties, Cosby had as many as six albums on the charts at one time. He won the Grammy Award for "Best Comedy Album" five times. His recent release of a Polygram Jazz album, My Appreciation, and new comedy albums for Geffen Records Oh, Baby and Those of You With or Without Children, You'll Understand continue to sell well.
Cosby the Actor and producer: Cosby made the transition from standup comic to actor in the three-time Emmy Award winning NBC series I Spy and the original The Bill Cosby Show He made his motion picture debut in a powerful and dramatic role in the film Man and Boy. He teamed up with his I Spy partner, Robert Culp for Hickey and Boggs. Cosby has costarred with Sidney Pointer, Harry Belafonte and Raquel Welch for various films and recently teamed up with Richard Pryor in California Suite and Walt Disney's The Devil and Max Devlin.
In addition, Cosby has filmed numerous television specials, and has starred in NBC's Children's Theater and PBS-TV's The Electric Company (the latter created by the Sesame Street Children's Television Workshop).
The Cosby Show, which has been regarded as the most successful television series of the modern era, has completed its eighth and final season, and You Bet Your Life premiered this past fall. Cosby and his partners Tom Werner and Marcy Casey are also the producers of the NBC series A Different World.
Cosby the Writer: In the publishing world, Cosby has shattered records with each of his books. Fatherhood and Time Flies were record breaking titles for the publishing industry in sales and longevity. His third and fourth books, Love and Marriage and Childhood published in October 1991 also occupied the New York Times best-seller list.
Cosby the Family Man: Cosby earned his Master's degree in 1972 and his Doctorate in Education in 1977 from the University of Massachusetts. He married the former Camille Hanks in 1964. They have four daughters and one son, and reside just outside of Amherst, Massachusetts.
NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum playbill for "Dr. Huxtable Comes to Hartford—A Night of Entertainment with Bill Cosby" on April 3, 1993.
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