William Henry Cosby Jr. is an American comedian, actor, and author. He began his career as a stand-up comedian at the Hungry I Nightclub in San Francisco in the 1960s. Over the decade, he released several standup comedy albums. These albums were the reason he won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album of 1965 to 1970. Also, he played a leading role in the TV show I Spy from 1965 to 1968, alongside Robert Culp.
Cosby made a history of winning the Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Leading Actor in a Drama Series in 1966. He was the first African American who won the Emmy Award for his role as an actor. He continued his acting and he starred in the sitcom The Bill Cosby Show. It lasted for two seasons from 1969 to 1971. The downfall of his career occurred when he was accused of sexual assault allegations in 2014. It was the time of the ME-TOO movement.
Whatever Happened To Bill Cosby
Cosby was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the class president and captain of the baseball and track teams at Mary Channing Wister Public School in Philadelphia. His teachers noted that he was more towards jokes than studies, as he described himself as a class clown. He performed in plays and continued to compete in sports. It means he was a comedian by birth and he continued doing it.
During his college, he started working as a bartender in a club. He earned better tips by making customers laugh. Then he starting performing on stage and he dropped out of college to continue his career in comedy.
Cosby landed on standup jobs at clubs in Philadelphia and then he moved to New York to pursue his career. In New York, he appeared at Gaslight Café in 1961. He made appointments in cities like Las Vegas, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco. In the summer of 1963, he got national exposure on NBC’s The Tonight Show.
This was the foundation of the recording deal with Warner Bros Records. In 1964 Warner Bros released his first debut LP, Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow … Right! It was the first series of comedy albums. Later on, his albums like Russel, My Brother, Whom I Slept With were on top of Spin Magazine’s list of 40 Greatest Comedy Albums of All Time. It was the masterpiece of standup comedy by Bill Cosby.
The comics of the time were using the growing freedom of the decade to explore daring and controversial topics. On the other hand, Cosby was building his reputation out of his humorous childhood memories. In 1983 Cosby released the Bill Cosby concert film himself. It is widely regarded as the greatest comedy concert film in history. Cosby opened the gate for comics to enter the television industry. He was considered an innovator and practitioner of standup comedy. Meanwhile, if you want to learn about 1960s Hollywood, click the link.
Famous TV Shows
The Bill Cosby Show
The Bill Cosby Show is an American sitcom television series. It was air for two seasons from 1969 to 1971 on NBC’s Sunday Night Show. It was sponsored by Procter & Gamble. It was Bill Cosby’s first solo foray into television while following his co-starring role with Robert Culp in I Spy. It was the first time when an African American was starred in his eponymous comedy series.
The role of Cosby in the sitcom was of Chet Kincaid. He was a physical education teacher in Los Angeles High School. In the series, he was a bachelor and average cool guy who tried to make a living and help people along the way. It was an only a modest critical success but the series got nominated for two Primetime Emmys.
The Bill Cosby Show was an audience success while finishing the eleventh in the first season. The high school as the backdrop for most episodes had stories of students, teachers, staff, etc. with life lessons. It was a family drama, a coach’s realm with a few difficult forays such as a substitute teacher from Algebra to English.
Cosby was praised for wearing rarely seen classic African American artists such as Lillian Randolph as Kincaid’s mother and Rex Ingram. Also, well-known stars such as Henry Fonda and veteran comedians such as Mantan Moreland and Moms Mabley as Kincaid’s estranged uncle and aunty.
The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show is an American Television sitcom that was co-created and starred by Bill Cosby. It aired on Thursday nights for eight seasons on NBC. It was aired from September 20, 1984, to April 30, 1992. The program was about an African American upper-class family living in Brooklyn, New York.
The Cosby Show was the number one TV show for five consecutive seasons. All In The Family and The Cosby Show were the only sitcoms Nielsen history to have been the number one show for five seasons. On the other hand, it has been in the top 20 for all eight seasons. According to the TV Guide, The Cosby Show was the biggest hit on television in the 1980s.
This how has been able to single-handedly revive the sitcom genre and NBC’s audience fortunes. According to the audience, Cliff Huxtable was the best dad on the television. In May 1992, Entertainment Weekly reported that The Cosby Show had helped make possible a wide variety of shows with a predominantly black cast. It happened from In Living Color to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
The Cosby Show was based on the comedy routines in the standup comedy act. It was based on his family life. The spin-off A Different World of this show was aired for six seasons from 1987 to 1993.
Sexual Assault Cases
Bill Cosby has been the subject of high-profile allegations of dug-facilitated sexual assault, rape, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct. The first of which his accuser’s claim was in the mid-1960s. In October 2014, the part of comedian Hannibal Buress’ comedic routine depicting Cosby’s sexual misconduct went viral. It caused more women to report being assaulted by Cosby.
The dates of the alleged incidents ranged from 1965 to 2008. Ten cases were in the United States and one in the Canadian province. Cosby has maintained his innocence and denied the allegations. In most of the interviews, he refused to talk about the allegations. Also, he was found guilty of three counts of felony.
- Decades, junior of Cosby meet him in 2002. She described that while working at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby drugged her and molested her at his home in 2004.
- Ms. Constand came forward to the police about the assault in 2005. The former state prosecutor Bruce Castor did not press criminal charges on Cosby. Later on, Constand sued the comedian for sexual battery and defamation. A settlement was reached with a confidentiality agreement in 2006.
- In 2014 and 2015, dozens of women came out with similar allegations of assault and drugging by Cosby. Cosby was charged just the days before the 12-year limit on the allegations of Ms. Constand was about to expire.
Back From Prison
On June 30, 2021, Bill Cosby was released from prison. Pennsylvania’s high court overturned the sexual assault conviction on the comedian, Bill Cosby. The court came to a solution that Cosby was prevented from being indicted in the case by his former prosecutor. Cosby has been in prison for more than two years in a state prison near Philadelphia. Finally, 83-years-old comedian Cosby is out of prison.
Bill Cosby – Journey from Comedian to Sexual Assault Prisoner
Bill Cosby started his career as a standup comedian in different bars of Philadelphia. Later on, he moved to New York and continued his career. The very first standup album of Cosby gave him a boost to making other albums that have been one of the top hits. In 1969, he appeared on a television show named The Bill Cosby Show that aired for seasons and it was hit and got nominated for Primetime Emmys.
In 1984, The Cosby Show aired for 8 seasons. The plot of this sitcom revolved around an upper-class African American family living in Brooklyn, New York. In the 2000s, he was a subject of sexual assault allegations. There were dozens of women who accused him of molesting them by drugging them at his home. In 2021, he got released from prison after the Supreme Court overturned his conviction. If you find this post interesting, we suggest you also read our post about why Marilyn Monroe is considered a pop culture phenomenon.