Bill Cosby's Biography
Bill Cosby, whose full name is William Henry Cosby, was born in North Philadelphia on 12 July 1937.
Bill Cosby grew up in relative poverty. He attended Wister Elementary School where some of his friends would inspire characters in his comedy routines like Fat Albert and Dumb Donald.
In the late 1950s Cosby served in the American navy. Afterwards he gained a track and field scholarship and studied at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Cosby gave up his studies to pursue a career as a nightclub comic. His first appearance was at The Cellar, a room in a nightclub called The Underground.
It was not long before Bill Cosby got involved in acting. In 1965 he became a star in the NBC show I Spy, for which he won 3 Emmys.
A succession of TV shows, mainly featuring Cosby in their titles followed and included the hugely successful The Cosby Show.
As well as having his own production company and acting in movies, Bill Cosby has also released 21 comedy albums, for five of which Cosby won the Best Comedy Album Grammy.
Bill Cosby's books have also been huge commercial successes. They include Fatherhood, Time Flies, Love and Marriage, and Childhood.
In recent times Bill Cosby has been embroiled in controversy. He was accused by a woman of sexual assault, although prosecutors decided not to press charges and in November 2006 he settled a lawsuit with a woman who said he had drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home.
Cosby has also split opinion in the black community, saying that low-income blacks were not "holding up their end" by failing to get a good education or raise their children properly.
Some criticised Bill Cosby for airing dirty laundry in public and providing ammunition for racists, but he responded:
"Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, cursing as they're walking up and down the street.
"They think they're hip; they can't read, they can't write. They're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere."
Bill Cosby's son, Ennis, was murdered in Los Angeles in 1997.
In 2009, Bill Cosby was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour.
The twenty first century saw Cosby under fire, facing accusations of sexual assault from nearly 60 women going back over many years.
In particular he was charged with three counts of felony indecent assault, alleged by Andrea Constand.
Back to Top