Bill Cosby

American actor and comedian (born 1937)

William Henry Cosby Jr. (/ˈkɒzbi/; born July 12, 1937) is an American former stand-up comedian, actor, author, producer, musician, and activist. He was also a regular star of movies and television. He was known for creating and starring in The Cosby Show.

Bill Cosby
Cosby in 2011
William Henry Cosby Jr.

(1937-07-12) July 12, 1937 (age 86)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater
Occupation(s)Actor, comedian, musician, author
Years active1961–2018[1]
Camille Hanks (m. 1964)
Children5, including Erika Cosby and Ennis Cosby
Comedy career
MediumStand-up comedy, film, television
GenresObservational comedy, satire, surreal humor, deadpan

In 2018, Cosby went to prison because of many sexual assault allegations.[2]

He got out of prison in 2021, because the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania found that the justice system had made a mistake in the process of convicting him.[3][4][5]

Early life


Cosby was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He studied at Temple University.

Cosby was the class president and a captain of the baseball team.[6]

Cosby as a basketball player during his Navy service in 1957



He is the creator of such shows as Filmation's animated Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, NBC's The Cosby Show (in which he played a doctor named Heathcliff Huxtable) and Nick at Nite's Fatherhood (with Blair Underwood).

On television, he starred in the 1960s spy spoof I Spy, and has also advertised Jell-o and other products.

In 1983, Cosby released the concert film Bill Cosby.[7] Cosby performed his first TV stand-up special in 30 years.[8]

On the big screen, he appeared in Leonard Part 6 (1987), Ghost Dad (1990), and The Meteor Man (1993).

On May 2, 2015, his last show of the "Far from Finished" tour was performed at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia.[9]

His last known standup performance before his conviction was held at the LaRose Jazz Club in Philadelphia on January 23, 2018.

Bill Cosby was among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

Personal life


Cosby married Camille Hanks Cosby in 1964. Together, they have five children: Erika, Erinn, Ennis, Ensa and Evin. Cosby lives in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cosbys have three grandchildren.

Since 2016, Cosby has been legally blind, as a result of keratoconus.[10]

Cosby and his wife have collected more than three hundred works of African-American art since 1967.[11]

Sexual assault charges


As of December 30, 2015, numerous civil lawsuits are active against Cosby, and he faces one felony charge of aggravated indecent assault in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; a warrant was issued for his arrest.[12] This charge is based on the 2005 allegations of a January 2004 incident.[13][14] He was released on a $1 million dollar bail later that day.

In 2014, Cosby was set to release his new standup special Bill Cosby 77 on Netflix. The release of the film was canceled due to allegations of sexual assault against Cosby.

Cosby's trial started on June 5, 2017.[15] He was found guilty of three counts of assault on April 26, 2018, and was sentenced to 3–10 years in prison in late September 2018.[2] He used lawyer Thomas Mesereau.[16]

Cosby got out of prison on 30 June 2021, because the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania found that the justice system had made a mistake in the process of convicting him.[3] In 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to not hear the case about Cosby getting out of prison.[17][18]



Comedy albums


Music albums





Year Single Chart Positions
1967 "Little Ol' Man (Uptight—Everything's Alright)" 4 18
1970 "Grover Henson Feels Forgotten" 70
1976 "I Luv Myself Better Than I Luv Myself" 59
"Yes, Yes, Yes" 46 11


Year Title Role Notes
1965–1968 I Spy Alexander Scott TV series
1969 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Patron at nightclub (uncredited)
1969 Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Fat Albert Bill / Fat Albert / Dumb Donald (voice) TV movie
1969–1971 The Bill Cosby Show Chet Kincaid TV series
1971–1973 The Electric Company Hank TV series
1971 Man and Boy Caleb Revers TV movie
1971 Aesop's Fables Aesop
1972 The New Bill Cosby Show Host TV series
1972–1985 Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids "Fat" Albert Jackson (voice) TV series
1972 To All My Friends on Shore Blue TV movie
1972 Hickey & Boggs Al Hickey
1974 Uptown Saturday Night Wardell Franklin
1974 Journey Back to Oz The Wizard of Oz TV version only
1975 Let's Do It Again Billy Foster
1976 Cos Host TV series
1976 Mother, Jugs & Speed Mother
1977 A Piece of the Action Dave Anderson
1978 Top Secret Aaron Strickland TV movie
1978 California Suite Dr. Willis Panama
1981 The Devil and Max Devlin Barney Satin
1984–1992 The Cosby Show Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable TV series
1987 Leonard Part 6 Leonard Parker Also producer and writer
1987 Bill Cosby:49 Himself Live comedy concert film released on VHS
1987 A Different World Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable TV series
1990 Ghost Dad Elliot Hopper
1992–1993 You Bet Your Life Host TV series
1993 The Meteor Man Marvin
1994 The Cosby Mysteries Guy Hanks TV movie
1994–1995 The Cosby Mysteries Guy Hanks TV series
1994 I Spy Returns Alexander Scott TV movie
1996 Jack Lawrence Woodruff
1996–2000 Cosby Hilton Lucas TV series
1998–2000 Kids Say the Darndest Things Host TV series
1999–2004 Little Bill Captain Brainstorm (voice) TV series
2002 Sylvia's Path Voice TV movie
2003 Baadasssss! Himself
2004 Fat Albert Himself
2009–2011 OBKB Himself
2014 Bill Cosby 77 Himself

Awards and honors


Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series – Primetime Emmys
1966 I Spy – Alexander Scott
1967 I Spy – Alexander Scott
1968 I Spy – Alexander Scott

Outstanding Variety Or Musical Program – Primetime Emmys
1969 The Bill Cosby Special



Best Comedy PerformanceGrammy Awards
1965 I Started Out as a Child
1966 Why Is There Air?
1967 Wonderfulness
1968 Revenge
1969 To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With
1970 Sports
1987 Those of You with or Without Children, You'll Understand

Best Recording for Children – Grammy Awards
1971 The Electric Company – Cast member
1972 Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs

Honorary degrees


Cosby has been awarded at least 57 honorary degrees since 1985.[27] Several of these honorary degrees have been rescinded due to allegations of sexual assault and/or immoral behavior:


  1. Allyn, Bobby (January 23, 2018). "Bill Cosby Makes Surprise Stand-Up Appearance Ahead Of Retrial". National Public Radio. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 CNN, Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper. "Bill Cosby guilty on all three counts in indecent assault trial". CNN. Retrieved April 26, 2018. {{cite news}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ray Sanchez; Sonia Moghe; Kristina Sgueglia (July 1, 2021). "Bill Cosby is a free man after Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns sex assault conviction". CNN. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  4. Lauren McCarthy (June 30, 2021). "Bill Cosby's release prompts criticism from #MeToo, praise from the actress Phylicia Rashad". New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  5. Bowley, Graham (30 June 2021). "Bill Cosby is freed after serving three years of his sentence for sexual assault". New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  6. "Bill Cosby Trivia - Bill Cosby Facts - Bill Cosby Notes". Archived from the original on 2008-02-08.
  7. "Comedians Salute the Stand-Up Comedy Classic Bill Cosby: Himself". 22 May 2013.
  9. Genzlinger, Neil (2013-11-22). "The Art of Burning Rubber vs. Steady Wins the Race". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-12-13.
  10. Smith, Emily (19 July 2016). "Bill Cosby is 'completely blind' and homebound". Page Six. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  12. Dale, Maryclaire (December 30, 2015). "Bill Cosby charged with sexually assaulting a woman". Associated Press. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  13. "The Latest: Bill Cosby Charged With Sexual Assault". ABC News. ABC TV. Associated Press. December 30, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  14. Ohlheiser, Abby (30 December 2015). "Bill Cosby charged in sexual assault case". Washington Post. No. Online. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  15. Rappleye, Connor, Hannah, Tracy (September 6, 2016). "Bill Cosby's Sex Assault Trial Set for June 5". NBC News. Retrieved September 6, 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. "Bill Cosby's new lawyer represented Michael Jackson". NBC News.
  17. "Supreme Court turns away prosecutors' appeal in Bill Cosby case". WGN-TV. 2022-03-07. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  18. VG. Retrieved March 7, 2022
  19. TV News Desk. "Video: Bill Cosby: Far From Finished on Blu-Ray/DVD Today". Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  20. "Biography of Bill Cosby". John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Archived from the original on February 16, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2007.
  21. Asante, Molefi K. (2002). 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Pyr Books. ISBN 978-1-57392-963-9.
  22. "The comedians' comedian". December 30, 2015.
  23. "Lone Sailor Award recipients". Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  24. Mass, Chief. "MCPON Designates Bill Cosby Honorary Chief". United States Navy. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  25. "Bill Cosby's honorary chief status revoked amid controversy". Navy Times. December 4, 2014.
  26. "Navy Revokes Bill Cosby's Honorary Title Amid Sex Assault Claims". NBC News. December 5, 2014.
  27. Ember, Sydney; Moynihan, Colin (6 October 2015). "To Revoke or Not: Colleges That Gave Cosby Honors Face a Tough Question". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  28. "Boston University rescinds Bill Cosby's honorary degree". Boston Globe. December 14, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  29. "Bill Cosby is Marquette University's spring Commencement speaker". Marquette University Office of Marketing and Communication. Archived from the original on September 5, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  30. "University of San Francisco Rescinds Bill Cosby Honorary Degree". NBC BAY AREA. September 30, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  31. "Oberlin College gives Cosbys, Stevie Wonder honorary doctorates". Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  32. "Oberlin College rescinds honorary degree awarded Bill Cosby". New York Daily News. December 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  33. "VCU 40th Anniversary Events". Virginia Commonwealth University. Archived from the original on February 25, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  34. "Commencement 2007: Celebrating Honors and Achievements". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  35. "Retiring College President Lee Eliot Berk and Bill Cosby Honored at Berklee College of Music's 2004 Commencement" (Press release). Berklee College of Music. May 8, 2004. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  36. "Three Score: The Berklee 60th Anniversary Concert". Berklee College of Music. January 28, 2006. Archived from the original on June 25, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  37. "Wilkes University rescinds Cosby's honorary degree". CITIZENS VOICE. October 7, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  38. "Bill Cosby Lifts Baylor, Waco Spirits At "Pep Rally"". Baylor University. September 5, 2003. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  39. Stottlemyre, Matthew (October 9, 2015). "Baylor rescinds honorary doctorate given to Bill Cosby in 2003". Waco Tribune-Herald.
  40. "Honorary Degrees". Yale Bulletin and Calendar. 31 (31). June 6, 2003. Archived from the original on April 10, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  41. "Georgia college considers rescinding honorary degree given to Bill Cosby; will vote next week". Star Tribune. October 17, 2015. Archived from the original on January 3, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  42. "Bill Cosby Commencement Speech 2002". Drew University. May 2002. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  43. "Honorary Degree Recipients" (PDF). Haverford College. July 7, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 8, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  44. "Cosby Urges Rensselaer Graduates: Be Honest, Be Humble". Albany, New York. May 12, 2001. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  45. Laura Sanicola (September 24, 2015). "Another hit for Cosby: Fordham rescinds honorary degree". USA TODAY College. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  46. Gregorian, Dareh (September 24, 2015). "Fordham revokes Bill Cosby's honorary degree". Daily News. New York. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  47. "Baltimore's Goucher College Revokes Bill Cosby's Honorary Degree". WBOC 16. October 15, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  48. "Tufts University Revokes Bill Cosby's Honorary Degree". CBS Boston. October 15, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  49. "Bill Cosby: Commencement Speaker". Newswise. May 22, 1999. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  50. "A Joyous Day of Academic Celebration – USC's 115th Commencement, May 8, 1998". USC News. May 8, 1998. Archived from the original on August 16, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  51. "Commencement: Speakers". University of Connecticut. May 18, 1996. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  52. "Commencement: Honorary Degrees". University of Connecticut. May 18, 1996. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  53. MEGAN, KATHLEEN. "UConn Revokes Bill Cosby's Honorary Degree". Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  54. "Past Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients". Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  55. "Bill Cosby's Honorary Degree at Cal Poly Pomona Revoked". Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  56. "Commencement: Honorary Degrees". University of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  57. "Commencement: Speakers Since 1938". University of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on July 10, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  58. "Brown revokes Bill Cosby's honorary degree". Brown Daily Herald. September 28, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

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