BlackFacts Details

Bill Cosby

Born William Henry “Bill Cosby” Jr. on July 12, 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he describes himself mostly as a “class clown” during his school years. He was class president as well as captain of the basketball team at school. He acted in a number of school plays and in addition to all his extra-curricular activities, he was working before and after school doing odd jobs such as selling produce, working at the supermarket and shining shoes to help his family stay afloat. At one of his schools, he failed the tenth grade and got a job at a shoe repair shop. After a while, he like his father joined the Navy. While in the Navy, Cosby served at a hospital with severely injured Korean War casualties and worked with them in the physical therapy unit for four years. He also finished his diploma by taking courses and headed towards a obtaining an undergraduate degree. While doing so, he bar tended to earn money and continued to joke around with his customers. Seeing that this increased his tips, he ventured towards stand-up comedy.

After securing dates in Chicago, LA, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, he finally got national exposure in 1963. This helped him get Warner Bros. Records’ attention and they signed a contract with him. His stand-up career then transformed into filmography. This began with I Spy Espionage adventure series in 1965. He starred opposite Robert Culp and was the first African-American to be in a dramatic series. He received three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Actor in Drama Series for his performance on the show. In 1969, Cosby started his show titled “The Bill Cosby Show” which was ranked eleventh after the first season ended. Cosby played a physical education teacher at a high school and was recognized for his work as he used previously unknown African-American actors such as Lillian Randolph and Rex Ingram.

Bill Cosby returned to school after the show ended and started at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He did graduate work there and for The Electric Company, a PBS

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