Bill Cosby

Feb. 7, 2005, midnight | By Feza Kikaya | 17 years, 10 months ago

Bill Cosby, actor and comedian.

In a 50-minute speech that he delivered in May 2004, comedian and actor Bill Cosby criticized the black community for being unappreciative of the accomplishments of their great leaders and urged them to stop blaming the white race for their circumstances. In a later speech, he criticized black youth of today for their public demeanor and urged parents to take responsibility for their kids' behavior. Cosby's willingness to speak out reflects the personal role he has taken throughout his career in being an influential and memorable figure in history.

Cosby was born William Henry Cosby on July 12, 1937 in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He grew up in the Richard Allen Housing Project with his mother and two younger brothers, while his father was often away from home serving in the U.S. Navy. Growing up, Cosby enjoyed comedy radio shows; despite the fact that he was put into a class for gifted students, Cosby's interests solely revolved around working and playing sports. After dropping out of school in the tenth grade to join the Navy, however, Cosby realized the importance of an education and upon receiving his high school equivalency diploma, won a track and field scholarship to Temple University in 1961. His career took off when he became a stand-up comic and was discovered by producer Sheldon Leonard after working as a bartender for several years.

With Leonard's help, in 1965, the comedian starred as an undercover CIA agent in NBC's adventure series "I Spy" and won three Emmy Awards for his role, despite the fact that the part was intended for a white actor. In 1969, he starred in a number of series, including "The Bill Cosby Show," "The New Bill Cosby Show," the animated "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" and "The Cosby Mysteries" and appeared regularly on "Captain Kangaroo." He also starred in two successful comedies, "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974) and "Let's Do It Again" (1975), along with actor and director Sidney Poitier. In 1977, he received his doctorate of education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after completing his thesis entitled "An Integration of the Visual Media via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning."

Cosby's other achievements include winning several Grammy Awards for comedy albums. In addition, he wrote several books about life based on his stand-up comedies, such as "Fatherhood," which was the best-selling hardcover book in 1986, and "Love and Marriage."

Information has been compiled from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia and from

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