William Henry Cosby Jr. was born on July 12, 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a teenager, he joined the U.S. Navy and then enrolled in a university in Texas to take courses in physical education. To earn a living, the student works as a bartender at night. His sense of humor was a hit with the customers who became his first audience. He decided to abandon his studies and started doing stand-up comedy. Very gifted in this exercise, the aspiring comedian is noticed by a producer and director of reputation, Carl Reiner. Through him he met producer Sheldon Leonard who offered him a role in the series Spies in 1965. He became the first black actor to get a leading role in a series and won the Emmy Award for best actor three years in a row between 1966 and 1968. His career is definitely launched.
At the end of the 60s, he began to direct a sitcom, The Bill Cosby show, the first series whose cast is composed exclusively of African-American actors. Also an interpreter, the actor meets a great success and the series is broadcast for two years. Then in 1972, Bill Cosby joined another television series, Fat Albert (T’as l’bonjour d’Albert); this cartoon for which the actor lends his voice to several characters is a hit with young audiences. Very popular, the actor made a foray into the cinema thanks to Sydney Poitier who entrusted him with several roles in these comedies: Uptown saturday night (1974), Let’s do it again (1975) and A piece of the action (1977).
The year 1984 is that of the consecration, the actor returns to television with The Cosby show. The story of an affluent African-American family in Brooklyn which he plays the father, Heatcliff Huxatble, remains the greatest success of his career and allows him to win the Golden Globe for best actor three years in a row between 1985 and 1987. In 1987, he plays Leonard Parker in Leonard Part 6 which earned him … the Razzie Award for worst actor. After this failure, his career marks the step. The actor is more rare in the cinema. On television, the series The Cosby Show stops in 1992. Despite several attempts at the cinema – Meteor man (1993), Jack (1996) and Fat Albert (2004) the actor did not return to success.
Now away from the film sets, Bill Cosby militates in various associations to improve access to education for young African-Americans. In the mid-2000s, the image of Bill Cosby is tainted after the statements of a Canadian woman, Andrea Constand, who filed a complaint for rape against the actor. The trial results in a dismissal in favor of the actor in 2006. But in October 2014, a new accusation falls, Barbara Bowman, former model and actress, claims to have been abused by the actor in the 80s during auditions for the series The Cosby Show.
On December 10, 2019, the conviction of the actor for sexual assault is confirmed on appeal by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. On June 30, 2021, he is released from prison by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which overturns his conviction for sexual assault, for procedural reasons.
On the private side, Bill Cosby is married to Camille O. Cosby since January 25, 1964. The couple has five children: Erika (born 08/04/1965), Erinn (born 23/07/1966), Ennis (born 15/04/1969 – died 16/01/1997), Ensa (born 08/04/1973- died 23/02/2018) and Evin (born 27/08/1976).
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