No comedian or actor can beat Bill Cosby’s list of achievements. In fact, he is one of the greatest comedians and entertainers of all time. Today, when you hear of Bill Cosby, the first thing you are bound to think of is his gregarious loud voice, his funny jokes or inspirational advice. But here is more about this 77 year old that you probably didn’t know, or should know:
10. Birth and Growing Up
Bill Cosby, whose birth name is William Henry Cosby Jr., is a Monday child. He was born on 12th July 1937 in Pennsylvania to William and Anna Cosby, a Navy sailor and maid respectively and is the firstborn in a family of four boys. One of his brothers died at tender age of six.
Despite being an intelligent student, (he was the class president, captain of the football and track teams), Cosby dropped out of high school to join the US Navy in 1956. He would later earn his high school diploma via correspondence thus getting him admitted to the Temple University in Philadelphia on an athletic scholarship. After a year in college, he dropped out to become a stand-up comedian. Years later, he went back to college to complete his undergraduate degree and in 1977, his PhD at the University of Massachusetts.
8. Marriage and Children
Cosby has been married to his wife Camille for 51 years. The couple has five children; four daughters and a son. Each of them has their first name starting with letter E denoting Excellence; Evin, Ensa, Ennis, Erinn and Erica. Unfortunately, his only son, Ennis Cosby, was murdered way back in 1997 while changing a flat tire. He was only 27 years old.
7. Cosby; a Jack of All Trades
Though highly known for his acting skills, Cosby is also a highly talented musician. One of his songs, ‘Little Ol Man’ made it to the top 20s in 1967. He has also made a couple of comedy albums that won him a Grammy. In addition to this, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the Berklee College of Music for having actively participated in promoting jazz music. Aside from these two, he has been a producer, best-selling author, a bartender and has also tried made a living out of shining shoes and delivering groceries.
6. Career as a Comedian
Cosby’s career as a comedian started when a comedian at a bar he was working in failed to show up for a show and well, Cosby went ahead to fill in for him. He would later gain nationwide recognition to the extent of becoming the first African American to star in a prime-time TV program ‘I Spy’. However, he’s best known for starring in The Bill Cosby Show and The Cosby Show.
5. Source of Inspiration
A lot of Cosby’s jokes and TV show plots heavily borrowed from his real life experiences. For instance, in the Cosby Show, his wife’s maiden name was Hanks, same as that of his real-life wife Camille. In the same show, he had five children; one son and four daughters. How was this possible? Well, maybe it’s because he was not just an actor, but also took active roles in the production of the show, like by being a producer.
4. Awards and Recognition
So far, Bill Cosby has won 13 major awards. These include four Emmy and nine Grammy Awards. He has also been honored with a Kennedy Center Award for his contribution in performing arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, Spingarn Award as well as an induction to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.
Thanks to being rich and famous, Cosby has had to deal with a fair share of lawsuits. In 1997, a young woman by the name Autumn Jackson tried to extort $40 million from him claiming to be his illegitimate daughter. She was found guilty of extortion and was sentenced to 26 months behind bars. It’s however believed that Jackson is the product of an affair Cosby had with her mother, Shawn Upshaw.
2. Rape Charges
At an age when he should be enjoying retirement, Cosby is being faced with countless rape charges brought by women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by him. They include a woman who used to work at the Temple University in Philadelphia, a former publicist and journalist, a lawyer, a former actress as well as former supermodel Janice Dickinson, among others. Most of these women were mere teenagers when the assaults happened and, were drugged before the ordeal. This has led him to be forcefully resigned as an honorary co-chair of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst capital campaign, as a member of board of trustees’ at the Temple University as well as the honorary Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy.
1. Relation to President Abraham Lincoln
Through his wife Camille, who is a direct relative of Nancy Hanks cum Abraham Lincoln’s mother, we can say that Bill Cosby is related to one of the greatest presidents of America.
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