- Category : Comedian
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Cycles 1
American actor and comedian, the nation's top TV and live performance humorist for his familiarity and likeability. His series "The Cosby Show" first played on 20 September 1984 and won Emmys the following two years. Friendly, congenial, wholesome and beloved, he put on a show that focused on family and kids with no trace of violence, sexual or racial humor. Cosby is a 2002 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His career, spanning over five decades, was ended by highly publicized accusations of, and his eventual conviction for, sexual assault.
A gifted child, Cosby started comedy in school, having the great insight that he wanted to be a comedian before he left elementary school. When he related stories about his family, the first laughs from his classmates hit him like a drug and he said it was the only vocational guidance that he ever needed. One of three boys, he was raised in a North Philadelphia housing project by his mom, a cleaning woman. His dad, a ship's steward, was rarely home. As a boy, he contributed to the family income by delivering groceries and working as a shoeshine boy. Even then, he was the undisputed neighborhood cut-up, alert with one-liners and spotting the humor in everyday situations. In the '50s there were no great black comedians to emulate, and a career in comedy was considered about as practical as lion-taming. He was determined to try, naming perseverance as his banner, gathering his own material and honing his own natural skills.
He dropped out of school and served in the U.S. Navy 1956 for four years before he finished his high school degree, winning a scholarship to Temple University. Along with making the dean's list, he ran track and played varsity football. He began standup comedy while at Temple, working for $5 a night at a small club. He tended bar at the Philadelphia cafe to help meet college expenses and his first nightclub appearance was in a room so small that he had to sit while performing.
One night the owner of the Gaslight Café, a club in New York's Greenwich Village, caught his act and hired him for $60 to appear there on weekends. In his junior year at Temple, he quit to concentrate on his chosen career. His relaxed and natural style carried him into club and show gigs, records, movies and TV, making him one of the most beloved comedians and richest men in show biz.
Cosby became a familiar figure on TV advertising, and he played on the TV series "I Spy" from 16 September 1965 for three years. His movies include "Hickey and Boggs," 1971 and "Uptown Saturday Night," 1974.
With the outstanding success of his appearances plus his shrewd business sense, Cosby moved into the Forbes list of wealthiest entertainers with a personal fortune estimated at between $300 and $500 million. His investments include a New York Coca-Cola bottler, considerable artwork, and real estate that includes two East Side houses in Manhattan and a 19th-century farmhouse on 250 acres near Amherst, MA. There are also homes in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Las Vegas, plus some 60 cars and a Lear Jet.
A relatively sophisticated philosopher on media and related issues, Cosby entered the University of Massachusetts's doctoral program in 1972 and, with no special treatment, was awarded his doctorate in education in 1976. An honorary doctorate was given to him by Notre Dame in June 1990. A complex and idiosyncratic figure, Cosby's personality falls somewhere between autocratic and charismatic. His down side has exploded in arrogance, cursing and combative hostility. In 1976, he decked Tommy Smothers at the Playboy Mansion over a minor dispute, and he came close to blows with Robert De Niro in 1987 over an argument. He has gone into a riff over Jewish-black relationships in public and has displayed unpredictable responses that critics find inappropriate.
He married a beautiful woman, Camille Olivia Hanks in 1964 and they had five kids. On 17 January 1996 his only son, Ennis, was shot to death while changing a flat tire on a freeway off-ramp in Bel Air, California. Mikail Markhasev, an 18-year-old immigrant was convicted of the murder on 7 July 1998.
Two days after his son's death, Autumn Jackson, 22, and two accomplices, attempted a love-child extortion scheme, claiming that she was his daughter from an affair with Shawn Renee Byers Thompson. Jackson was charged with trying to blackmail the 59-year-old Cosby, whom she says is her dad, for $40 million. Cosby admitted publicly that he had a brief affair with Thompson, but denied paternity. He says that he is definitely not her biological father. On 12 December 1997, the girl was sentenced to more than two years for extortion.
His book, "I Am What I Ate….And I’m Frightened," was released-- a memoir focused on having to give up the finer things in life like potato chips and his five-cigar-a-day habit, was published in autumn, 2003. The book is a humorous look at his lifestyle changes, after his doctor diagnosed him in 2002 with high cholesterol and a 30% blockage in the carotid artery.
In late-2004, he came under fire for his critical remarks aimed at Black parents for not providing their children with the right values.
In January 2005, Andrea Constand, a Canadian woman charged that he had given her medication that made her dizzy and fondled her in his home in January 2004. The charges were dropped the following month after a preliminary investigation by police. On 8 November 2006 he settled a civil lawsuit with Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University who claimed that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her in his mansion near Philadelphia in 2004. Thirteen witnesses at the trial made similar claims against Cosby. People magazine reported that Cosby had paid some of them in the past with favors or money.
In an October 2014 interview, emboldened by a Hannibal Buress comedy routine where Buress called Cosby a serial rapist, artist Barbara Bowman repeated her long-standing accusations that Cosby drugged, sexually assaulted and raped her over a two year period beginning in 1985 when she was 17 years old. On 16 November 2014, Hollywood Elsewhere published an essay by journalist Joan Tarshis claiming that Cosby raped her in 1969 when she was 19 years old. On 18 November 2014, model Janice Dickinson spoke with Entertainment Tonight and accused Cosby of raping her in 1982 after giving her a glass of wine and a pill.
As of November 2015, eight related civil lawsuits were active against Cosby. High profile attorney Gloria Allred represented 33 of the alleged victims.
In December 2015, three Class II felony charges of aggravated indecent assault were filed against Cosby in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, based on allegations by Constand concerning incidents in January 2004. Cosby's first trial, in June 2017, ended in a mistrial. In his retrial by a jury, he was found guilty on 26 April 2018, of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. On 25 September 2018, he was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in state prison, and classified as a sexually violent predator.