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Submitted By RickeyLawson12
Words 1586
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Rickey Lawson
Mr. Holcomb
English Comp I
25 April 2014
Bill Cosby Bill Cosby, one of television’s funniest and most iconic comedic actors, has spent his long career making people laugh. Not only did he bring joy and laughter to people’s lives he also became a pioneer for many black actors by starring many TV shows like “I Spy”, ” Fat Albert”, and “The Cosby Show” .Whether it be through concert appearances or recordings, television or films, commercials or education, Bill Cosby has the ability to touch people’s lives.
William Henry Cosby Jr was born on July 12, 1937 in Philadephia, Pennsylvania, to Anna and William Cosby. Cosby's father joined the navy and was away from home for months at a time. Cosby, as the oldest son, helped his mother pay the bills by having various jobs such as delivering groceries and shining shoes. At school, he was known for being a class clown by his teachers and for being a great story teller and also being a star athlete in various sports such as track and field, football, and basketball. Growing up in a poor family Cosby learned very early in life that his humor will get him through tough times. During his off time Cosby would listen to one of his favorite comedians Jerry Lewis on the radio, and started to imitate him. While his mother always pushed for him and his brothers to get an education Bill was never interested in school because he always failed his classes, so during his tenth grade year Cosby decided to drop out of high school and enlist in the US Navy in 1956. In the Navy Bill was working as a physical therapist in Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, during this time Cosby began to realize his gift of comedy. When he was attending to the injuried he would make light jokes to lessen the pain for them. During his four years of service Bill was big track and field star. Even though he though enjoyed serving his country and track Bill biggest regret was giving up on his education so he got correspondence which equivalent to a high school diploma. In 1961 Bill Cosby retired from the navy and went on to study Physical Education at Temple University on a track scholarship. While at Temple University Bill would work as a bartender at a cafeteria called Cellar to pay for his college tution. At Cellar he was known for his funny and live personality, which would eventually land the job as substitute for the in-house comedian at café. During his time at the café Bill started to take his gift standup comedy seriously began to perfect his craft by studying and imitating fellow comics he grew up watching. His reputation as a funny bartender spread throughout the city. Cosby soon got offers to do stand-up comedy in other clubs. In his standup it always focuses on stories about his family, everyday occurrences, boyhood experiences, and commonly held beliefs. He does not do racial humor, unlike other black comedians during his time. When asked why Mr. Cosby told Newsweek "I'm trying to reach all the people.” Cosby was soon making a wide variety of people laugh in well-known clubs across the United States. When his standup began to take off Bill Cosby came to the realization that his career as a comedian showed more promise than his prospects as a student, so he dropped out of Temple University. The year 1963 would be huge milestone in the life and career of Bill Cosby because this is where he became a household name to America when he released his first comedy album called “Bill Cosby is a Very Funny Fellow....Right!' and when made his very first nation-wide appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show which during this time was guest hosted by a comedian name Allan Sherman. Sherman was one of Cosby's biggest fans and he asked Cosby to be his guest. The Tonight Show producers were skeptical about having an African American comic on the show, but Sherman insisted that Cosby would be a big hit. Not only was Bill Cosby a success on The Tonight Show it earned his first starring role when a producer named Sheldon Leonard saw The Tonight Show the night Cosby was on and gave him the role of Alexander Scott on the TV show “I Spy”. Bill Cosby broke the color barrier in television and became the first Black in a non-traditional role when he costarred in the network television series. The series was aired for 3 years, and Cosby became the first ever African-American to win Primetime Emmy for Best Actor in Dramatic role for three consecutive years, 1967, 1968 and 1969.B ill Cosby was big inspiration for African Americans as he showed that not only that they can take on a more prominent role but also they can also be very serious actors. Not long after I Spy ended their successful run, Cosby starred in his own sitcom. The Bill Cosby Show ran which for two seasons, from 1969 to 1971, and featured the comedian as a gym teacher at a Los Angeles high school. This role showed that Cosby could carry a show with him as the lead actor in the series. After The Bill Cosby Show left the air, Cosby returned to his education. He began graduate work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Education would also be key thing in Cosby’s standup and for the PBS series The Electric Company, in which Cosby recorded several segments teaching reading skills to young children. In 1972, Cosby received an MA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During that year he developed the animated series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, which he based on many of his childhood experiences. In 1977, Cosby received a doctorate in urban education from the same university, having written an essay on Fat Albert. Fat Albert had everything kids liked, it had music and fun but also had message towards it too and you came away learning something new. Fat Albert was used as an educational tool by various schools to influence kids. The series ran from 1972 to 1979.During the 70’s Bill Cosby was not only a star on television but he had made way towards theaters and began to star in box-office successes like the 1974 comedy Uptown Saturday Night, co-starring alongside Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte in the film. Continuing to attract big audiences, he appeared opposite Poitier who was also a pioneer in acting in two comedy smashes, Let's Do It Again and A Piece of the Action, in 1975 and 1977, respectively. As the 70’s came to a close Cosby's greatest television success came in 1984 with the debut of “The Cosby Show”. Once again turning to his life for inspiration, Cosby began working on a new television series which was actually based on his family. The show painted the picture of an intelligent, cultured and wealthy African-American family. During this time it was unprecedented to see a successful black married couple on a TV show like Cliff (played by Cosby) and Claire (Who was played by actress Phylicia Rashād) Huxtable who were a Doctor and Lawyer. When making the characters of the shows Bill would use the traits of his wife Camille who was college educated like him and also their four daughters and one son to make his TV family. For Cosby, the new comedy was a response to the increasingly violent and vulgar fare the networks usually offered. The other reason he created the show to stop the stereotype of all black televisions shows were about poor black families living in the violent ghetto trying to live off every penny they can find. It took some time to find a TV network willing to air the series about an African-American doctor, his lawyer-wife and their five children. In September 1984, The Cosby Show debuted to favorable reviews and strong ratings on NBC. Week after week, The Cosby Show drew audiences with its warm humor and believable situations. Cosby's character, Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, became one of the most popular dads in television history. When he did “The Cosby Show” Bill Cosby did not only how much of an impact did his character on actors around the world but it’s also been said that it had helped impacted men to become better fathers. When he was not doing Dr. Huxtable was Bill Cosby well known by people for his appearing in the funny commercials for such products as JELL-O. After being the highest-rated sitcom on TV for five consecutive years, “The Cosby Show” finally ended its run in 1992. After The Cosby Show, Cosby continued to work in television. He starred in The Cosby Mysteries, in which he played a retired criminologist who sometimes helped out a detective friend. In 1996, he returned to the sitcoms with Cosby, re-teaming with former co-star Phylicia Rashad. They were unable to obtain the same level of success as their earlier effort, but they did enjoy some popularity, staying on the air for four years.

Works Cited

2emerald. Bill Cosby Timeline. 30 April 2014. .
Bill Cosby. n.d. A&E Television Networks. 25 April 2014. .
Bill Cosby Biography. n.d. 30 April 2014. .
Bill Cosby Documentary. 19 November 2013. 30 April 2014. .
Ghare, Madhavi. Bill Cosby Biography. 18 December 2012. 2014 April 25. .

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