Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bill Cosby

On July 12th, 1937 a man named William Henry Cosby Jr. was born. This man who will later be known as a comedian, actor, author, television producer and activist is to this day better known as Bill Cosby. Amongs his achievements are the landing of a role on an action show calle 'I Spy', his own series which he later starred in calle 'The Bill Cosby Show', and was at one point the major characters on the children's television show 'The Electric Company'. He is also responsible for creating the humorous educational cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, about a group of young friends growing up in the city.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cosby was born to Anna Pearl, a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a cook for the U.S. Navy. Cosby was one of four brothers. During much of his early childhood, Cosby's father was away in the US armed Forces and spent several years fighting in World War II. As far as being a student goes, he described himself as a class clown. He was the captain of the baseball and track & field teams at Mary Channing Wister Elementary School in Philadelphia, as well as the class president. Cosby began acting in plays as well as continuing his devotion to playing sports while at Glynn Academy. He then went on to Central High School, but his full schedule of playing football, basketball, baseball, and running track made it hard for him. Despite all of this Cosby was also working before and after school, selling produce, shining shoes, and stocking shelves at a supermarket to help out the family. Later transferring to Germantown High School he failed the tenth grade. Rather than repeating, he got a job as an apprentice at a shoe repair shop, which he liked, but it was not something he could see himself doing the rest of his life. Subsequently, he joined the Navy, serving at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Vaval Station Argentia, Newfoundland and the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. Cosby worked in physical therapy with some seriously injured Korean War casualties while serving in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman for four years. This is what helped him discover what was important to him. He then immediately realized the need for an education, and went on to finish his equivalency diploma through correspondence courses. He then won a track and field scholarship to Philadelphia's Temple University in 1961-62. While running track and playing fullback on the football team he studied physical education. Cosby also joined the school's chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Even as he progressed through his undergraduate studies Cosby loved humor and he called himself the class clown. Cosby had continued to hone his talent for humor, joking with fellow enlistees in the service and then with college friends. While bar tending at the Cellar, a club in Philadelphia he became fully aware of his ability to make people laugh. He worked his customers and saw his tips increase, then ventured on to the stage. Cosby left Temple to pursue a career in comedy, though he would return to collegiate studies in the 1970s. He lined up gigs at clubs in Philadelphia and soon was off to New York City, where he appeared at the Gaslight Cafe starting in 1962. It was there that an actor by the name of Carl Reiner "discovered" him. Reiner enjoyed Cosby's brand of humor, and his career took off quickly. After lining up gigs in various cities he released 'Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow...Right!' It was the first of a series of popular comedy albums in 1964. While many comics were using the growing freedom of that decade to explore controversial, sometimes risqué material, Cosby was making his reputation with humorous recollections of his childhood.
^Straight Smoove Operator Type^
Bill Cosby "Hey Hey Hey" Foreal

Most Americans wondered about the absence of race as a topic in Cosby's stories. As Cosby's success grew he had to defend his choice of material regularly; as he argued, "A white person listens to my act and he laughs and he thinks, 'Yeah, that's the way I see it too.' Okay. He's white. I'm Negro. And we both see things the same way. That must mean that we are alike. Right? So I figure this way I'm doing as much for good race relations as the next guy."
When he co-starred with Robert Culp in 1965, Cosby achieved a first for African-Americans in I Spy. This was an adventure show in the espionage genre inspired by the James Bond films. In the end 'I Spy' finished among the twenty most-watched shows that year, and Cosby was honored with three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Although ostensibly focused on Culp's character, the show had clearly become a vehicle for his co-star. Yet throughout the series' three-year run Cosby was repeatedly confronted with the question of race. For him it was enough that I Spy portrayed two men who worked as equals despite their different races; but critics took the show to task for not having a black character engage the racial issues that inflamed the country at that time. Enabling him to concentrate on his family and to return to live performing, Cosby was relieved when the series ended.
After an abundance of success throughout the late 60's and throught the 70's with 'The Bill Cosby Show' and 'Fat Albert' all including his return to his education Cosby continued to work in the 1980's. This is where his greatest television success came about. In September of 1984 'The Cosby Show' made its debut. The program aired weekly on NBC and went on to become the highest ranking sitcom of all time. For him, this new sitcom was a response to the increasingly violent and vulgar fare the networks usually offered. Herego Cosby continued and continues to be an advocate for humor that is both humorous and family-oriented.
His Story like his Career is quite long and the Post has already become long-winded so I highly suggest you doing more research on this great man.
Personal Thoughts:
I Still remember being at Grandma's House watching the Cosby Show and just thinking how simple yet how funny Biosby's comedy was. Everything from the faces he made to his sometimes sarcastic comments. And those Sweaters he wore... OOOOOHHHHWEEEEEE!!! Lol He's a Great Figure in African American History and I just feel his respect is way more than due.

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