- Also Known As:
- William Henry "Bill" Cosby Jr
- 6' 1"
Bill Cosby (born William Henry “Bill” Cosby Jr. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 12, 1937) is an American comedian, actor, author, and more. Bill began his career as a stand-up in the 1960s after leaving Temple University. His first big break came when he appeared on The Tonight Show in 1963, and released his first stand-up album in 1964. Bill’s comedy was family-oriented and family-friendly; a huge diversion from the more raunchy style of comedy at the time. In 1965, he became the first black actor to co-star in a drama for his role in I Spy, for which he has won three Emmys. In 1969, Bill developed The Bill Cosby Show for NBC, a sitcom, which ran for two seasons. His Saturday morning cartoon show Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was a little more successful; it ran from 1972 to 1979. The Cosby Show, which debuted in 1985, was easily the project which marked Bill’s name in history; it is currently the highest-ranking sitcom of all time. After The Cosby Show, Bill would go on to a number of film and television roles and hosting gigs. His TV and film appearances gradually tapered as he aged, but he continues to record stand-up. His most recent album, Bill Cosby: Far From Finished, was released in 2012 when he was 76 years old.
Best Known For:
Bill is best known for his stand-up and for creating The Cosby Show, which debuted in 1985 and ran for 8 seasons and 202 episodes.
Bill met wife Camilla Olivia Hanks while performing stand-up in Washington, D.C. in the 1960s. They married in 1964, and had five children (Erika Ranee, Erinn Charlene, Ensa Camille, Evin Harrah, and Ennis William); Ennis was tragically murdered in 1997. Bill had a relationship out of wedlock with a woman named Shawn Upshaw in the 1970s; in 1997, he testified that he had made private payments to her. Shawn alleged that her daughter, Autumn Jackson, was his; when Autumn tried to extort Bill for $50 million in 1999, she was sentenced to 26 months in prison. Bill has been the target of many accusations of sexual assault; in Nov. 2006, he settled out of court with a Canadian woman who claimed that he drugged and sexually assaulted her. He has been accused by over 46 separate women of similar crimes.