Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby was one of America's best-loved TV stars, but his son's death in a drive-by shooting and court battles over alleged sexual assaults have left the family man's image in tatters. William H. Cosby Jr. first took to the stage as a stand-up comedian while at college. By his early twenties, he had appeared in a number of television variety programmes including ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and ‘The Johnny Carson Show’. However, his big break came in 1965 when he appeared as Alexander Scott in ‘I Spy’, winning numerous Emmys for his performance. In 1969, he starred in his own series, ‘The Bill Cosby Show’. He was also one of the major characters on the children's television show ‘The Electric Company’ for its first two seasons, and created the humorous educational cartoon series ‘Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids’, about a group of young friends growing up in the city. Cosby also acted in numerous films, although none has received the acclaim of his television work. In 1984, ‘Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids’ stopped production, and ‘The Cosby Show’ commenced. This portrayal of a middle-class African-American family – the Huxtables - was originally rejected by ABC, accepted by a then-floundering NBC, and became an almost instant success. From 1985 to 1987 the show broke viewing records, with Cosby becoming a real driving force in US television during the 1980s. ‘The Cosby Show’ finally stopped production in 1992, conceding its dominant position to the cartoon series, ‘The Simpsons’. Cosby was also dissatisfied with the way ethnic minorities were portrayed on television. He produced the TV series ‘A Different World’ in 1987, which was set in a historically black college and concentrated on young people and education.