In an illustrious career defined by intelligent standup comedy, a groundbreaking 1980s hit show - "The Cosby Show" - and advocacy for education and good parenting, Cosby ranks as one of America’s most influential stars. Audiences adore Cosby’s take on the vast, ordinary world, as he gives a twist of the ridiculous to everyday faults, foibles and successes. When Cosby takes the stage, he points out the humor in life, and in doing so touches the hearts of audience members, and endears himself to people of every age and interest.
About his performances Cosby says, "I feel that in-person contact with people is the most important thing in comedy. While I’m up on stage, I can actually put myself into the audience and adjust my pace and timing to them. I can get into their heads through their ears and through their eyes. Only through this total communication can I really achieve what I’m trying to do."
With an uncanny ability to connect with people through humor that provides an insight into the role of parents, children, family members, men and women, Cosby has earned respect from critics and adoration from fans. Without resorting to gimmickry or lowbrow humor, Cosby has been compared to such great American humorists as Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, W.C. Fields and Groucho Marx. A testament to his status in the world of comedy, Cosby has earned five Grammy Awards for best comedy album.
Known the world over for "The Cosby Show," which ran from 1984 to 1992 on NBC, Cosby broke racial barriers and sent a powerful message to viewers - that the family unit and raising children matters most. The No. 1 rated sitcom, which many credited for single-handedly resurrecting the television sitcom, earned six Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes and 10 People’s Choice Awards. It helped set the stage for Cosby’s career as an author, as his book "Fatherhood" remained at No. 1 for more than half of its 54 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List. Among Cosby’s other titles are "Time Flies," "Love and Marriage," "Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors" and "Friends of a Feather: One of Life’s Little Fables," illustrated by his daughter.
A champion of youth, Cosby’s dedication to helping children realize their potential is evidenced through his Emmy Award-winning "Little Bill" animated series, which aired on Nickelodeon and CBS. Together with partners Tom Werner and Marcy Carsey, Cosby produced "A Different World" on NBC from 1987 to 1993. His other television and film credits include the "I Spy" series, "The Cosby Mysteries," "Man and Boy" and "Uptown Saturday Night," where he starred alongside Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. He has written, produced and directed educational television shows and animated specials.
Few entertainers have achieved the legendary status of Cosby, who emerged from humble beginnings in a Philadelphia housing project. After returning from the Navy, Cosby went on to earn a degree at Temple University and later a master’s and doctoral degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts. As philanthropists, Cosby and wife Camille have made substantial gifts in support of education and to various social service and civil rights organizations. His lifelong contributions to American culture were recognized with a Kennedy Center Honor in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in July 2002, America’s highest civilian honor.