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William Henry Cosby Jr. (//; born July 12, 1937) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and author. His start in stand-up comedy began at the hungry i in San Francisco; he then landed a starring role in the 1960s television show I Spy. He was also a regular on the children's television series The Electric Company during the show's first two seasons.
Using the Fat Albert character developed during his stand-up routines, Cosby created, produced, and hosted the animated comedy television series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, a show that ran from 1972 to 1985, centering on a group of young friends growing up in an urban area. Throughout the 1970s, Cosby starred in a number of films, and he occasionally returned to film later in his career. He attended Temple University in the 1960s and received his bachelor's degree there in 1971. In 1973, he received a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts, and in 1976, he earned his Doctor of Education degree, also from UMass. His dissertation discussed the use of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as a teaching tool in elementary schools.
Beginning in the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in a television sitcom, The Cosby Show, which aired from 1984 to 1992 and was rated as the number one show in America for five years, 1984 through 1989. The sitcom highlighted the experiences and growth of an affluent African-American family. Cosby produced the Cosby Show spin-off sitcom A Different World, which aired from 1987 to 1993, starred in The Cosby Mysteries from 1994 to 1995, starred in the sitcom Cosby from 1996 to 2000; and hosted Kids Say the Darndest Things for two seasons, from 1998 to 2000.
Many sexual assault allegations, the earliest of which date back decades, have been made against Cosby; those allegations did not become highly publicized until 2014. More than sixty women have accused him of rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct.
Last Updated: December 28, 2017