Before The Cosby Show

Bill Cosby's Story

His dream

To become a great actor and comedian.


Bill Cosby was inspired by Sid Ceasar, who was a comedian when Cosby was a kid.


Bill Cosby was born on July 12, 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Throughout his school years Cosby never really seemed to have a great work ethic, but since then he has achieved the impossible by becoming one of the most respected actors in history.

High School Years

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Early Life and Childhood

Cosby's family struggled financially after his father began drinking heavily. When his father left to enlist in the Navy, Bill took on the role of taking care of his mother and his three brothers. He had a devastating loss at age eight when his younger brother James died. Although his family was getting by, he had to help support the family by doing various jobs. He shined shoes at the age of nine and later he worked in a supermarket while still living at home.
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Throughout his life, Bill Cosby has had to struggle with various obstacles to achieve his dream of becoming an actor.

  • The Cosby family was poor after Bill was eight years old.
  • He had to take care of his family by doing various jobs.
  • He never seemed to apply himself in his schooling.

How he overcame his obstacles

He was very involved with his school's sports teams, especially track. Cosby originally dropped out of high school and joined the Navy in 1956. After regretting that decision, he earned his high school equivalency diploma while he was in the service. He also received a track scholarship to go to Temple University while in the Navy. After getting his bachelor's degree from Temple University he eventually went on to receive his PHD from the University of Massachusetts.


Over the past 50 years Bill Cosby has astounded people with his humor, stand up routine and comedy albums, writing, and awards. He was on the TV shows I Spy and The Electric Company. He also created and starred in Fat Albert and The Cosby Show, which would eventually become his crowning achievement. He received multiple awards, such as Golden Globes and Prime Time Emmy's for playing the character Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtuable on The Cosby Show. Along with many People's Choice Awards, he received the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award in 2003 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center in 1998. Bill Cosby's biggest achievement in life will probably be that he was the first black actor ever to star in a weekly Prime Time TV Series.