People from different generations might remember Bill Cosby for different things. Older generations will recall Cosby's work on the hit television show I Spy, or in movies like Uptown Saturday Night. Slightly younger audiences will remember him as the voice of Fat Albert from his cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Fans from nearly every generation can remember Bill Cosby's television hit, The Cosby Show, which brought comedy and lasting life lessons to audiences of all ages. Of course, Bill Cosby began his career as a stand-up comedian, which inspired much of the comedy that appears in his life's work. While he hasn't produced much in seven years, Bill Cosby is still bringing comedy -- in the form of a stand-up tour in 2011 -- to audiences around the United States.
William Henry Cosby, Jr., was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a child, Cosby displayed a talent for sports and humor despite his disinterest in school. Cosby chose to join the Navy where he worked as a Hospital Corpsman for four years and saw some of the worst injuries in the Korean War. What he saw convinced him to earn his GED and he soon after won a track and field scholarship to Temple University. While displaying a popular sense of humor in all aspects of his life, it was while bar tending that he first dabbled in stand-up comedy.
Seeing how popular he could become, Cosby temporarily left college in 1962 and began performing in clubs around Philadelphia. When many comedians were focusing on race disparities, Cosby avoided the topic by concentrating on the subjects that people of every race had in common. His first comedy album, Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow…Right!, was released in 1963 became a huge success. The "Noah" routine on the album was heard by a young Rob Reiner, who relayed it to his father, Carl Reiner, who was impressed with the comedian's style. Reiner introduced him to producer Sheldon Leonard, who soon cast Cosby in the NBC comedy, I Spy. Cosby continued to record his stand-up and even attempted a singing career, eventually winning seven Grammys for his various comedy albums. In 1972, Cosby starred in the variety show, The New Bill Cosby Show, as well as Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.
Bill Cosby's next big hit came in 1984 with the premier of The Cosby Show, which was based on the comedians own familial experiences. The series became one of the highest rated sitcoms ever and provided the world with a family friendly show that dealt with pressing societal issues; the show ran for eight seasons and finally ended in 1992. In 2004, Cosby attempted to repeat his sitcom recipe for success with Cosby, which saw the comedian reuniting with actress Phylicia Rashad. The show ran for four seasons and coincided with Cosby's hosting duties on Kids Say The Darndest Things.
While absent from the screen in recent years, Bill Cosby is still entertaining audiences through his books and stand-up concerts. The comedian has a full US tour in 2011, with most his stand-up performances revolving around the East Coast. The stand-up tour will include a few shows at Treasure Island in Las Vegas, and the last scheduled stand-up performance of the year will take place there on November 25.
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