Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby
Veteran entertainer Bill Cosby assumes the role of Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable on The Cosby Show series.
Vital Information
Gender: Male
Nationality American
Ethnicity African-American
Born: July 12, 1937 (currently 78 years old)
Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Family/Career Information
Author, Actor, Comedian
Spouse(s): Camille Hanks Cosby (m. 1968)
Related to: Ensa Cosby, Ennis Cosby, Ennis Cosby, Erinn Chalene Cosby, Evin Harrah Cosby, Erika Ranee Cosby
Character/series information
Appeared on
/involved with:
The Cosby Show
Episodes appeared in/
involved with:
Entire Series
Character played Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable, M.D.

Dr. William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr., Ed.D. (born July 12, 1937) played the part of Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable on The Cosby Show. A veteran stand-up comedian, and actor, Bill has also worn multiple hats as an author, television producer, educator, musician and activist.


A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a starring role in the 1960s CBS-TV action-spy/crime drama series, I Spy. After the cancellation of I Spy in 1968, Bill then starred in his own sitcom, NBC-TV's short-lived The Bill Cosby Show for three seasons, 1969-71. He was also one of the major characters on the PBS-TV children's television series The Electric Company for its first two seasons, and created the educational cartoon comedy series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, about a group of young friends growing up in the city. Cosby has also acted in a number of films.

During the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in one of the decade's defining sitcoms, NBC-TV's The Cosby Show, which aired eight seasons from 1984 to 1992. It was the number one show in America for five straight years (1985–89).[1] The sitcom highlighted the experiences and growth of an affluent African-American family. He also produced the spin-off sitcom A Different World, which became second to The Cosby Show in ratings. He starred in the CBS-TV sitcom Cosby, where he was reunited with former Cosby Show co-star Phylicia Rashād from 1996 to 2000 and hosted CBS-TV's Kids Say the Darndest Things for two seasons.

In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante included him in his book, the 100 Greatest African Americans.[2]

In 1976, Cosby earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. For his doctoral research, he wrote a dissertation entitled, "An Integration of the Visual Media Via 'Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids' Into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning".


Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album – Grammy Awards
1965 'I Started Out as a Child'
1966 'Why Is There Air?'
1967 'Wonderfulness'
1968 'Revenge'
1969 'To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With'
1970 Sports
1987 'Those of You with or Without Children, You'll Understand'

Best Recording for Children – Grammy Awards
1972 Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs
1971 The Electric Company – Cast member

Honorary degreesEdit

Cosby has received honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities:

  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, December 5, 2008.[3]
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Carnegie Mellon University, May 20, 2007; he was also the keynote speaker for the commencement ceremony.[4]
  • Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, May 8, 2004.[5] Cosby was also the host of the school's 60th Anniversary Concert in January 2006.[6]
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Baylor University, September 4, 2003, at the "Spirit Rally" for the Baylor and Central Texas communities.[7]
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Yale University, May 26, 2003.[8]
  • Honorary Degree in 2003 presented by President William Harjo LoneFight from the Sisseton Wahpeton College on the Lake Traverse Reservation for his contributions to minority education.
  • Honorary Doctorate from West Chester University of Pennsylvania during the 2003 graduation ceremony.
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Haverford College, May 2002.[9]
  • Honorary Degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Cincinnati in 2001.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Amherst College, May 1999. (Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa)
  • Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California, May 8, 1998.[10]
  • Cosby served as the Commencement speaker [11] and received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut, 18 May 1996.[12]
  • Honorary LL.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, 1990.[13] He also served as the commencement speaker in May 1997.[14]


  1. "Classic TV & Movie Hits - The Cosby Show". Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  2. Asante, Molefi Kete (2002). 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amherst, New York. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-963-8.
  3. "VCU 40th Anniversary Events". Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  4. "Commencement 2007: Celebrating Honors and Achievements". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  5. "Retiring College President Lee Eliot Berk and Bill Cosby Honored at Berklee College of Music's 2004 Commencement" (Press release). Berklee College of Music. 8 May 2004. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  6. "Three Score: The Berklee 60th Anniversary Concert". Berklee College of Music. 28 January 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  7. "Bill Cosby Lifts Baylor, Waco Spirits At "Pep Rally"". Baylor University. 5 September 2003. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  8. "Honorary Degrees". Yale Bulletin and Calendar 31 (31). 6 June 2003. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  9. "Honorary Degree Recipients". Haverford College. 7 July 2009. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  10. "A Joyous Day of Academic Celebration - USC's 115th Commencement, May 8, 1998". USC News. 8 May 1998. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  11. "Commencement: Honorary Degrees". University of Connecticut. 18 May 1996. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  12. "Commencement: Honorary Degrees". University of Connecticut. 18 May 1996. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  13. "Commencement: Honorary Degrees". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  14. "Commencement: Speakers Since 1938". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 19 September 2009.

External linksEdit

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