The first major biography of an American icon, comedian Bill Cosby. Based on extensive research and in-depth interviews with Cosby and more than sixty of his closest friends and associates, it is a frank, fun and fascinating account of his life and historic legacy.
Far from the gentle worlds of his routines or TV shows, Cosby grew up in a Philadelphia housing project, the son of an alcoholic, largely absent father and a loving but overworked mother. With novelistic detail, award winning journalist Mark Whitaker tells the story of how, after dropping out of high school, Cosby turned his life around by joining the Navy, talking his way into college, and seizing his first breaks as a stand-up comedian.
Published on the 30th anniversary of The Cosby Show, the book reveals the behind-the-scenes story of that groundbreaking sitcom as well as Cosby’s bestselling albums, breakout role on I Spy, and pioneering place in children’s TV. But it also deals with professional setbacks and personal dramas, from an affair that sparked public scandal to the murder of his only son, and the private influence of his wife of fifty years, Camille Cosby.
Whitaker explores the roots of Cosby’s controversial stands on race, as well as “the Cosby effect” that helped pave the way for a black president. For any fan of Bill Cosby’s work, and any student of American television, comedy, or social history, Cosby: His Life and Times is an essential read.
Bill Cosby has his image complicated in this absorbing biography from former Newsweek editor Whitaker (My Long Trip Home), who traces Cosby's rise from poverty in the Philadelphia projects where he lived with a working mom and an alcoholic and largely absent father during his feckless boyhood of academic failure. Cosby achieved success in everything he lacked in youth: wealth and fame as a superstar, a legendary role in The Cosby Show as a prosperous, doting paterfamilias, and a public voice as a crusader for education, personal responsibility, and committed parenting in the African-American community (despite personal missteps that would come back to haunt him). Along the way the author illuminates, with telling detail, Cosby's remarkable achievements as a comedic technician who avoided easy gags and carefully honed his long-form stand-up routines while approaching acting roles with naturalistic improvisation. Cosby has been controversial for being noncontroversial for eschewing edgy racial humor and politics in favor of a warm-hearted inclusiveness that white audiences embraced but Whitaker shows the prickliness beneath the affable exterior and the genuine if sometimes muted concern for civil rights. He makes a persuasive case for Cosby as a groundbreaking comic and a quiet but far-ranging pioneer of black advancement. Photos.
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I just finished chapter four and, like chapter two, the end of the final paragraph was missing. I got to the bottom of the last page and the words stopped in mid-sentence. I flipped the page and found nothing. Just the opening of the next chapter. It's a small thing, but you do feel a little screwed.