People Who Kick Buts: Bill Cosby
Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to rewrite them.
- Born on July 12, 1937.
- An American comedian, actor, 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 action show, I Spy.
- Cosby was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is one of four sons born to Anna Pearl (née Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., who served as a sailor in the U.S. Navy.
- As a student, he described himself as a class clown. Cosby was the captain of the baseball and track and field teams at Mary Channing Wister Elementary School in Philadelphia, as well as the class president. Early on, though, teachers noted his propensity for clowning around rather than studying. At Fitz Simmons Junior High, Cosby began acting in plays as well as continuing his devotion to playing sports. He went on to Central High School, an academically challenging magnet school, but his full schedule of playing football, basketball, baseball, and running track made it hard for him. In addition, Cosby was working before and after school, selling produce, shining shoes, and stocking shelves at a supermarket to help out the family. He transferred to Germantown High School, but failed the tenth grade. Instead of repeating, he got a job as an apprentice at a shoe repair shop, which he liked, but could not see himself doing the rest of his life. Subsequently, he joined the Navy, serving at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland and at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.
- Cosby loved humor, and he called himself the class clown. Even as he progressed through his undergraduate studies, Cosby had continued to hone his talent for humor, joking with fellow enlistees in the service and then with college friends. When he began bar tending at the Cellar, a club in Philadelphia, to earn money, he became fully aware of his ability to make people laugh. He worked his customers and saw his tips increase, then ventured on to the stage.