A Look At Bill Cosby Controversial Career In Hollywood

Multi-award-winning actor, comedian, and producer Bill Cosby revolutionized the entertainment industry with his acting skills. He started his stage life as a comedian. Each of his comedy albums won a Grammy award and sold an estimated $1 million copies. He was the first African-American artist to star in the hit television series I Spy (1965-68). The Cosby Show (1984-1992) became the third most-watched prime-time television show. It created history by being voted the number-one family entertainment show for five consecutive seasons. An estimated 62 million viewers watched the series in the early 80s. Cosby’s estimated net worth is $400 million owing to his phenomenal success as a comedian and actor. Let us take a look at his crazy success story.

Bill created history by becoming the first African American actor to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – I Spy (1965-68).

Bill Cosby’s Epic Journey As A Comedian

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William Henry Cosby Jr. was born in Pennsylvania on 12th July 1937. Bill’s father was enlisted in the Navy and remained absent from home during his teen years. To help out his mother, young Cosby worked odd jobs. He had a knack for cracking jokes, and this became his distinct identity in the future. Always a star athlete in high school, Bill captained the track and football teams. He also excelled in basketball and baseball. According to Britannica, Cosby dropped out of high school to join the Navy in 1956 and passed out of high school via a correspondence exam. After getting discharged from the Navy, he entered Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1961 on an athletic scholarship.

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While studying at Temple University, he worked as a bartender at Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich, New York. The bar had a local comedian who often missed his time. Bill filled in his shoes and entertained the crowd with his slapstick comedy. His reputation grew as a stand-up comedian, and he soon performed at all the leading clubs in New York. In 1962 Cosby dropped out of the university to pursue his newly found passion. He recorded the debut comedy album Bill Cosby Is A Very Funny Fellow, Right (1963) live at the nightclub The Bitter End, New York. The album sold 1 million copies and won a Grammy award. His second comedy album, I Started As a Child (1964), won the Grammy award for Best Comedy Album of the Year. Besides, the star won six Grammy awards consecutively for his comedy albums from 1964-69.

Becoming The First African-American To Win ‘The Best Actor’ Emmy

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According to the BBC, his popularity soared as a comedian, and he debuted on NBC’s Tonight Show in 1963. He became the first African-American comedy artist to be featured on a prominent show. Sheldon Leonard, the producer of the I Spy (1965 -68) series, watched Bill perform on the Tonight Show and immediately signed him up for the espionage thriller series. The show became an instant success and earned Cosby The Best Actor Emmy award for three consecutive years (1967-69). He created history by becoming the first African-American actor to receive this honor. The turning point of his accelerating career occurred between 1969-1992 with the debut of The Bill Cosby Show.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, he was earning $1 million per episode, and the show peaked at number one on the primetime charts for five consecutive seasons. The family sitcom saw him grow as an actor, comedian, producer, and musician. It widened the income streams, and he took a paycheck of $4 million per episode. An additional 20% stake in the show’s equity earned him millions in royalty throughout the years. The series revolutionized the television industry during the 80s and 90s. It became instrumental in airing more African-American shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-96) and Living Single with Queen Latifa (1993-98).

This Is Bill Cosby’s Net Worth As Of 2023

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Cosby’s current net worth is estimated at $400 million, and he earned most of it from his television career. In 2013 he started touring as a stand-up comedian. The first gig was on Comedy Central. His last performance was on 23rd January 2018 in Philadelphia. According to Fox Business, he currently lives in an 1800-era Colonial property in Elkins Park. The classic 5,835 square feet estate was bought in 1983 for $225,000. It is worth millions in the present real estate market. In 2015 he sold a 9,500-square-foot building for $11.8 million. He also owned a $20 million worth 8,668 square foot building and a $5.7 million worth 4,018 square foot building in Santa Monica. Both buildings were listed for sale in 2018.

He is also known as an influential art collector and owns more than 100 iconic paintings by African-American artists. In 2014, 62 paintings from his private collection were displayed at the Smithsonian museum. In 2017, he privately sold a vintage painting by Thomas Benton for $14 million. Most of his exclusive commissioned pieces are still on display at the National Museum of African Art.

Bill Cosby is a legendary figure who paved the way for other African-American artists to succeed in Hollywood. His meteoric rise inspired many to join the television and film industry.

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Sources: Britannica, BBC, Celebrity Net Worth, Fox Business

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