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Bill Cosby Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of comedian and actor Bill Cosby.


Birth date: July 12, 1937

Birth place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Birth name: William Henry Cosby Jr.

Father: William Henry Sr., US Navy mess steward

Mother: Anna (Hite) Cosby

Marriage: Camille (Hanks) Cosby (January 25, 1964-present)

Children: Evin, 1976; Ensa, 1973-2018; Ennis, 1969-1997; Erinn, 1966; Erika, 1965

Education: Attended Temple University, 1961-1962; University of Massachusetts at Amherst, M.A, 1972; University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Ed.D, 1977

Military service: US Navy, 1956-1960

Other Facts

More than 50 women have publicly accused Cosby of raping or assaulting them over the past 40 years. The comedian vehemently denied any wrongdoing. In April 2018, after two trials, Cosby was convicted of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in a Philadelphia suburb in 2004. After appeal, his conviction was overturned based on violation of his right to due process.

Many organizations, including educational, advertising and media, have either rescinded awards and honors, or scrubbed Cosby’s name from their websites.

Television spokesman for Jell-O for more than 25 years, beginning in 1974.

All of his children were given names beginning with an E, to represent excellence.

Nominated for 17 Grammy Awards and has won nine.

Nominated for eight Primetime Emmy Awards and won four.


1956 – Drops out of high school and enlists in the US Navy. During his time in the Navy, Cosby earns his high school diploma through a correspondence course.

1961 – Wins a track and field scholarship to Temple University. While at school, he gets his first job telling jokes while tending bar.

1962 – Leaves school and moves to New York City to work as a comedian at the Gaslight Café.

1963 – The album “Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow … Right!” is released.

1964 – The album “I Started Out as a Child” is released.

April 13, 1965 – Wins a Grammy for Best Comedy Performance for “I Started Out as a Child.”

1965-1968 – Plays Alexander Scott, an undercover CIA agent, on the NBC show “I Spy.”

1966-1968 – Wins three Best Actor Primetime Emmy Awards in a row for “I Spy.”

June 8, 1969 – Wins an Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety or Musical Program for “The Bill Cosby Special.”

1969-1971 – Plays Chet Kincaid, a physical education teacher, on the NBC program, “The Bill Cosby Show.”

1972-1984 – “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” an animated show created by Cosby, runs on television.

September 20, 1984 – “The Cosby Show” debuts on NBC. Cosby plays Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable.

1984-1992 – “The Cosby Show” runs on NBC.

October 3, 1992 – Is inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. In 2018, the Academy removes all references to Cosby from their list of honorees.

1996-2000 – Stars on the television sitcom “Cosby.”

January 16, 1997 – Cosby’s only son, Ennis, is robbed and murdered on a Los Angeles highway after he stops to fix a flat tire.

July 1997 – Autumn Jackson, who claimed to be Cosby’s illegitimate daughter, is found guilty of attempting to extort $40 million dollars from him. She is later sentenced to 26 months in prison.

July 1998 – Mikhail Markhasev is convicted of Ennis Cosby’s murder. A month later he is sentenced to life in prison.

December 6, 1998 – Receives the Kennedy Center Honors. The Kennedy Center rescinds the honors in 2018.

July 9, 2002 – Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

2003 – Receives the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the Emmy Awards.

January 2005 – Constand, a former Temple University employee, alleges that Cosby drugged and fondled her in January 2004. In February, authorities announce that Cosby will not be charged in the Constand case, citing insufficient evidence. Constand files a civil suit against Cosby in March. They settle out of court for $3.38 million, and the case is dismissed in November 2006.

October 26, 2009 – Is awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The prize is rescinded in 2018.

November 23, 2013 – Cosby’s first television comedy special in 30 years airs on Comedy Central.

November 14, 2014 – CNN interviews Barbara Bowman, who alleges that Cosby assaulted her a number of times. Cosby’s attorney, John Schmitt, states that the allegations are “decade-old” and “discredited.”

November 17, 2014 – Journalist and publicist Joan Tarshis tells CNN that Cosby sexually assaulted her 45 years ago, when she was a teenager. Tarshis joins a handful of women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault – allegations the comedian’s attorneys have repeatedly said are untrue.

November 18, 2014 – Former supermodel Janice Dickinson accuses Cosby of sexual assault, telling “Entertainment Tonight” in an interview that the comedian raped her. Cosby’s attorney Martin Singer calls Dickinson’s story “a lie” and says it contradicts her own autobiography and a 2002 New York Observer interview.

November 26, 2014 – Cosby’s alma mater, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, cuts ties with the comedian, stating, “Bill Cosby has agreed to resign as an honorary co-chair of UMass Amherst’s capital campaign. He no longer has any affiliation with the campaign nor does he serve in any other capacity for the university.”

December 1, 2014 – Cosby resigns from Temple University’s board of trustees, a position that he has held for 32 years.

December 2, 2014 – Judy Huth files a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging that Cosby sexually assaulted her in 1974, when she was 15 years old. (The timeline is later revised to 1975, when Huth was 16.) In a pleading, Singer writes that Huth’s claims are “absolutely false.” He accuses her of engaging in extortion after Cosby rejected her “outrageous demand for money in order not to make her allegations public.”

December 4, 2014 – The Navy revokes Cosby’s title of honorary chief petty officer.

December 10, 2014 – Tamara Green, who has accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her in 1970, files a defamation lawsuit against Cosby in federal court, claiming she was called a liar after coming forward with allegations. Within a year, six additional accusers join in the lawsuit.

December 16, 2014 – Citing the statute of limitations, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declines to charge Cosby regarding Huth’s 1970s sexual assault allegation.

January 2015 – Linda Traitz tells CNN that she and fellow accuser Therese Serignese are joining Green’s defamation lawsuit against Cosby..

February 12, 2015 – Two more women accuse Cosby of sexual assault.

May 20, 2015 – Dickinson sues Cosby for defamation.

July 6, 2015 – Newly unsealed documents reveal Cosby has admitted to getting prescription Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with. The documents, dating back to 2005, stem from a civil lawsuit filed by Constand.

July 25, 2015 – Spelman College, a historically black women’s school in Atlanta, announces it has officially terminated a professorship endowed by Cosby and his wife Camille.

December 14, 2015 – Cosby countersues seven women who are suing him for defamation in federal court, claiming they actually defamed him. Cosby is seeking unspecified damages and public retractions from seven women: Green, Serignese, Traitz, Bowman, Tarshis, Louisa Moritz and Angela Leslie.

December 21, 2015 – Cosby sues model Beverly Johnson for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He claims that she falsely accused him of attempted rape.

December 30, 2015 – Cosby is charged in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault in the case of Constand, who accused the TV star of assaulting her in 2004.

January 6, 2016 – The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announces that Cosby won’t be charged in two cases. According to a charge evaluation sheet, prosecutors think neither of the two allegations could have resulted in charges within the statute of limitations.

February 19, 2016 – Cosby’s defamation lawsuit against Johnson is voluntarily dismissed.

May 16, 2016 – A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court accuses Hugh Hefner of conspiring with Cosby in 2008 to commit sexual battery of a minor. The plaintiff, Chloe Goins, claims that Hefner “knew or should have known that Defendant Cosby….had a propensity for intoxicating and or drugging young women and taking advantage of them sexually…while they were unconscious.”

May 24, 2016 – The criminal case against Cosby in Pennsylvania is on track to go to trial, after a judge rules that there is sufficient evidence against the entertainer.

December 5, 2016 – A judge rules that Cosby’s 11-year-old deposition – in which he admitted to extramarital affairs and giving some women drugs in order to have sex with them – is admissible in his upcoming criminal trial in 2017.

December 13-14, 2016 – A pre-trial hearing is held to determine whether the testimony of 13 women who say Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them from 1964 to 2002 may be included as evidence in his criminal case.

February 16, 2017 – A federal judge in Massachusetts dismisses a defamation lawsuit against Cosby by Katherine McKee, an actress who claimed he raped her in 1974, according to court documents.

May 16, 2017 – In an interview with Michael Smerconish on the SiriusXM POTUS channel, Cosby says that he does not plan to testify on his own behalf during his upcoming assault trial.

June 17, 2017 – After six days and more than 53 hours of jury deliberations, Cosby’s aggravated indecent assault case ends in a mistrial after a Pennsylvania jury of seven men and five women are unable to come to a unanimous decision. Prosecutors immediately announce they will retry the case.

January 22, 2018 – Cosby performs at the LaRose Jazz Club in Philadelphia. This is his first stand-up event since May 2015.

February 23, 2018 – Cosby’s daughter Ensa, 44, dies of renal disease.

March 15, 2018 – A Pennsylvania judge rules that five women will be allowed to testify during the comedian’s new trial for allegedly assaulting Constand in 2004. Prosecutors wanted 19 accusers to take the witness stand but the judge said that they could choose five out of the group. During the first trial, just one other accuser was allowed to testify against the comedian.

April 5, 2018 – The jury is seated in Cosby’s new trial, with seven men and five women.

April 26, 2018 – Cosby is convicted on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Constand in 2004.

September 25, 2018 – Cosby is sentenced to 3-10 years in state prison for aggravated indecent assault. The following day, Cosby arrives at SCI Phoenix prison in Pennsylvania.

January 28, 2019 – Cosby enters the prison general population and is housed in a cell by himself, which a spokeswoman says is typical for the facility. He is listed as Inmate Number NN7687.

April 5, 2019 – A settlement is reached in the defamation case against Cosby involving seven women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Cosby’s spokesman, however, says his client did not authorize the settlement, which was negotiated between the plaintiffs and the insurance company, American International Group (AIG).

April 16, 2019 – In a statement, Cosby rails against insurance company AIG for an “unauthorized settlement” regarding Goins’ sexual battery lawsuit.

April 2019 – Cosby challenges an arbitration decision that mandated he pay $6.7 million in legal fees – $4.3 million of which had already been paid, $2 million by Cosby and $2.3 million by his insurer, AIG. $2.4 million remains to be paid. Originally, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan was requesting more than $9 million for its total bill, but that amount was trimmed during arbitration.

May 31, 2019 – Cosby withdraws his countersuit against the seven women who sued him for defamation in federal court.

June 25, 2019 – Cosby files an appeal of his criminal conviction, arguing that the trial was flawed because the testimony of five accusers was “strikingly dissimilar” to that of Constand.

July 25, 2019 – Dickinson’s attorney announces that they have reached a “very large settlement” with Cosby’s insurance company in Dickinson’s defamation case. Cosby’s spokesman says the insurance company settled the lawsuit despite Cosby’s objections.

September 20, 2019 – A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sides with law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, ruling that Cosby must pay $2.74 million for unpaid compensation, interest and arbitration fees.

November 24, 2019 – In his first interview since he was sentenced to prison for sexual assault, Cosby says he doesn’t expect to express remorse when it comes time for his parole. Cosby gave National Newspaper Publishers Association’s the exclusive interview from SCI Phoenix, a state prison near Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

December 10, 2019 – A Pennsylvania appeals court upholds Cosby’s sexual assault conviction and rejects his argument that the case was wrongly decided against him.

June 23, 2020 – Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court rules that Cosby is allowed to appeal two key issues in his 2018 conviction on sexual assault charges. The ruling grants Cosby the ability to appeal two issues in the case. One issue focuses on the “prior bad act” witnesses who testified about alleged assaults that were not part of the charges, and the second focuses on the prior district attorney’s decision not to charge Cosby a decade ago.

May 27, 2021 – Cosby is denied parole by the Pennsylvania Parole Board, according to a May 11 letter from the board obtained by CNN. The board cites his “failure to develop a parole release plan” and a “negative recommendation by the Department of Corrections” as factors that contributed to the decision.

June 30, 2021 Cosby is released from prison after the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania vacates his 2018 conviction on sexual assault charges and judgment of sentence. The court rules in its opinion that his due process rights were violated when Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor’s decision to not prosecute him in return for his deposition in a 2005 civil case was used against him at trial. The decision cannot be appealed by the prosecution in the state of Pennsylvania.

March 7, 2022 – The Supreme Court leaves in place an opinion by Pennsylvania’s highest court that overturned comedian Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, rejecting a bid from Pennsylvania prosecutors to review the decision.

June 21, 2022 – A Los Angeles jury finds Cosby liable in the civil case brought by Huth in 2014, a woman who claimed he sexually assaulted her as a teenager in the 1970s. The jury, comprised of eight women and four men, awards Huth $500,000 in damages.

December 30, 2022 – A woman who says she was sexually assaulted by Cosby sues him for sexual battery after five other women sued him in early December under the New York Adult Survivors Act. The lawsuit, filed in New York’s Supreme Court, alleges plaintiff Stacey Pinkerton was sexually assaulted by Cosby in 1986 when she was 21 years old.

June 14, 2023 – Nine women who have accused Cosby of sexual abuse in the past file a new lawsuit asking for a jury trial against the comedian in Nevada.

November 20, 2023 – Joan Tarshis, who previously accused Cosby of sexual assault in 2014, files a lawsuit against him under a New York law that’s set to expire this week. The lawsuit accuses Cosby of battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment. Tarshis is seeking unspecified damages.

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