Beloved comedian William Henry Cosby, Jr. (1937-) was born on this day in Philadelphia. The first African American to star in a weekly prime-time TV dramatic series (I Spy,1965-1968), there isn't much Cos hasn't done or can't do.
A star of live performances, comedy albums, books, films, and television, he is a role model who breaks through ethnic barriers.
"A word to the wise ain't necessary. It's the stupid ones who need the advice," he once said.
Disillusioned with TV stereotypes, Cosby created the character of Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, a middle-class doctor with a great family who dealt with life's ordinary problems in a positive, upbeat way. NBC's Nielsen giant, The Cosby Show (1984-92), was born.
"Anyone who has brought up children knows that consistency has absolutely nothing to do with discipline," said the much-admired entertainer.
An advocate for education, he earned his undergraduate degree from Temple University (1971) and his PhD in education at the University of Massachusetts (1977). In 1989, he donated $20 million to Atlanta's Spelman College.
"Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing," he observed.
Celebrate every gray hair you get.