Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fat Alibi and the Cosby Fibs a Flattering Biography Leaves the Dark Side of a Comedy Icon's Life Unexamined

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fat Alibi and the Cosby Fibs a Flattering Biography Leaves the Dark Side of a Comedy Icon's Life Unexamined

Article excerpt

On my seventh birthday, my mother gave me the Bill Cosby album "Wonderfulness." "I was 7 years old, standing up in my crib," it began. I laughed, knowing of course that I didn't need a crib. And I kept laughing through the "Tonsils" and "Chicken Heart" tracks.

My eighth birthday brought a toy replica "I Spy" gun that looked just like the one used by Mr. Cosby's character Alexander Scott on the NBC show (1965-68). Instead of bullets, it fired little yellow plastic pellets. There was even a picture of Mr. Cosby and co-star Robert Culp on the package it came in.

Later, I loved Mr. Cosby as the cool gym teacher Chet Kincaid on his first sitcom, and I would imagine that he was my teacher. I watched him on the groundbreaking PBS show "The Electric Company." "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" became my regular Saturday morning companions.

The past year's mounting rape allegations against Mr. Cosby have cut like a knife through my heart. I have found myself caught up in a sort of emotional haze much like the Holly Martins character in "The Third Man" who, when he finds out that his close childhood friend Harry Lime is a murderous black marketeer, is left to mutter, "How could he have done it?"

As I read Mark Whitaker's book "Cosby: His Life and Times," I looked for answers. What is conspicuous is what isn't in the book. While the firestorm began in October, when comedian Hannibal Buress called Mr. Cosby a rapist during a stand-up set, the allegations go back at least 10 years.

Yet there is nothing in this book about any of it. The 500-page book fails on that level. However, it's still worth reading if only for the incredible story of how Mr. Cosby's role in "I Spy" was developed, making him the Jackie Robinson of the small screen, the first black to have a starring role in a regular dramatic series on American TV.

For each of the three years the show was on the air, Mr. Cosby received the Emmy for best lead actor in a dramatic series. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.