Table of Contents
He will be 84 on July 12th.
What Was It About The Cosby Show?
The Cosby Show, starring Bill Cosby, was one of the most popular TV shows in the history of American television. This is a show that was routinely drawing one-third to one-half of all television viewers in the United States.
The show was a comedy series about the Huxtable family. An African American family living in a brownstone in Brooklyn, New York. Bill Cosby played the role of Cliff Huxtable. Cliff’s wife, Claire Huxtable, was played by Phylicia Rashad. The show gave a promising start for actors such as cast members Lisa Bonet and Malcolm Jamal Warner who played Denise and Theo Huxtable on the show.
Keshia Knight Pulliam and Tempest Bledsoe played Rudy and Vanessa Huxtable. Other standouts were Raven Symoné who joined the cast later. She played the role of Olivia Kendall.
Bill Cosby Conviction Overturned
So much has happened since the last episode of The Cosby Show aired in April of 1992. Fast forward to last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s high-profile conviction of indecent assault after determining he was denied protection against self-incrimination. As a consequence, Pennsylvania’s highest court ordered his release from the state prison where he was carrying out his sentence.
In September of 2018, Cosby was convicted of three felony counts of the 2004 aggravated indecent assault of Temple University employee Andrea Constand. Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in prison. Cosby served nearly three years of the sentence before this decision was handed down. The prosecution of Cosby was one of the first major milestones in the #metoo era.
Essentially, the PA Supreme Court ruled a deal made in a civil case with a previous Montgomery County District Attorney exchanged incriminating testimony from Cosby for immunity against prosecution in a criminal trial. In his deposition, he testified to provisioning quaaludes to women (not including Constand) he intended to have sexual intercourse with. The obvious question here is whether these women consented or not. By contrast, throughout the depositions, Cosby maintained the pills he gave to Constand were Benadryl.
D.A. Steele did not Honor Previous Deal
A prosecutor charging Cosby twice years later did not honor this deal. According to the court:
“There is an affirmative duty on the part of the prosecutor to honor any and all promises made in exchange for a defendant’s plea.”
Further, the court also added to their majority opinion:
“The impact of the due process violation here is vast. The remedy must match the impact.”
Not only was Cosby released, but the court also ruled he cannot be retried for the same charges.
Gloria Allred, the women’s rights attorney who represents dozens of Bill Cosby accusers, said in a statement to USA Today the court’s decision “must be devastating” for his accusers, but it was not a vindication of his conduct.
Guilty or Not Guilty?
I personally won’t comment on Cosby’s guilt or innocence because, to be perfectly honest, I don’t know. For me, if there is doubt, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Given the way the media and D.A. Steele handled the case, there is plenty of doubt to go around. It is very likely “America’s Dad” just didn’t want it to get out he had multiple affairs in the past, and that is the end of the story.
Also, Cosby did serve most of his sentence before being released, so it’s hard for me to hold a grudge against someone who has paid his debt to society. In fact, Cosby arguably paid twice because there was a 3 million dollar settlement in 2006.
If anything, I feel like his case is educational for aspiring lawyers wanting to understand how the criminal justice system works. Judges do not decide guilt or innocence. That is the job of the jurors. Judges decide whether the constitutional rights of the accused were protected. In this case, in a 4-3 vote, the court not only ruled this was not the case, but there is no limitation or suppression of evidence that could be put on a third criminal trial that would restore these rights.
Where does Cosby Go from Here?
The logical question now is where does the comedian and mogul go from here? He’s still a multi-millionaire. Bill Cosby’s net worth is estimated to be 400 million dollars.
In 1988, “The Cosby Show” sold for $4 million per episode. When it was all said and done, Cosby got $166 million from the deal. Apparently, both sides won out given that Forbes, in 2017, estimated the reruns generated $1.5 billion in the previous two decades.
He’s definitely done well for himself financially given his humble beginnings. Cosby was born to Anna Pearl and William Henry Cosby Sr. on July 12, 1937.
His life took a number of turns before beginning his career as a comedian. He dropped out of high school in the 10th grade and wound up going into the military for a while. He not only wound up finishing his diploma, he eventually earned a Doctorate in Education.
In 1961, after appearing in a number of Philadelphia clubs, he got a gig in a comedy club in New York City called the Gaslight Cafe. A couple of years later, he was featured on “The Tonight Show.” The rest is history.
More Info from the Streaming Media Platforms
- Amazon Prime Video – Watch the Cosby Show (Season 1) – https://www.amazon.com/The-Cosby-Show/dp/B06Y18W4SB
- Amazon Prime Video – Watch the Cosby Show (Season 4) – https://www.amazon.com/The-Cosby-Show/dp/B06Y44BLTW
- Phylicia Rashad Interview – Part 2 of 5 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mLKWnMPbwA
- Li, David K. “Bill Cosby released after assault conviction overturned by Supreme Court.” https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/bill-cosby-be-released-after-sexual-assault-conviction-overturned-pennsylvania-n1272748. Accessed 2 Jul 2021.
- Commonwealth v. William Henry Cosby, Jr – June 30, 2021 – Opinion. https://www.pacourts.us/Storage/media/pdfs/20210630/163038-june302021opinionwecht.pdf. Accessed 2 Jul 2021.
- “Bill Cosby released from prison after court overturns his conviction.” https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/30/court-overturns-bill-cosbys-sex-assault-conviction-bars-further-prosecution.html. Accessed 2 Jul 2021.
- Puente, Maria. “Bill Cosby Reunites with his wife, kids following his release from prison.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2021/06/30/bill-cosby-conviction-sexual-assault-case-overturned-court/7813200002/. Accessed 2 Jul 2021.
- Rhone, Nedra. “After verdict, fans struggle with Bill Cosby’s guilt, guile.” https://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/after-verdict-fans-struggle-with-bill-cosby-guilt-guile/PezUzcG370RXfEtAGZNrbL/. Accessed 4 Jul 2021.
- The Cosby Show TV Listings. https://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/the-cosby-show/tv-listings/1000177713/. Accessed 5 July 2021.
- The Cosby Show (TV Series 1984 – 1992). https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086687/. Accessed 5 July 2021.
- Soliman, Renz. “Bill Cosby Net Worth Upon Jail Release: Ex-Comedian Still a Multimillionaire.” https://www.ibtimes.com/bill-cosby-net-worth-upon-jail-release-ex-comedian-still-multimillionaire-3240115. Accessed 5 July 2021.