The final scene of the makeshift pilot called for Cliff Huxtable cosby to go up to Theo's malcom-Jamal Warner messy room to talk to him about his dismal report card. It was based almost word for word on the tense, nightlong argument Cosby had with Ennis about his son's desire to be "regular people." The only embellishment was a visual conceit added for TV: he would hand Theo 300 in Monopoly money and then snatch. To make sure they had enough footage, the producers filmed two live performances. In the afternoon, the audience was filled with young people who didn't have day jobs or were playing hooky from school. They laughed during Cliff's Monopoly speech but responded even more strongly to Theo's impassioned response. "you're a doctor and Mom's a lawyer and you're successful and everything and that's great he said.
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You need him, and you need this show!" But another was saying: "He's Bill Cosby! Even if he throws you out of this house, you need to tell him what you really think." The producers felt strongly that both parents on the show should be college graduates. As Cosby had proved in his stand-up act, the war of wits between parents and children was even funnier if the parents thought of themselves as highly intelligent people. Finally, shortly before 1 in the morning, cosby said the words that made carsey think that she might be getting someplace: "I think my wife would agree with you." "you will not be a chauffeur!" Camille said when he briefed her on the meeting. "Why not?" Cosby asked. "Because i'm not going to be a carpenter!" Camille said. Camille rarely got so adamant about casual things. It was as if she was saying that he hadn't come this far — fighting for the dignity of characters on his previous shows, creating the role model of Fat Albert for kids, earning a doctorate in education — to fall back on the stereotypes. At one point, she told him that the limo driver idea review was so crazy that he should see a psychiatrist and bring back a note. Bill and Camille cosby and their children became the models for the fictional family on The cosby Show.
Carsey made the argument for a show based on the strong point of view reflected in Cosby's comedy routines, about the loving "war between parents and their children." Flattered by the respect for his stand-up material, cosby warmed to the idea. Cosby thought it would be funny for the character to drive a limousine. It would allow him to tell stories about all the people and situations he encountered on the job, and give him a flexible schedule so he could be at home during the day to interact with his children. Cosby proposed that the wife be a plumber proposal or a carpenter. And she would be latino and speak spanish, so that when they had an argument, her husband wouldn't be able to understand what she was saying. Carsey heard two voices inside her head: "Do whatever he wants! He's Bill Cosby, for God's sake!
They would have to pay cosby more than 1 million per season barbing if the show succeeded. The producers had always said they were "betting on themselves" when they went independent, but that kind of money would mean betting the company. Carsey and Werner went to las Vegas to see cosby perform and were reminded of everything they loved about him. But they also saw something new and, to them, even more exciting. As young parents — carsey with two young children, werner with three — they thought Cosby's new material on parenthood was extremely funny and remarkably true to life. "What's missing on TV?" was a question they often asked themselves. And when it came to sitcoms in the early '80s, what was missing was the old Father Knows Best sense that parents were in charge. From Silver Spoons to webster, the family comedies of the day revolved around improbably precocious children manipulating hapless adults. Shortly after, carsey and Werner were invited to dinner at Cosby's home in Pacific Palisades.
"I think i'm ready to try another tv show cosby said. marcy carsey and Tom Werner were desperate. The two young programming executives had quit their jobs to form an independent production company. They were working in a one-room office above a shoe store and had taken out second mortgages on their homes to keep the company afloat. The two programmers had made their names at abc in the late '70s developing the comedies Taxi and soap. But now it was 1984, and the conventional wisdom in Hollywood was that sitcoms were dead. "Well, there's Bill Cosby suggested Larry auerbach, the head of the tv department at William Morris. "Norman says he may be ready to do another tv show. But he wants a lot of money." When auerbach told them how much, the producers swallowed hard.
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In 1980, cosby suggested that they develop a show together. They tried it out at Harrah's, then at caesars Palace, and found that they enjoyed each other's company and had onstage chemistry. But Sammy was struggling to hit notes and had stopped trying to dance. After an early show one day, cosby appeared in davis' dressing room. He pointed at his friend's distended belly.
"What the f— is wrong with you?" Cosby disadvantages said. Davis took a sip of the vodka and coke on his dresser and fingered his paunch. "Age, babe he said. "I'm not fighting. Grow old gracefully, they say." Cosby secured a two-week run on Broadway. Yet even after weeks of promotion, the show was a bust: every day that Cosby looked at the empty seats at the gershwin, he grew more upset — about his inability to deliver for Sammy, about his friend's sorry condition, but also about the thought. Cosby's agent Brokaw was used to getting middle-of-the-night calls, and he could tell that Cosby was in a particularly somber and reflective state the night he called from New York in the middle of the run with Sammy davis.
"you look at the enjoyment you may get from a given activity, and then you look at the amount of work that may have to go into it for example, sex with a young beautiful woman who has plenty of energy." In a picture that. "One of those things you want but are glad you can't have the caption read. Cosby didn't tell Ebony readers about another step that he had taken to prove that he was serious about cutting back on his womanizing. He told one longtime girlfriend that he wanted to put an end to their relationship, and then he invited the woman and her mother, who had always disapproved of her daughter being involved with a married man, out to dinner. "I'm very happy to be here the mother told Cosby, "because i always thought you had more sense than that!" by 1983, cosby had spent enough time on the road perfecting his family-man material that he was ready to record. He decided to make a concert film — a medium that ironically had been made popular by richard Pryor, a comic who had modeled himself after Cosby.
Halfway through the film, cosby segued into his new material on the trials of parenthood. "My wife and I have five children he announced, his eyes full of exasperation, "and the reason why we have five children is because we do not want six!" he described the constant squabbling between his kids and how they were always tattling on one. "Parents aren't interested in justice — they want quiet!" he exclaimed, as the parents in the audience roared in recognition. Executives at 20th Century fox thought it wasn't edgy enough and they slated it for a limited art house release. Bill Cosby: Himself lasted in theaters for only a matter of weeks before it was relegated to home box Office, the new cable movie channel. By the fall of 1983, he had found a new project in trying to help Sammy davis. Ever since they had met in the early '60s, cosby had had a soft spot for Sammy. In the '70s, cosby had watched Sammy's hard living take its toll. His manager had dumped him, and he was all but broke.
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After buying more than 200 acres surrounding his Massachusetts farm, he had purchased a brownstone in Manhattan and a home in Los Angeles' pacific Palisades. (He referred to it as "the house that Jell-O built. Clowning around with Canadian shredder Coca-cola president neville. Kirchmann in 1981 in Toronto. Click the image to see more photos of Cosby. But he also was coming to grips with the frustrations of being a middle-aged man and father. In a comic essay for Ebony, cosby even talked about how aging had affected his roving eye for women. "One of the most important things when you turn 40 is that you weigh things thusly he wrote.
He had little time for the kind of spoiled behavior that was all too common among child models and their stage parents, and more than once he had an offending brat thrown off the set. Cosby made no excuses for his impatience with the madison avenue culture. Deep down, he believed that he understood the products he was selling better than most of the executives who oversaw the accounts. Coca-cola recruited Cosby for a huge ad campaign called "have a coke and a smile." he and. Bob Hope were hired to record "tags" at the end of the new coke commercials. Hope delivered his as written, while cosby improvised and came up with something much better. "I saw you!" Cosby said, his face capturing playful conspiracy. When Black Enterprise magazine published a cover story on African-American pitchmen in 1981, writer Stephen gayle reported that the deals earned Cosby more than 3 million a year. As Anthony tortorici, coke's chief of public relations, management put it: "The three most believable personalities are god, walter Cronkite and Bill Cosby." Cosby began his 40s with the kind of financial security that had slipped through his fingers in his early 30s.
mothers through their children — and realized that Cosby could be just the celebrity to do that, given his popularity with young fans. Fat Albert and the cosby kids and, the Electric Company. In 1974, it began rolling out the first of what would become dozens of "Bill Cosby with Kids" campaigns, in which Cosby made children giggle with delight at the thought of Jell-O treats while announcers lectured their parents: "If you have kids, you have. As Cosby's renown as a pitchman grew, so did his reputation for clashing with the people who made advertising. As always, he preferred to ad lib rather than to recite ad copy word for word. Cosby was notoriously demanding about the kids in the jell-O commercials. He thought they should reflect an array of races and ethnicities, and he would protest if he didn't get the "rainbow" he wanted.
Newsweek editor, mark Whitaker (Sept. 16 from Simon schuster) written with the help of Cosby and his inner circle, is full of never-revealed details about Cosby's life — his rise on the comedy scene with multiple gold records, his groundbreaking roles on tv ( starting with, i spy in 1965. The hollywood Reporter 's exclusive excerpt picks up the tale in the early 1970s, with Cosby starting to bounce back from a low point after coming off of two unsuccessful tv shows (. The bill Cosby Show, the new Bill Cosby Show ) and nearly being bankrupted by a corrupt business manager. It tells how he plan rebuilt his fortune by turning himself into a jell-o and Coca-cola spokesman, found his way back onto network tv with a sitcom that borrowed generously from his own family life (especially Ennis' struggles with dyslexia) and how he ultimately remade himself. —, andy lewis, the product that Cosby had always dreamed of selling was Jell-O. Growing up, he had watched the greatest comedians of their eras become spokesmen for the brand: Jack benny in the '40s, lucille ball in the '50s, and, andy Griffith and. Jim Nabors in the '60s. "Those are acts I want to follow!" he told.
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An exclusive excerpt from a new biography details how Cosby went from near-bankruptcy to thesis beloved sitcom dad, efforts to end his womanizing, original ideas for Cliff Huxtable (a limo driver married to a latina handywoman) and how he learned of son Ennis' heartbreaking death. This story first appeared in the aug. 29 issue of The hollywood Reporter magazine. He was the most popular stand-up comedian of the 1960s. The most successful product pitchman of the 1970s Then you dip the spoon in the puddin'. The most iconic sitcom dad of the 1980s (and the first with an upper-middle-class African-American tv family). And soon he'll be returning to nbc with a new comedy, perhaps as early as next year. Bill Cosby has been entertaining the world for so long, it's easy to forget how many breakthroughs he has made over a 50-plus-year career — and how many personal tragedies he has endured. Cosby: His Life and Times, a new biography by former.