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Wednesday, November 4 at 8 p.m. – Bill Cosby: The Mark Twain Prize

(Rochester, NY) Bill Cosby: The Mark Twain Prize salutes comedian Bill Cosby, the 12th recipient of the annual prize for American humor. The program airs Wednesday, November 4 at 8 p.m., with an immediate encore at 9:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable1011/cable11). Taped at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, on October 26, the special features tributes and comic testimonials from a star-studded cast of Cosby’s friends and colleagues, including leading American entertainers Len Chandler, James De Priest, Danny Glover, Dick Gregory, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Rita Moreno, Willie Nelson, Phylicia Rashad, Carl Reiner, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Sinbad and Malcom Jamal-Warner. The program, which recognizes the life and achievements of the beloved comedian, includes an assortment of classic film clips from Cosby’s career.

Dr. William Henry “Bill” Cosby Jr. is an American comedian, actor, author, television producer and activist. He began his career performing in various comedy clubs before landing a role in the 1960s action show “I Spy.” This was followed by his own series, “The Bill Cosby Show,” in 1969. He created the animated educational series “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” about a group of young friends growing up in the city, based on the famous routines. Cosby produced and starred in “The Cosby Show,” which is widely considered one of the landmark sitcoms of all time, airing from 1984 to 1992. “The Huxtable Effect” describes the notion that the show helped pave the way for the first black president. He produced the hit sitcom “A Different World,” which is credited with encouraging young people to obtain a college education. Cosby produced “Little Bill,” a Nick, Jr. Emmy® award winning animated series that now airs on Noggin. Throughout his career, he has released a number of popular comedy albums. Nine of them have been certified gold and six have been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In addition to performing, Cosby is the author of many best-selling books, including Fatherhood and Come On People, The Path From Victims to Victors, co-authored by Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D. In 1972, Cosby earned a Masters Degree in Education, followed by a Doctorate in Education in 1978, from the University of Massachusetts. His contributions to American culture were recognized with the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, in July 2002.

Bill Cosby is the 12th recipient of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Past recipients of the prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007) and George Carlin (2008).

Pictured: Entertainer Bill Cosby (pictured), this year’s recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, is honored and roasted by his peers.

Credit: Erinn Chalene Cosby

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