An A-list Cast of Entertainers Salutes a TV Icon in a Star-Studded Ceremony at The Kennedy Center
HARTFORD, Conn. (November 2, 2009) – Bill Cosby was the head of one of America’s favorite sitcom families, and he blazed a career path that entertainers are still following to this day. His extraordinary achievements are chronicled in an all-star tribute entitled Bill Cosby: The Mark Twain Prize 2009, airing on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) on Wednesday, November 4 at 8 p.m., with an encore presentation airing at 9:30 p.m.
Bill Cosby: The Mark Twain Prize 2009features tributes and comic testimonials from an all-star cast of Cosby’s friends and colleagues. Taped at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in October of 2009, this show highlights the multi-talented star’s incredible life as a comedian, actor, author, television producer and activist. Comedians Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld take the stage together to salute the man that inspired them, and Phylicia Rashad and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who played Cosby’s wife and son, respectively, on the hit series The Cosby Show, share funny and heartwarming moments from their time working with him. Other guests include Wynton Marsalis, Danny Glover, Rita Moreno, Carl Reiner and Dick Gregory.
Cosby got his start performing stand-up in comedy clubs before being cast in the landmark show I Spy, making him the first African-American to have a lead role in an American drama series. He also pursued college degrees in education at the University of Massachusetts, where he earned both a master’s degree and doctorate.
Cosby’s greatest success, however, was The Cosby Show, a landmark sitcom that became a critical and ratings smash hit with its unique mix of comedy and serious issues. Running from 1982 to 1992, it is one of only three shows on American TV to hold the #1 spot in Nielsen ratings for five consecutive seasons. Based on Cosby’s stand-up routines and guided by his hand, the show paved the way both for other African-American shows such as In Living Color, and shows helmed by comedians, such as Roseanne and Seinfeld. In addition, Cosby created and produced two animated series, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and Little Bill, in hopes of furthering his goal of educating children.
The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was created to recognize the impact of humorists on society. Inspired by Mark Twain—a man who influenced many with his satire and social commentary—the prize is a showcase for those who have contributed positively to America with their humor. Cosby is the 12th winner of the award, joining the ranks of entertainers such as Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin and George Carlin.
CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN, www.cpbn.org). It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women's Basketball, original documentaries, and educational programming. CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing an historic role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™, and Thomas & Friends™ to public television. The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programs each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily. For more information, visit www.cptv.org.