Beloved comedian, actor, author, and Ph.D. Bill Cosby is returning to the Durham Performing Arts Center for two shows at 5 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21st. Cosby last appeared in DPAC‘s 2,700-seat state-of-the-art theater in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, NC, on March 29, 2009.
The 74-year-old entertainer started out as a stand-up comedian, with a bestselling series of comedy records. He later starred in “I Spy” (1965-68) and “The Cosby Show” (1984-92). Cosby earned his Ph.D. in education in 1976 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
“It’s hard to believe it has been over two years since Bill Cosby sold out two shows as part of DPAC‘s first season,” says DPAC general manager Bob Klaus. “Since then, I have met so many people who are big fans of both Cosby and DPAC, but did not know we even had him here in 2009. These new shows should be a big hit, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure no Triangle fans of this legend miss this next appearance.”
Also according to the Durham Performing Arts Center website:
“… Bill Cosby has captivated generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and bestselling books such as Fatherhood . His comedy transcends age, gender, and cultural barriers.
“Cosby broke television’s racial barrier with ‘I Spy,’ becoming the first African American to costar on a television series while winning three consecutive Emmys [in 1966, 1967, and 1968]. He created and produced the Emmy-winning cartoon ‘Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids’ [1972-84], which began airing in the 1970s and was made into a film in 2004. The show, based on Cosby’s childhood in Philadelphia, was designed to educate and entertain.
“The former Navy serviceman’s illustrious list of accomplishments includes roles on the children’s educational show ‘Electric Company’ and creating and producing the Emmy Award-winning ‘Little Bill’ [1999-2004], which is based on his bestselling book series.
“Perhaps, Cosby’s greatest contribution to American entertainment and culture is ‘The Cosby Show,’ about a close-knit, upper-class black family. Cosby said his intent was to portray an American family. Time magazine called the show ‘an encouraging sign of maturity in matters of race.’
“‘The Cosby Show’ dominated the #1 spot for years, earning nearly unanimous critical praise. Life magazine described the program as ‘a gentle, whimsical, warmhearted’ show whose ‘delicious ordinariness of its pleasures and tribulations has given millions a fresh, laughter-splashed perspective on their own domestic lives.’
“Bill Cosby’s next book, I Didn’t Ask to Be Born (But I’m Glad I Was) [was] released by the Hachette Book Group in November . Cosby talks about the Bible, being a grandfather, and his first love in his humorous and insightful manner.
“Cosby has received the [Kennedy Center Honors’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998], the  Presidential Medal of Freedom (America’s highest civilian honor), the  Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and the  Marian Anderson Award.
“Cosby’s been busy raising a family, too. He married the former Camille Hanks on Jan. 25, 1964, while she was still a student at the University of Maryland. They raised four daughters (Erika, Erinn, Ensa, and Evin) and one son (Ennis) and now have three grandchildren. The family resides in New England. For more information please go to http://www.billcosby.com/.”
Bill Cosby’s Emmy Awards include Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Dramatic Series) for “I Spy” (1966, 1967, and 1968, Outstanding Variety or Musical Program (1969) for “The Bill Cosby Special”; the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award (2003); the Outstanding Children’s Animated Program Award for “Little Bill” (2004); the Male Performer in a New TV Program Award (1985); the All-Around TV Star Award (1988); and the All-Time Favorite Performer Award (1999).
His Grammy Awards include Best Comedy Performance (1964, 1965, and 1966); Best Comedy Recording (1967, 1968, and 1969); and Best Recording for Children (1971 and 1972).
SECOND OPINION: Jan. 20th Raleigh, NC News & Observer preview by Katti Gray: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/20/1788049/bill-cosby-comes-clean.html.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents BILL COSBY at 5 and 8 p.m. Jan. 21 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.
TICKETS: $52.25-$83.75 (including fees).
DPAC Box Office: 919/680-ARTS (2787) or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/702564/.
Bill Cosby: http://www.billcosby.com/ (official website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Cosby (Wikipedia), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=36396 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001070/ (Internet Movie Database).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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