Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

More than Military

Comedian, Actor, Television Producer

Before he was Bill Cosby, one of the most recognized and successful entertainers of our time who created a groundbreaking TV sitcom which helped open new roles for African American TV actors, Bill Cosby was influenced by another important Bill: the GI Bill.

Young Bill Cosby enlisted in the Navy in 1956. He trained as a hospital corpsman and served aboard ships and at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, before being sent to Bethesda Naval Hospital, assigned to work with Korean War casualties. In 1960, Cosby was honorably discharged after four years of military service.

Using his GI Bill benefits, Cosby attended Temple University. He later received an M.A and Ed.D.(Education) at the University of Massachusetts. Attesting to his high regard for the education he received thanks to the GI Bill, in his later years, Cosby contributed generously to educational institutions, including Atlanta's Spelman College.

A veteran stand-up performer, Cosby got his start working clubs and making comedy albums, then moved into television with a role in the 1960s action show I Spy. In the 1970s he introduced The Bill Cosby Show, and also created a cartoon series, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, about a group of young friends growing up in the city. Cosby's career also included film acting.

It was in the 1980s that Cosby produced and starred in a groundbreaking new TV show, The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992. The show featured an upper-class African-American family, breaking through limiting racial stereotypes previously portrayed by African-American actors in TV roles.

Today Bill Cosby is still one of the United States' most popular entertainers, known for his wit and warmth both onstage and off. Some may have argued that The Cosby Show made light of racial inequity, but Cosby's ability to see the lighter side of life has contributed to the lives of millions of people who have laughed along with him.thanks, Bill, and thanks to his start on the GI Bill.

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