1 9 6 9 – 1 9 7 1 (USA)
This gentle comedy from NBC was set in the working-class (and fictional) Richard Allen Holmes High School in Los Angeles.
Bill Cosby starred as Phys Ed teacher and coach, Chet Kinkaid. Other characters included his mother, Rose (Lillian Randolph and then Beah Richards), his brother, Brian (Lee Weaver) and his sister-in-law, Verna (Olga James).
Sid McCoy played the principal of his school, Mr Langford, and Joyce Bulifant played a fellow educator, guidance counsellor Marsha Peterson.
Backed by triple Emmy wins for his work on I Spy, Cosby executive-produced The Bill Cosby Show himself, independently.
He engaged with the realities of the immediate post-Civil Rights era and apparently annoyed the network enough to trigger a premature cancellation.
When The Bill Cosby Show ended Cosby starred in a new comedy and variety show called (naturally enough) The New Bill Cosby Show.
Two regular weekly sketches appeared on that show – The Wife Of The Week and The Dude, with Cosby playing a character so cool nothing ever seemed to bother him.
Cosby went on to stellar fame and success in the 1980s with the audience-friendly family sitcom The Cosby Show.
Cosby fell from grace in the mid-2010s when more than 60 women accused him of rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct, dating back decades.
He denied the accusations – for which the statute of limitations had expired in nearly all cases – but was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April 2018, and sentenced to three to ten years in prison on 25 September 2018.
Lillian Randolph (1)
Beah Richards (2)