Though today he has ascended to the level of internet meme, Bill Cosby has been on television for decades. He was the first black man to have a starring role in American TV on the 1960 show I Spy. Following that, he had his own show, The Bill Cosby Show. Later, he had a variety show called The New Bill Cosby Show, and of course Fat Albert in the 70’s. He starred in The Cosby Show in the 1980’s, which was a hit show especially due to its humor avoiding sex, swearing, or any vulgarity.
Cosby had a son named Ennis who was a 27 year old doctoral student at Columbia University when, in 1997, he was shot to death while changing the tire on his Mercedes. The killer was Mikhail Markhasev, who is today serving a life sentence thanks to Cosby speaking against awarding him the death penalty. Cosby's fight against the death penalty was plainly due to his opposition to its existence.
Markhasev had shot Ennis on a random robbery, because, as prosecutors argued, “[Ennis] was moving too slowly.” In 2001, Markhasev admitted guilt and decided to cease appealing his sentence.