On September 24, Bill Cosby arrived in court for a sentencing hearing that will determine his punishment for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. In April 2018, a jury convicted the comedian of drugging and raping Constand at his Pennsylvania home. More than 60 other women have also accused Cosby of rape or sexual assault. However, criminal charges weren’t filed in those other cases because the statute of limitations had already expired in most instances.
Cosby’s conviction marked the final nail in the coffin of the comedian’s long career, which began with a starring role in the TV series I Spy in 1965. He was the first black actor to have a leading dramatic role on television. Later, he earned the nickname “America’s Dad” for his role as Cliff Huxtable on the popular sitcom The Cosby Show. The show aired from 1984 to 1992.
How much is Bill Cosby worth?
Bill Cosby was once worth as much as $400 million, according to Money. His long career in film and TV ensured him a sizable fortune. In 1985, he earned just over $1 million a year for The Cosby Show. His role as a spokesperson for brands like Jell-O and Coca-Cola brought in even more cash, as did standup performances.
In the mid-eighties, Cosby was the highest-paid entertainer in the world, according to Forbes, with earnings topping $80 million. Even after The Cosby Show ended its run, its star and creator continued to rake in the money. The show earned an estimated $1.5 billion in syndication in the decades since it went off the air.
Today, Cosby is likely worth much less than he was at his peak. After serious sexual assault allegations against him surfaced in 2014, TV networks quickly pulled reruns of The Cosby Show from their lineups, as did the streaming service Hulu. Netflix put a special on hold. A new sitcom that Cosby was set to star in and produce for NBC also went nowhere. Many shows on his 2015 stand-up tour were canceled, and ticket sales were low for those that did take place.
Cosby’s legal bills add up
As his career has dried up, Cosby has faced mounting legal fees, which is eating into his fortune. And evidence suggests he may be having trouble paying those costs. In September 2018, a former member of Cosby’s defense team sued him for more than $50,000 in unpaid fees. In 2017, Page Six reported that he was trying to borrow $30 million against his New York townhome to cover the costs associated with defending himself in the Constand case.
Settlements paid to various accusers may have also drained Cosby’s bank accounts. In 2006, he paid $3.4 million to Constand in a civil settlement. A former NBC employee has said that he helped arrange payments to eight women for Cosby in 1989 and 1990.
However, the comedian did win a case against his insurance company AIG, which he said should pay the fees associated with lawsuits brought by nine women who allege Cosby assaulted them at his home. A judge ruled the lawsuits were covered under Cosby’s homeowners and umbrella policies.
Though Cosby will soon be sentenced in the Constand case, his legal troubles aren’t over. Some have speculated that civil cases, appeals, and settlements will exhaust his fortune and leave the once-beloved star — or his estate — bankrupt.
So how is he doing in Prison ?
Bill Cosby is doing “extremely well” in prison, giving motivational speeches to his fellow inmates and working out consistently to get in shape behind bars, his spokesperson Andrew Wyatt said.
Wyatt confirmed reports Cosby is in high-demand at SCI Phoenix, the maximum security prison about 20 miles from Philadelphia where he began serving a three- to 10-year prison term in September.
Cosby was convicted in April 2018 of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004. He’s been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by dozens of other women.
“Mr. Cosby, roughly three months ago, had been requested by a number of inmates to come and speak at some of their support groups, and he debated about it and decided to take them up on their offer,” Wyatt said by phone Tuesday. “One group that he consistently speaks to is a group called ‘Man Up.’ These are guys that are going to be paroled in a few months, and he is talking to these guys because a lot of them have been in prison… and they are afraid of going back to (their) communities.
“They viewed him as their father figure. To them, he is America’s dad,” Wyatt added.
Wyatt said Cosby also meets with inmates one-on-one, often while he’s eating.
“He’s extremely popular,” Wyatt said. “Some of them come up to him and want to just talk and want to talk about various things like ‘The Cosby Show’ and (other celebrities).”
During his speaking engagements, Wyatt said Cosby speaks to crowds of up to 200 men. He said the disgraced comedian uses humor to convey messages like “be a good father” and “be a productive citizen.”
“Mr. Cosby is blind, so he can’t see the men he is speaking to, but the men who assist him on the inside, they let him know, and they give him a count of how many people are in the room,” Wyatt said.
With the rest of his free time, Cosby is focusing on getting fit.
“He looks amazing,” Wyatt said, noting the 81-year-old does 300 leg lifts and crunches. “He’s down to 187 pounds.”
Wyatt said Cosby told him: “When I get out I’m going to wear all my suits.”
Regarding his controversial Father’s Day tweet, in which the comedian called himself America’s dad, Wyatt said Cosby stands behind his message.
“He feels that it was received very well and the media just focused on the negative comments. As he always states, it’s called journalistic malpractice and bullying. The media isn’t going to focus on anything positive that people say about him on social media.”