The 2009 Prize Recipient of the 12th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor will be Bill Cosby, presented with the distinction at the Kennedy Center on October 26.
The event features a lineup of comics and entertainers to salute the honoree, including Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Sinbad, Dick Gregory, and Carl Reiner. Musicians Wynton Marsalis, Rita Moreno, and Willie Nelson will perform.
Actors Phylicia Rashad and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who co-starred with Cosby on his hugely successful The Cosby Show, which aired from 1984 to 1992, will also pay tribute.
Dr. William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr. is an American comedian, actor, author, television producer, and activist. After starting his comedy career in clubs and landing a role in the amusing television series, I Spy, he created the animated youth series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.
His other contributions include producing sitcoms and television shows, and acting in several movies. Nine of his comedy albums were certified Gold and six were certified Platinum. His best-selling books include Fatherhood and Time Flies. In 2002, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.
The Mark Twain Prize is named after the American author, social commentator, and satirist. Richard Pryor won the inaugural award, and George Carlin, Billy Crystal, Neil Simon, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, and Whoopi Goldberg previously won awards.
The program is taped for television broadcast to air on PBS stations November 4.