The Paul Robeson Award
Paul Robeson Award Goes to Bill Cosby
Business Rep Willie Boston, committee members Mary Louise, Joan Valentina,
EEO Co-Chair Julia Breanetta Simpton, Engel Conrow and Jean Lee
The 2006 Paul Robeson Award has gone to Dr. William "Bill" Cosby, Jr. It was presented at the Eastern Regional membership meeting on October 6 by Julia Breanetta Simpson, co-chair, with Christine Toy Johnson, of the Eastern Regions' Equal Employment Opportunity Committee.
Ms. Simpson called Mr. Cosby "one of the most popular and admired entertainers in the world" and she enumerated some of his achievements as a stand-up comedian; an actor in film, television and recordings; as a television producer, author, lecturer and activist. Among Mr. Cosby's live theatrical credits, she noted appropriately, was a 1988 appearance on Broadway in A CELEBRATION OF PAUL ROBESON.
Other career highlights she cited included the 1960s TV series, I Spy, which broke racial barriers and featured Mr. Cosby as the first black star of a dramatic series; the educational cartoon series, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, as well as the Bill Cosby Show. In the 1980s and early '90s, Bill Cosby produced and starred in The Cosby Show, which was unprecedented in its non-stereotypical portrayal of an intelligent, affluent African-American family. The late Coretta Scott King described this show as "The most positive portrayal of a black family life ever broadcast."
Bill and Camille Cosby, his wife, are involved with many philanthropic endeavors for various social and educational causes. Chief among them are the millions given to endow a number of historically black colleges and universities, which in turn will enrich the lives of countless young people seeking an education. And they have also given millions more in support of artists around the world. "They both challenge us all to be better citizens," Ms. Simpson said.
Equity's Paul Robeson Citation Award Committee selected Mr. Cosby as the recipient "because he exemplifies, and advocates for, the precepts on which this award are based: concern for and service to fellow humans, respect for the dignity of the individual, freedom of expression, and universal brotherhood and the artist's responsibility to the profession and to the greater society."
Arizona Theatre Service
On June 1, 1971, the Council of Actors' Equity Association established what is now known as the Paul Robeson Committee, and designated Frederick O'Neal as Chair. The Committee resolved to present annual citations to the individual or organization that, during the preceding year or years, best exemplified and practiced the principles and ideals of this great humanitarian, Paul Robeson. For a complete list of recipients click here.
Paul Robeson as Othello