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Bill Cosby Awarded "Mark Twain" Prize

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The Kennedy Center awarded entertainer Bill Cosby, 72, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Monday night.

Previous winners of the award include George Carlin, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg. The Kennedy Center first gave the prize to comedian Richard Pryor in 1998.

This year's award ceremony included performances by Len Chandler, James DePreist, Dick Gregory, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Rita Moreno, Willie Nelson, Phylicia Rashad, Carl Reiner, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Sinbad and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.

Dr. William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr. is a comedian, actor, author and television producer. Cosby began his career performing stand-up comedy. In 1965, he became the first African-American actor cast in a leading TV series role in I Spy. Cosby went on to star in his own series, The Bill Cosby Show, in 1969. The Cosby Show aired from 1984 to 1992. He also produced the hit TV show A Different World.

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor celebrates the world's greatest humorists. It is named for Samuel Clemens, the 19th-century novelist, essayist and satirist also known as Mark Twain.

Viewers can watch Cosby receiving the Mark Twain award on PBS stations November 4.