Billy Cosby may come off all cuddly in his patterned sweaters, but he really isn’t, according to Fred Weintraub, the entrepreneur/producer whose new memoir is Bruce Lee, Woodstock, and Me.
In the early days, Weintraub helped nurture Cosby’s everyman persona, but Cosby resisted at first.
“Not because he believed so strongly in his edgy, civl rights-minded material, I think,” writes Weintraub, “but because someone else came up with a better angle for him.
“The truth is, I have never known a more driven, ambitious performer than Cosby, and when he realized that political comedy wasn’t going to get him ahead, he had no problem whatsoever abandoning his ‘ideals.'”
The trick, says Weintraub, was to make Cosby feel like Weintraub’s ideas were actally Cosby’s ideas — “possession being nine-tenths of the law.”
A telling incident happened when Danny Kaye was coming to see talent Weintraub had lined up to perform at his club, the Bitter End.
Kaye insisted that Weintraub drop Cosby from the list because he’s wasn’t interested in seeing a comic. Weintraub put up a fight, but had to eventually do as Kaye said.
This is when cuddly Bill exhibited “heartlessness and immensity of ego.”
“Bill was not interested in the big picture,” says Weintraub.
“Bill was not gracious or philosophical.
“Bill didn’t give a shit about his fellow performers.
“He was the one being slighted, and the rest could go fuck themselves for all he cared.”
Cosby went on to huge stardom, of course, but he didn’t contact Weintraub except for once, 30 years later.
Reveals the producer, “He reamed me out for revealing in an interview that, even when married, ‘Bill Cosby liked to date white women.’
“So did I!”