A gifted athlete like his father Bill Cosby, Ennis Cosby had just started to overcome childhood struggles when his life bizarrely ended at 27 years of age.
While Bill Cosby made a name for himself as the funny father, Cliff Huxtable, in "The Cosby Show" during the mid-1980s, Ennis was attending a boarding school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, The George School, at the time.
The boy excelled at sport and participated in track and field and lacrosse in spring, basketball in the winter, and football in the fall. He enjoyed playing sports, and his teammates often joked that his proud dad Bill thought himself to be the coach as he'd give everyone pointers.
Ennis Cosby in His Graduation Toga circa 1992 | Source: Wikimedia Commons
ENNIS' TIME IN SCHOOL
One of five siblings, Ennis struggled with his schoolwork, and co-workers on set often heard Bill encouraging Ennis over the phone. While he would enjoy sports, he wasn't exactly enthusiastic about studying.
After Ennis graduated high school, he followed his father’s suggestion and applied to Morehouse. However, the academic demands had his freshman year end with a 2.3-grade point average.
ENNIS HAD DYSLEXIA
During his sophomore year, a friend asked Ennis whether he had been tested for dyslexia. When Ennis mentioned it to his parents, they thought it was a good idea for him to get tested.
After a battery of tests, the diagnosis of dyslexia was confirmed, and he attended classes that summer designed to help those with that learning disability.
His grades began to improve, and by his junior year, Ennis became a student teacher in one of Atlanta’s most impoverished neighborhoods at an elementary school three days a week. Ennis excelled and got told by the teacher that the children performed better with him around.
BILL FINDING OUT ABOUT ENNIS
By the time Ennis graduated in 1992, his life had completely turned around. He made the Dean’s List and got accepted into Columbia University’s Teachers College, his dream school.
Unfortunately, everything changed on January 16, 1997. While his father Bill was on set, producer Joanne Curley Kerner asked to speak to him privately in his dressing room.
It was there that Kerner announced that there had been an incident in Los Angeles that involved his son. Not knowing how else to break the news, she straight up said that the incident might have caused his death.
DETAILS ON HIS PASSING
While he was ready to leave, he was asked to stay on set as requested by the police. As soon as the chief spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, Commander Tim McBride arrived, he briefed Bill on the information they gathered.
A middle-aged woman flagged down a patrol car around 1:30 AM, close to the Mulholland Drive exit of the 405 Freeway. She then led the officers to a nearby access road where she told them a friend got shot.
THE SUDDEN INCIDENT
On Skirball Centre Drive, police found Ennis’ body lying next to his green Mercedes convertible. The unexpected attack left Ennis’ friend badly shaken, and she couldn’t remember the shooter clearly.
Ennis struggled to change a flat tire in the dark and called her for help. While she sat in her Jaguar with the headlights on, a man tapped on her window and flashed a gun. Terrified, she drove off but returned shortly after and found Ennis shot while the suspect ran away on foot.
MOTIVE FOR THE KILLING
According to the police spokesman, nothing was taken during the attack. With Ennis’ Rolex still on his wrist and a few $20 notes in his pocket, the only other thing Ennis had on him was in his hand; a pack of American Spirit cigarettes.
At the time, however, his mother Camille didn't beat around the bush in a 1998 op-ed piece, saying:
"I believe America taught our son's killer to hate African Americans."
ENNIS' KILLER CONFESSES
The killer was identified as Mikail Markhasev, and he allegedly proudly used a racial slur when bragging to his friends that he killed somebody. Previously, the suspect had attacked another black person by stabbing him at a gas station. He was sent to a juvenile center for it.
By 2001, the man convicted of his killing confessed to the murder and withdrew his appeals. He reportedly did so to do the right thing for his family and seek forgiveness from the Cosby family as well.
BILL'S OTHER CHILDREN
At the time, his siblings, Erinn, Erika, Evin, and Ensa survived Ennis. Sadly, Bill and Camille lost another child in later years. Ensa passed away in February 2018 aged 44, from renal disease.
Before her death, Bill proudly posted a tweet dedicated to his five children, expressing his love for all of them. Just a couple of months after the tweet, she passed away.
Bill Cosby has had quite an eventful past, having been plagued with issues and controversies throughout his career. Aside from the tragic loss of his son, he was mired with legal troubles.
He was recently released from jail after the court overturned his sexual assault conviction. This surprising move came after they recently denied his request for parole due to negative reports from the Department of Corrections.