Confession: I’ve seen about four episodes of “The Cosby Show” in their entirety, and that might be a stretch.
But while the lives of a close-knit, upper-middle-class family didn’t much appeal to me, I get that it was an important show and “an encouraging sign of maturity in matters of race,” as Time magazine once blurbed. It was a cultural touchstone, and Cosby was warm and gentle and groundbreaking as prime-time TV’s Everydad, who just happened to be black.
But Cosby has been so many other characters that continue to resonate in my head with enduring affection.
He was the dashing Alexander Scott on “I Spy,” the sidekick who turned Robert Culp’s main...