Bill Cosby to receive Mark Twain humor prize

April 1, 2009 8:07:23 AM PDT
Bill Cosby is the winner of the 12th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor for his groundbreaking comedy and acting career.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Wednesday that the 71-year-old will be honored as one of the world's greatest humorists. Some of the biggest names in comedy will salute Cosby when he receives the award on stage on Oct. 26.

In a statement, Cosby says his mother read Twain's famous stories to him as a child. Cosby says he wants to apologize to Twain for falling asleep hundreds of times. Still, he says Twain's stories inspired his work.

Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen Schwarzman says the star of "The Cosby Show" during the 1980s is one of America's most beloved comedians.

Past honorees include George Carlin, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg.

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