And Bill Cosby thought Ozzy Osbourne was weird...
The beloved comedian, who last month called out the media for lavishing attention on the bat-biting Osbourne and his batty family, is raising eyebrows himself for a series of incidents involving a longtime family friend, a "lama" and a "ritual of fire."
Gladys Rodgers, who lived with the Cosby clan at their Philadelphia estate since 1983, says she was evicted from the home on Saturday because the Cos and his mysterious English-born spiritual adviser accused of her being a witch.
By way of evidence, the adviser, David Kirby, "said he'd found short pieces of hair, feathers, sparkles and traces of blood," Rodgers says in the Philadelphia Daily News.
According to Rodgers, Kirby accused the 62-year-old woman of using the hair, feathers, "sparkles" (bits of crystallized minerals) and whatnot in a witchy bid to take control of the house--and Cosby.
Rodgers, who refers to Kirby as a "lama," says for the record that she is not a witch. She is a Methodist.
Kirby's accusations came during a "ritual of fire" ceremony held early last month at the Cosby house, Rodgers tells the newspaper. Cosby himself reputedly attended, as did his cook. According to Rodgers, the event was quite a show, with Kirby wearing a "gorgeous purple-and-white striped [robe] with an amulet around his neck" and tossing around seeds, beads and dice.
"I sat there, literally frozen, looking at Bill the whole time," Rodgers tells the Daily News. "I couldn't believe what was happening. I thought I was going crazy."
No comment on the report from either Cosby or Kirby.
Last Thursday, Rodgers, whose relationship with the Cosbys dates back to the 1960s, was served with an eviction notice. She says she was never a paid employee of the family--just a trusted friend who oversaw their estate and had been promised a home with the family forever.
But forever isn't what it used to be. The Daily Newsalso quotes one of Cosby's uncles, who says he lost contact with his famed nephew after the comic's only son Ennis was killed during a would-be robbery alongside a Los Angeles freeway in 1997.
"I don't know whether the Ennis thing has turned him around--I don't know what's happened to him," Thornhill Cosby says in the paper.
Rodgers says Kirby came into Cosby's life after Ennis' murder. According to the woman, Kirby described himself as a spiritually enlightened, ex-cave-dwelling monk.
If ever there was a year when the services of a spiritually enlightened, ex-cave-dwelling monk were required, it was 1997. The Ennis Cosby murder dovetailed with the Autumn Jackson extortion case--Jackson being the young woman who blew the whistle on Cosby's 1970s affair with her mother and threatened to tell the tabs that she was his love child if he didn't cough up $40 million. (Jackson was sentenced to 26 months in prison; Cosby denied paternity.)
More tough breaks followed for the Jell-O pudding pusher. His CBS sitcom, Cosby, staggered to a close in 2000, never achieving the reach or acclaim of his Must-See classic, The Cosby Show (1984-92). And his planned live-action Fat Albert flick fell apart this spring when actor-director Forest Whitaker quit as helmer after reputedly warring with Cosby. (Technically, Fat Albertis "on hiatus.")
Lest you think Cosby's life is sad, the legendary entertainer, who turns 65 on July 12, has gone on the record as charging that it's the Osbournes, of MTV's The Osbournes, who are sad.
"This is a sad, sad family. It is a sad case," Cosby told Access Hollywoodon June 20. "The children are sad and the parents are sad."
Of the "sad" family's MTV show, Cosby declared: "This is not entertainment."
Now, maybe if that show had a "lama"...