This week marked the end of an era. Celebrated director Mike Nichols, who is one of the few stars to boast an EGOT (winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards), passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 19, and Bill Cosby, one of the most beloved television personalities and comedians, finds his legacy tarnished, perhaps forever, after years of widespread allegations of sexual abuse have resurfaced.
Actor Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in Frozen and played Steve Wozniak in Jobs, reflected on the legacies of the two men in an emotional new column for USA Today.
Titling the piece "A legacy cemented, a legacy tarnished," Gad, 33, compared the reputation that Nichols leaves behind with that of Cosby's disgraced honor.
Nichols died of a sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 83 after a storied entertainment career, which included films such as Working Girl, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and the Oscar-winning The Graduate, and Broadway work like his 2012 Death of a Salesman revival, The Odd Couple in the 1960s, and 1984's The Real Thing. He was married to Diane Sawyer for 26 years and his death sparked an outpouring of tributes, which remembered Nichols as a brilliant and kind man.
In contrast, Cosby has found stars and collaborators distancing themselves from him in recent weeks. As more and more women continue to come forward with their own stories, the Emmy winner, 77, has lost his upcoming projects with Netflix and NBC, and TV Land has pulled rerun episodes of the eponymous sitcom that cemented his worldwide fame in the '80s.
"Two legacies that have been all but assured of their place in history are now on completely different trajectories," Gad writes. "On the one hand, you have a man, who by all accounts, was generous, loving and beyond respectful. On the other you have a man who is not only being accused of raping multiple women, but doing it in a manner that is so dark and premeditated as to suggest a behavior usually reserved for serial sociopaths."
"One is being remembered today by dignitaries and titans, while the other is being called out by alleged victims and a ravenous media," he continued. "As the lights dim on Broadway for the great Nichols, the alarm bells will seemingly only grow louder for Cosby."
The same week that representatives for Broadway announced that the famed theaters will dim their lights on Friday, Nov. 21, in honor of Nichols, Cosby refused to comment on the ever-growing scandal of his dark past.
"Of this I am certain — today we have lost two titans, one involuntary and one who's presumable choices have cost him everything," Gad notes. "None of us can be judge, jury and executioner, but as the accusations continue to fly and each one sounds resoundingly familiar, it is safe to say that Mr. Cosby's legacy is in as much jeopardy as Mr. Nichols' is all but assured."
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