Bill Cosby was jailed for between three and 10 years and branded a "sexually violent predator" for assaulting a woman at his mansion in Philadelphia 14 years ago.
Cosby, 81, once beloved as "America’s Dad" for his role as Dr Cliff Huxtable in the 1980s sitcom "The Cosby Show," became the first celebrity convicted and sentenced for a sex crime since the dawn of the #MeToo movement.
The comedian’s lawyers planned to appeal against his conviction but the judge said he was not entitled to bail while they do. Cosby, wearing a white shirt and braces, was later led out of court in handcuffs by police.
Judge Steven O’Neill, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, sentenced Cosby to "three to 10 years", meaning he will serve three years before he can apply for parole.
The judge said: "This was a serious crime. It is time for justice Mr Cosby. This has all circled back to you, the time has come.
"No one is above the law, and no one should be treated differently or disproportionately."
Camille Cosby, the entertainer’s wife of 54 years, was not in court.
As the sentence was read Cosby had sat back in his chair, his head on the headrest, showing no reaction.
He was convicted five months ago of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, a former university basketball coach at Temple University in Philadelphia.
In a written statement given to the court ahead of sentencing she said the attack had turned her into a woman who was "stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward".
She said: "Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it."
Ms Constand said her training as a professional basketball player had led her to think she could handle anything, but "life as I knew it" ended the night that Cosby drugged her with pills and assaulted her.
She added: "After the assault, I wasn’t sure what had actually happened but the pain spoke volumes.
"The shame was overwhelming. Self-doubt and confusion kept me from turning to my family or friends as I normally did. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself."
The judge said her statement had been "powerful" and contributed to his decision to send Cosby to jail.
More than 60 women had come forward to accuse Cosby of a slew of attacks dating back to the 1960s.
Many were unable to pursue their own cases due to the amount of time that had passed, but were in court to support Ms Constand.
A first trial in her case ended in a mistrial but at the second trial in April, Cosby was convicted of three counts of aggravated sexual assault, which he had denied.
Lawyers for Cosby had argued he should be sentenced to home arrest.
They said he was legally blind and used a cane, which meant he did not pose a threat to society.
A defence psychologist told the court the chances of him committing another sex offence were "extraordinarily low".
But Kirsten Dudley, a Pennsylvania state psychologist giving evidence for the prosecution, said Cosby should be officially classified as a “sexually violent predator".
The judge agreed, which means Cosby will undergo monthly counselling, and have to register as a sex offender with police for the rest of his life.
Neighbours and nearby schools will be notified of his address and crimes.
The prosecution psychologist told the court Cosby had an uncontrollable urge to violate young women, and posed a continued threat.
She said his behaviour followed a pattern of befriending women, then abusing their trust by drugging them for the “sole purpose of his sexual gratification”.
Before his sentencing Cosby declined an opportunity to address the court.
Outside court a publicist for Cosby said: "Mr Cosby knows that God is watching over him. They prosecuted Jesus and looked what happened."
A spokeswoman for Camille Cosby indicated she stood by her husband, calling him the victim of an "egregious injustice".
She claimed the prosecution had "falsified evidence" and "doctored" a recording.