The Cosby Show’s Earle Hyman Dies At 91

by Jessica Lane

November 19, 2017

Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Image

Earle Hyman, 91, died Friday at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ. Classically trained and a Broadway veteran, Hyman’s career lasted more than 60 years. But those unfamiliar with the theater circuit will remember him as Dr. Cliff Huxtable’s lovable dad, Russell, on the ground-breaking sitcom The Cosby Show. This role scored him an Emmy nomination in 1986.

PASADENA, CA – SEPTEMBER 21: Actor Earle Hyman attends the 38th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 21, 1986 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Hyman was born to an African-American father and a Native American mother in Rocky Mount, NC. His family eventually moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he fell in love with theater. He’s performed in numerous classical works, including Othello and Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder. He went on to earn a Tony nomination in the 1980 Broadway production of Edward Albee’s The Lady From Dubuque. 

THE COSBY SHOW — Pictured: (l-r) Phylicia Rashad as Clair Hanks Huxtable, Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable, Earle Hyman as Russell Huxtable, Clarice Taylor as Anna Huxtable (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

In 2009, he completed his final New York stage performance as Ferapont in Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, presented by the Classical Theatre of Harlem. 

Sending our thoughts and prayers to his family!

Remembering His Legacy: Watch The Cosby Show Tuesday and Wednesday at 6/5pc on TVOne and relive Earle Hyman’s magical moments!

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