Earle Hyman, actor of screen and stage best known as Grandpa Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” died Thursday at age 91.
For 40 episodes spanning the famed sitcom’s eight-season run, Hyman appeared in a recurring role as Cliff Huxtable’s father, Russell, who would often butt heads with his son in comedic fashion while serving as a voice of wisdom to his grandchildren. Once a famous jazz trombonist named “Slide” Huxtable, Russell and his wife, Anna (Clarice Taylor), were the centerpiece of two of the show’s most famous episodes in Seasons 2 and 3, when the Huxtables put together lip-synch and dance routines for them to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Hyman’s work on the episode earned him an Emmy nomination.
Outside of the Cosby Show, Hyman was known by ’80s kids for his work on the popular animated show “Thundercats,” playing the gruff, muscle-bound warrior Panthro. He also has a highly-decorated career in theater that began on Broadway in 1944 with the play “Anna Lucasta,” and is highlighted by his thousands of performances as the titular lead of Shakespeare’s “Othello.” His stage credits also include Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” and in an all-black production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.”
Hyman’s death was first reported by Broadway Black.