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Earle Hyman, the actor best known for playing Russell Huxtable, Bill Cosby’s wise father on “The Cosby Show,” died Friday. He was 91.
Hyman died at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J., his nephew, Rick Ferguson, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Hyman played Othello on stage, was a regular on Broadway and received a Tony nomination for his performance as Oscar in the 1980 play “The Lady From Dubuque.” He also played the voice of Pantro on the animated series “ThunderCats, according to the Reporter.
From 1984 to 1992, Hyman played the father of obstetrician Cliff Huxtable and offered sage advice to his five grandchildren.
Hyman received an Emmy nomination in 1986 for outstanding guest performance in a comedy series on “The Cosby Show” episode “Happy Anniversary.”
"That's the one episode that was the most loved, most seen. People just loved it. It just shot off the charts,” Hyman said in 2009 on the podcast “Just My Show.” “We just had a ball, and the atmosphere just went over into a kind of reality. We were no longer Clarice and Earle, we were really Anna and Russell Huxtable.”
Born on Oct. 11, 1926, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Hyman was the son of schoolteachers with Native American and African roots. He was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and began his film career with an uncredited appearance in the Oscar best picture winner “The Lost Weekend” (1945), according to the Reporter.