Earle Hyman
360px-Earle Hyman
Veteran stage/film actor Earle Hyman appeared on "The Cosby Show" as Russell Huxtable, Cliff's dad, in 40 episodes.
Vital Information
Gender: Male
Born: (1926-10-11) October 11, 1926 (age 92)
Place of birth: Rocky Mount, North Carolina, U.S.
Died November 17, 2017(2017-11-17) (aged 91)
Deathplace Englewood, NJ, U.S.
Family/Career Information
Stage, film and television actor
Character/series information
Appeared on
/involved with:
The Cosby Show
Episodes appeared in/
involved with:
40 in series
Character played Russell Huxtable

Earle Hyman (born October 11, 1926-died November 17, 2017) was an American stage, television, and film actor. Hyman is known for his recurring role on ThunderCats as the voice of Panthro and later on The Cosby Show as Cliff's father, Russell Huxtable.

Life and careerEdit

A native of Rocky Mount, NC, Hyman's parents, Zachariah Hyman and Maria Lilly Plummer, moved their family to Brooklyn, NY, where Hyman primarily grew up. Earle became interested in acting after seeing a production of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts. “The first play I ever saw was a present from my parents on my 13th birthday — Nazimova in ‘Ghosts’ at Brighton Beach on the subway circuit — and I just freaked out.”[1][2]

He made his Broadway stage debut as a teenager in 1943 in Run, Little Chillun, and later joined the American Negro Theatr. The following year, Hyman began a two year run playing the role of Rudolf on Broadway in Anna Lucasta, starring Hilda Simms in the title role.[3] He was a member of the American Shakespeare Theatre beginning with its first season in 1955, and played the role of Othello in the 1957 season.[4]

In 1959, Earle appeared in the West End in the first London production of "A Raisin In the Sun" alongside Kim Hamilton. The show ran at the Adelphi Theatre and was directed again by Lloyd Richards.

A life member of The Actors Studio,[5] Hyman has appeared throughout his career in productions in both the United States and Norway (he is fluent in Norwegian) where he also owns a home on Norway's west coast and an apartment in Oslo. In 1965, Earle won a Theatre World Award and in 1988, he was awarded the St Olav's medal for his work in Norwegian theater.

In addition to his stage work, Hyman has appeared in various television and film roles including adaptions of Macbeth (1968), Julius Caesar (1979), and Coriolanus (1979), and voiced Panthro on the animated television series ThunderCats (1985-1990). One of his most well known roles, that of Russell Huxtable in The Cosby Show, earned him an Emmy Award nomination in 1986 where he played the father of lead character Cliff Huxtable, played by actor Bill Cosby, despite only being 11 years senior to Cosby. He is the third cousin of late R&B/jazz singer Phyllis Hyman.


Hyman, who never married or had any children, died at age 91 on November 17, 2017, at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey.[6]


Year Film Role Notes
1945 The Lost Weekend Smoking Man Uncredited
1954 The Bamboo Prison Doc Jackson, medic
1966 Afrikaneren Raymond Alternative title: The African
1975 The Possession of Joel Delaney Charles Credited Earl Hyman
1979 Coriolanus Cominius
Julius Caesar Cicero
1982 Fighting Back Police Chief Freeman Alternative title: Death Vengeance
1985 Thundercats - HO: The Movie Panthro Voice
1988 Light Years Maxum (Voice) Alternative title: Gandahar
Year Title Role Notes
1957 Hallmark Hall of Fame Adam 1 episode
The United States Steel Hour Jim 1 episode
1963 Espionage Premier Djatuma 1 episode
East Side/West Side Mr. Marsden 1 episode
1964 The Nurses Buratta 1 episode
Playdate Crouch 1 episode
The Defenders District Attorney 1 episode
1965 Seaway Tom Nkomo 1 episode
1968 Macbeth Macbeth Television movie
1980 The Ivory Ape Inspector St. George Television movie
1982 Long Day's Journey Into Night James Tyrone Television movie
1984 The Edge of Night Bailiff Unknown episodes
1984-1992 The Cosby Show Russell Huxtable 40 episodes
1985 ThunderCats Panthro/Redeye (Voice) 130 episodes
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus King Awgwa (Voice) Television movie
1987 A Different World Russell Huxtable Episode: :Sometimes You Get the Bear, Sometimes the Bear Gets You"
1989 A Man Called Hawk Jefferson Adams Episode: "Passing the Bar"
1994 Seier'n er vår Sammy Unknown episodes
1995 All My Children Mr. Patterson Unknown episodes
1996 Hijacked: Flight 285 Wayne Edwards Television movie
1997 Cosby Rev. Mitchell 1 episode
2000 The Moving of Sophia Myles Bishop Heath Television movie
2001 Twice in a Lifetime Charley Freeman 1 episode


  1. "From Ibsen to Pinter and back again Earle Hyman’s long journey with the masters"
  2. Winer, Laurie. "From Cosby's Father to Colonel Pickering, By Way of Norway", The New York Times, 1991-03-24. Retrieved on 2008-11-09. 
  3. Buckley, Michael (2005-10-23). Stage and Screen Star Earle Hyman. Retrieved on 2008-11-09.
  4. Template:Citation
  5. Garfield, David (1980). . MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc.. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
  6. Earle Hyman, Grandpa Huxtable on 'The Cosby Show,' Dies at 91. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on 20 November 2017.

External linksEdit