Earle in 1990
October 11, 1926
|Died||November 17, 2017 (aged 91)|
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
|Other names||Earl Hyman|
Earle Hyman (October 11, 1926 - November 17, 2017) was an American stage, television, and film actor. Hyman is known for his role on ThunderCats as the voice of Panthro and various other characters. He also appeared on The Cosby Show as Cliff's father, Russell Huxtable.
Hyman was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, as George Earle Plummer according to the North Carolina Birth Index. He was of African American and Native American ancestry. His parents, Zachariah Hyman (Tuscarora) and Maria Lilly Plummer (Haliwa-Saponi/Nottoway), moved their family to Brooklyn, New York in the late 1920s, where Hyman primarily grew up. Hyman became interested in acting after seeing a production of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts.
He studied acting at HB Studio in New York City. He made his Broadway stage debut as a teenager in 1943 in Run, Little Chillun, and later joined the American Negro Theater. 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. 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.
In 1959 he again appeared in the West End, this time 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, Hyman appeared throughout his career in productions in both the United States and Norway, where he also owned property. In 1965, 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 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). He played two roles (at different times) on television's The Edge of Night.
One of his most well known roles, that of Russell Huxtable in The Cosby Show, earned him an Emmy Award nomination in 1986. He played the father of lead character Cliff Huxtable, played by actor Bill Cosby, despite only being 11 years older than Cosby.
Hyman, who never married or had children, but had a long-time partner of over 50 years, a Norwegian man named Rolf Sirnes, died at age 91 on November 17, 2017, at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey.
Earle Hyman learned to speak Norwegian through his live-in partner, the sailor Rolf Sirnes (1926-2004) from Haugesund. In the 1990s they lived in New York City.
|1945||The Lost Weekend||Smoking Man||Uncredited|
|1954||The Bamboo Prison||Doc Jackson, medic|
|1966||Afrikaneren||Raymond||Alternative title: The African|
|1972||The Possession of Joel Delaney||Charles||Credited Earl Hyman|
|1975||The Super Cops||Police Detective||Uncredited|
|1982||Fighting Back||Police Chief Freeman||Alternative title: Death Vengeance|
|1985||Thundercats - HO: The Movie||Panthro||Voice|
|1987||Light Years||Maxum||Voice, Alternative title: Gandahar|
|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|
|The Defenders||District Attorney||1 episode|
|1965||Seaway||Tom Nkomo||1 episode|
|1969||Sesame Street||"Big" tuba player||Film about "Big and Little" musician friends, first aired on Episode 16|
|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||The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus||King Awgwa||Voice, Television movie|
|1985-1989||ThunderCats||Panthro / Redeye||Voice, 125 episodes|
|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||Episode: "Moonshine Over Harlem"|
|Year||Award||Result||Category||Film, series or play|
|1956||Theatre World Award||Won|
|1980||Tony Award||Nominated||Best Featured Actor in a Play||The Lady From Dubuque|
|1983||CableACE Award||Won||Actor in a Dramatic Presentation||Long Day's Journey Into Night|
|1986||Emmy Award||Nominated||Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series||The Cosby Show (For episode "Happy Anniversary")|
|2009||Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement||Won||N/A||n/A|