Earle Hyman

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Earle Hyman
Born(1926-10-11) October 11, 1926 (age 88)
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, United States
Other namesEarl Hyman
OccupationStage, film and television actor
Years active1943–2001
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Earle Hyman
Born(1926-10-11) October 11, 1926 (age 88)
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, United States
Other namesEarl Hyman
OccupationStage, film and television actor
Years active1943–2001

Earle Hyman (born October 11, 1926) is 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.



George Earle Hyman was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, of Native American ancestry. Hyman's parents, Zachariah Hyman (Tuscarora) and Maria Lilly Plummer (Haliwa-Saponi/Nottoway), moved their family to Brooklyn, New York, where Hyman primarily grew up. Earle Hyman 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 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.[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 he 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, 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 second cousin of singer Phyllis Hyman.


1945The Lost WeekendSmoking ManUncredited
1954The Bamboo PrisonDoc Jackson, medic
1966AfrikanerenRaymondAlternative title: The African
1975The Possession of Joel DelaneyCharlesCredited Earl Hyman
Julius CaesarCicero
1982Fighting BackPolice Chief FreemanAlternative title: Death Vengeance
1985Thundercats - HO: The MoviePanthroVoice
1988Light YearsMaxum (Voice)Alternative title: Gandahar
1957Hallmark Hall of FameAdam1 episode
The United States Steel HourJim1 episode
1963EspionagePremier Djatuma1 episode
East Side/West SideMr. Marsden1 episode
1964The NursesBuratta1 episode
PlaydateCrouch1 episode
The DefendersDistrict Attorney1 episode
1965SeawayTom Nkomo1 episode
1968MacbethMacbethTelevision movie
1980The Ivory ApeInspector St. GeorgeTelevision movie
1982Long Day's Journey Into NightJames TyroneTelevision movie
1984The Edge of NightBailiffUnknown episodes
1984-1992The Cosby ShowRussell Huxtable40 episodes
1985ThunderCatsPanthro/Redeye (Voice)130 episodes
The Life and Adventures of Santa ClausKing Awgwa (Voice)Television movie
1987A Different WorldRussell HuxtableEpisode: :Sometimes You Get the Bear, Sometimes the Bear Gets You"
1989A Man Called HawkJefferson AdamsEpisode: "Passing the Bar"
1994Seier'n er vårSammyUnknown episodes
1995All My ChildrenMr. PattersonUnknown episodes
1996Hijacked: Flight 285Wayne EdwardsTelevision movie
1997CosbyRev. Mitchell1 episode
2000The Moving of Sophia MylesBishop HeathTelevision movie
2001Twice in a LifetimeCharley Freeman1 episode

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardResultCategoryFilm, series or play
1956Theatre World AwardWon
1980Tony AwardNominatedBest Featured Actor in a PlayThe Lady From Dubuque
1983CableACE AwardWonActor in a Dramatic PresentationLong Day's Journey Into Night
1986Emmy AwardNominatedOutstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy SeriesThe Cosby Show (For episode "Happy Anniversary")


  1. ^ "From Ibsen to Pinter and back again Earle Hyman’s long journey with the masters"
  2. ^ Winer, Laurie (1991-03-24). "From Cosby's Father to Colonel Pickering, By Way of Norway". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  3. ^ Buckley, Michael (2005-10-23). "Stage and Screen Star Earle Hyman". playbill.com. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  4. ^ Cooper, Roberta Krensky (1986), The American Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford 1955-1985, Folger Books, p. 43, ISBN 0-918016-88-6 
  5. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 

External links[edit]