Character actor Bill Cobbs died; had roles in dozens of movies and tv shows

NEW YORK — Bill Cobbs, the veteran character actor who became a ubiquitous and sensible screen presence as he aged, has died. He was 90.

Cobbs died Tuesday at his home in Inland Empire, California, surrounded by family and friends, said his publicist, Chuck I. Jones. The almost certainly explanation for death is natural causes, Jones said.

A Cleveland native, Cobbs has appeared in movies akin to Hudsucker, The Bodyguard and Night on the Museum. His first big screen appearance was in 1974, in a fleeting role in The Taking of Pelham 123. He went on to seem in around 200 movies and tv series throughout his life, the lion's share of which got here in his 50s, 60s and 70s, when filmmakers and tv producers turned to him again and again to fill small but crucial roles with a stunted and worn soul.

Cobbs has appeared in television series akin to “The Sopranos,” “The West Wing,” “Sesame Street” and “Good Times.” He played Whitney Houston's manager in “The Bodyguard” (1992), the mysterious clock man within the Coen brothers' “Hudsucker” (1994) and the doctor in John Sayles' “Sunshine State” (2002). He played the coach in “Air Bud” (1997), the safety guard in “Night at the Museum” (2006) and the daddy in “The Gregory Hines Show.”

Cobbs rarely got the type of leading roles that stand out and win awards. Instead, Cobbs was a well-known and memorable everyman who made an impression on audiences no matter screen time. He won a 2020 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Performance in a Daytime Program for the series “Dino Dana.”

Wilbert Francisco Cobbs, born June 16, 1934, served within the U.S. Air Force for eight years after graduating from highschool in Cleveland. In the years following his service, Cobbs sold cars. One day, a customer asked him if he desired to act in a play. Cobbs first appeared on stage in 1969. He began his acting profession within the Cleveland theater and later moved to New York, where he joined the Negro Ensemble Company and acted alongside Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

Cobbs later said that acting was a way for him to precise human nature, especially in the course of the civil rights movement within the late Nineteen Sixties.

“To be an artist, you have to have a sense of giving,” Cobbs said in an interview in 2004. “Art is a bit like a prayer, isn't it? We respond to what we see and feel around us and how things affect us mentally and spiritually.”

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