For actor Earle Hyman, who passed away yesterday at the age of 91, the path from North Carolina through Brooklyn, and the theater circuit of New York, is what equipped him with the presence and vocal projection which would later find his way into our hearts decades later.
Making his Broadway debut in 1943 in Run, Little Chillun, he later joined the American Negro Theater. He would go onto perform in a starring role in the Broadway play Anna Lucasta, was a member of the American Shakespeare Theater and starred in the first London production of A Raisin In the Sun in 1959.
His television work included a small screen adaption of Macbeth in 1968, Julius Caesar in 1979 and Coriolanus in the same year.
Hyman is more widely remembered for the beloved character Russell, father of Heathcliff Huxtable, on The Cosby Show. Intelligent, imposingly debonair, a towering presence visually and vocally as well, Hyman was nominated for an Emmy in 1986 for best supporting actor for his role. The child in me recalls his time voicing Panthro on the 80s animated television series Thundercats from 1985 to 1990. He would reprise the role of the elder Huxtable on The Cosby Shoespin-off, A Different World.
Cause of death has not been revealed at this time. He was 91-years-old at the time of his passing.