Famed 'Cosby Show' and Broadway actor Earle Hyman dies at 91

Earle Hyman, a veteran actor of stage and screen who was widely known for playing Russell Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," has died.

Jordan Strohl, a representative for The Actors Fund, says that Hyman died Friday at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey. He was 91.

A North Carolina native, Hyman made his Broadway debut as a teenager in 1943 in “Anna Lucasta.” Over the years, he’s played in “The Merchant of Venice, “No Time for Sergeants,” “Mister John,” “Saint Joan,” “Waiting for Gadot,” “Les Blancs” and “The Master Builder.” He would go on to become a charter member of the American Shakespeare Theater, playing Othello on countless occasions. In 1980 Hyman received a Tony nomination for "The Lady From Dubuque."

Hyman is best known, however, for "The Cosby Show" where he played the father to Bill Cosby's Cliff Huxtable, even though he was only 11 years his senior. He earned a guest performer Emmy nomination for the role in 1986.

Additionally, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, fans of the cult 1980s hit cartoon “Thundercats” will recognize his voice as that of Panthro, one of the more aggressive members of the heroic team. Hyman was credited on 125 of the cartoon’s episodes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.