Bill Cobbs, Star of ‘Night at the Museum,’ Dies at 90
Bill Cobbs, Star of ‘Night at the Museum,’ Dies at 90

He had roles in “Sunshine State,” “Oz the Great and Powerful,” and “The Drew Carey Show.”

Bill Cobbs has died. He was a great character actor who played important roles in movies like “The Hudsucker Proxy,” “Sunshine State,” and “Night at the Museum.” He was 90 years old.

Cobbs died early Tuesday evening at his home in Riverside, according to Chuck I. Jones, who worked as his spokesman.

Cobbs was born in Cleveland and was great at both comedy and drama. He played Whitney Houston’s manager in The Bodyguard (1992), Medgar Evers’ older brother in Rob Reiner’s Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), a jazz pianist in Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do! (1996), and the Master Tinker in Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful (2013).
He also played the smart coach in Air Bud (1997) who added a dog who could play hoops to the Timberwolves’ team.

As The Dutchman, the sarcastic bartender on Dabney Coleman’s The Slap Maxwell Story, Cobbs stood out as the bus driver Tony on The Drew Carey Show, the dad of the main character on The Gregory Hines Show, and Dr. Emory Erickson, the inventor of the Transporter, on Star Trek: Enterprise.

Cobbs played Moses in The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), a movie by the Coen brothers. Moses is a mysterious clock man who can stop time to help Tim Robbins’ character, Norville Barnes.

Cobbs is the moral guide in John Sayles’ 2002 movie Sunshine State, which is about a doctor in Florida who fights to keep his beach neighborhood from being developed. Before this, the star and director worked together on the sci-fi comedy The Brother From Another Planet in 1984.

The story began with Cobbs as Reginald, the security guard who was about to retire in Night at the Museum. He came back for the 2014 follow up.

He was born on June 16, 1934. In the United States. He tried his hand at stand-up comedy while in the U.S. Air Force for eight years after finishing from Cleveland’s East Tech High School. Before his first performance on stage, in 1969, he worked for IBM and sold cars. It was in the anti-apartheid show Lost in the Stars at Karamu House in his hometown.

Soon after, he had parts in Ossie Davis’s Purlie and Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author at the important Cleveland theater.

After a year, Cobbs moved to New York and joined the Negro Ensemble Company, where he worked with artists like Davis, Ruby Dee, Adolph Caesar, and Moses Gunn. “Once I saw that I could walk on stage with those people, I thought, ‘Maybe I can be an actor,'” he said in 2015.

Along with Caesar and Esther Rolle, Cobbs was in Ride a Black Horse off-Broadway in 1971 and then in Black Visions for the Joseph Papp Public Theater.

In his first movie role, he was on a train platform in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974).

In 2013, he said, “I went back home to see my parents. All of our friends and neighbors went to the movie, and they were all waiting for me to come home.” “I say, ‘Hey, man,’ to a police officer in the tube. “What’s going on?”

After that, he did part-time work on Broadway in 1975 in The Black Picture Show and The First Breeze of Summer.

The Muppets (2011), New Jack City (1991), The Hard Way (1991), The People Under the Stairs (1991), Demolition Man (1993), Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995), Hope Floats (1998), A Mighty Wind (2003), Three Days to Vegas (2007), Get Low (2009), and Greased Lightning (1977) were some of Cobbs’ other movies.

Cobbs also had recurring roles on Sam Waterston’s I’ll Fly Away, The Michael Richards Show, Julianne Nicholson’s The Others, and Matthew Perry’s Go On. He also had guest roles on a lot of other shows, like The Equalizer, Kate & Allie, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Yes, Dear.

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