Actor Earle Hyman
On The Cosby Show:
Emmy nominated for his role as Bill Cosby’s father, Russell Huxtable (1984–92). “The cast became so warm and joyful. We became a family. Mr. Cosby truly became my son. He made me laugh—I mean really laugh!”
Among Earle’s many credits: American Negro Theatre’s Anna Lucasta (1944); Moss Hart’s The Climate of Eden (1952) with Rosemary Harris; No Time for Sergeants (1955) with Andy Griffith; Waiting for Godot (1957) directed by Herbert Berghof; Tony nominated for Edward Albee’s The Lady From Dubuque (1980); Replaced Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy in 1987.
On mentors John Gielgud and Eva Le Gallienne:
“I saw them on the stage when I was about 15. Gielgud was my hero. A god. I said one day I’m going to meet that man. And Miss Le Gallienne was my goddess. I thought one day I’m going to meet that lady and one day I’m going to act with her. Which all came true.”
Acting in Norway:
Earle learned Norwegian to play Othello and was the first American to perform the role in Norway. He ended up working for nearly half his professional career overseas. “I worked as much in Scandinavia as in America.”
On his 65-year career:
“I feel very grateful. I wouldn’t have changed it for anything in the world. I loved it.”
On acting and cats:
Earle was the voice of Panthro on the popular 1980s cartoon ThunderCats. “I loved doing it because I love cats. I’m passionate about cats… They taught me a great deal about acting—about relaxation, not giving too much, about so much.”
Earle is part of a very special community of unique individuals who reside at The Actors Fund's Lillian Booth Actors Home. The Home is the jewel in The Fund’s housing crown and a recipient of U.S. News and World Report’s coveted “Best Nursing Homes in America” award, bestowed on the best 2,700 of the 17,000 facilities nationwide. Our 124 residents represent a diverse cross-selection of the entertainment industry—from stagehands to writers to producers and, of course, dancers and actors, too. Nearly every entertainment union is represented under one roof in Englewood, New Jersey.
This interview originally appeared in Marquee, the official newsletter of The Actors Fund. Join The Fund today! Not only will you receive your own copy of Marquee twice yearly plus all the benefits of membership, you'll also play an important role in helping everyone in our creative community in times of need, crisis or transition and continue The Actors Fund tradition of caring for our own in entertainment.
Top photo: Joann Coates