Bill Cobbs: American actor (1934-) | Biography, Filmography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Bill Cobbs
American actor

Bill Cobbs

Bill Cobbs
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor
A.K.A. Wilbert "Bill" Cobbs, Wilbert Cobbs
Is Actor Voice actor Television actor Film actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 16 June 1934, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Age 88 years
Star sign Gemini
The details


Wilbert Francisco "Bill" Cobbs (born 16 June 1934) is an American actor known for his roles in The Hitter (1979), The Brother from Another Planet (1984), I'll Fly Away (1991–1993, TV series), and The Michael Richards Show (2000, TV series). In 2020, he won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Performance in a Daytime Program for the series Dino Dana.

Early life

Cobbs was born on June 16, 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio. His mother was a domestic worker and a father worked in construction. He is the second cousin of James Baskett.


As an amateur actor in the city's Karamu House Theater, Cobbs starred in the Ossie Davis play Purlie Victorious.

Cobbs served in the United States Air Force as a radar technician for eight years; he also worked in office products at IBM and sold cars in Cleveland. 

In 1970, at the age of 36, he left for New York to seek work as an actor. There he turned down a job in the NBC sales department in order to have time for auditions. He supported himself by driving a cab, repairing office equipment, selling toys, and performing odd jobs. His first professional acting role was in Ride a Black Horse at the Negro Ensemble Company. From there he appeared in small theater productions, street theater, regional theater, and at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

Cobbs was in Vegetable Soup (1976), a New York public television educational series, and he made his feature film debut in 1974 in Joseph Sargent's thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, starring Walter MatthauRobert Shaw, and Martin Balsam.

Cobbs has an extensive film career and has appeared and been a regular on many television programs, including The Michael Richards Show, The Outer Limits, I'll Fly Away, Yes, Dear, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Others, JAG, The Drew Carey Show, October Road, One Tree Hill, and Star Trek: Enterprise (as Dr. Emory Erickson, inventor of the Transporter.) He had a recurring role as "George," a blind grief-support-group member, in the TV series, Go On, which premiered in 2012.

In 2006, Cobbs played a supporting role in Night at the Museum as "Reginald," a security guard on the verge of retirement. The character also served as an antagonist to the story. He played basketball coach and retired basketball player "Arthur Chaney" in Disney's Air Bud and Charles Evers, the older brother of Medgar Evers (played by James Pickens Jr.), in Rob Reiner's Ghosts of Mississippi.

He had a role in the Coen Brothers' The Hudsucker Proxy and played fictional jazz pianist "Del Paxton" in Tom HanksThat Thing You Do. He did a brief appearance in the 2010 film The Search for Santa Paws.

In 2013, Cobbs co-starred in Oz the Great and Powerful, and in late 2014 reprised his role of "Reginald" in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. He recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's Hip-Hop Literacy2 campaign, encouraging reading of Ice-T's autobiography.

In 2019, he played "Swilley" in James Cullen Bressack's action film Beyond the Law, starring Johnny MessnerSteven Seagal, and DMX.

Most recently, Cobbs guest-starred in the two-part series finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. portraying an unnamed elderly S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.

He has also finished filming for Jay Silverman's Saving Paradise, in which he will portray the character of "John Thompson" alongside William Moseley and Johanna Braddy. The release date is yet to be announced.


Year Title Role Notes 
1974 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Man on Platform  
1975 A Boy and a Boa Father Short film 
1977 Greased Lightning Mr. Jones  
1978 A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich Bartender  
1979 The Hitter Louisiana Slim  
1983 Trading Places Bartender  
1983 Silkwood Man in Lunchroom  
1984 The Brother from Another Planet Walter  
1984 The Cotton Club Big Joe Ison  
1985 Compromising Positions Sgt. Williams  
1986 The Color of Money Orvis  
1987 Five Corners Man in Coffee Shop  
1987 Suspect Judge Franklin  
1988 Dominick and Eugene Jesse Johnson  
1988 Bird Dr. Caulfield  
1989 The January Man Detective Reilly  
1989 Picking Tribes Voice-over Short film 
1991 New Jack City Old Man  
1991 The Hard Way Raggedy Man  
1991 The People Under the Stairs Grandpa Booker  
1992 Roadside Prophets Oscar  
1992 Exiled in America Abraham White  
1992 The Bodyguard Bill Devaney  
1993 Demolition Man Zachery Lamb - Aged  
1993 Fatal Instinct Man in park Uncredited 
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy Moses  
1995 Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead Malt  
1995 Fluke Bert  
1995 Man with a Gun Henry Griggs  
1995 Tuesday Morning Ride Jeff Short film 
1995 Goldilocks and the Three Bears Caleb  
1995 Captiva Island Vernon  
1996 Ed Tipton  
1996 First Kid Speet  
1996 That Thing You Do! Del Paxton  
1996 Ghosts of Mississippi Charles Evers  
1997 Soulmates Mr. Williams  
1997 Air Bud Coach Arthur Chaney  
1998 Paulie Virgil the Janitor  
1998 Hope Floats Nurse  
1998 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Estes  
1999 Random Hearts Marvin  
2002 Sunshine State Dr. Elton Lloyd  
2002 Enough Jim Toller  
2003 A Mighty Wind Blues Musician  
2004 The Mortuary Franklin Harmon  
2004 Lost Jeremy's Boss  
2005 Inner Demon Arnold Short film 
2005 Squirrel Man Morgan Wendell Short film 
2005 Duck Norman  
2005 Return to Sender Saul Burroughs Short film 
2005 The Derby Stallion Houston Jones  
2005 The Final Patient Dr. Daniel Green  
2005 Special Ed Lou  
2006 Sent Doctor Short film 
2006 Hard Luck Cobb Direct-to-video 
2006 The Ultimate Gift Mr. Theophilus Hamilton  
2006 Night at the Museum Reginald  
2006 Sweet Deadly Dreams Barney  
2007 Three Days to Vegas Marvin Jeffries  
2008 Grim Abdication Enforcer Short film 
2008 This Man's Life Myer Truman Short film 
2008 The Morgue George Direct-to-video 
2008 The Dark Horse Quincey Short film 
2009 The Rebel Heart Cephas Cordner  
2009 My Summer Friend Walter Short film 
2009 Get Low Rev. Charlie Jackson  
2009 Steadfast John Short film 
2009 Black Water Transit Frank Vermillion  
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Reginald Scene deleted 
2010 No Limit Kids: Much Ado About Middle School Charlie  
2010 The Search for Santa Paws Mr. Stewart Direct-to-video 
2010 The Tenant Jack Rymer  
2010 Stroll Clayton Short film 
2011 The Arcadian Charles  
2011 The Muppets Grandfather  
2012 The Undershepherd Dr. Ezekiel Cannon  
2012 Lukewarm Thomas  
2012 Branch Line Conductor Short film 
2013 Oz the Great and Powerful Master Tinker  
2013 The Ultimate Life Mr. Theophilus Hamilton  
2013 The Last Letter Pastor  
2013 Vampires in Venice Dr. Dooley  
2014 Tiffany at Breakfast Him Short film 
2014 Of Mind and Music Stompleg  
2014 Christmas in Palm Springs Gabriel  
2014 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Reginald  
2014 On Angel's Wings Mr. Dupac  
2015 A House Is Not a Home Paul  
2015 The Great Gilly Hopkins Mr. Randolph  
2016 New Life Mr. Charles  
2017 Beyond the Silence Judge Johnson  
2017 Call Me King Malachi  
2017 FuN? Monte Short film 
2017 The Weight Ezra Thomas Short film 
2018 As Evil Does Jeremiah  
2018 Clipped Wings, They Do Fly Judge Johnson  
2019 Beyond the Law Swilley  
Year Title Role Notes 
1975 First Ladies Diaries: Rachel Jackson George TV Movie 
1976 Good Times George Gillard Episode: "Evans Versus Davis" 
1977-1978 Baby, I'm Back Att. Adam Johnson 2 episodes 
1978 King  Miniseries 
1982 The Member of the Wedding T.T. Williams TV Movie 
1983 Rage of Angels Abraham Wilson Miniseries 
1985 The Equalizer Barry Episode: "The Distant Fire" 
1985 Sesame Street Lee Episode #17.30 
1986 Johnny Bull Wiggins TV Movie 
1986 Kate & Allie Sam Butcher 2 episodes 
1987 Spenser: For Hire Larry Sills Episode: "If You Knew Sammy" 
1987-1988 The Slap Maxwell Story The Dutchman Main cast 
1988 L.A. Law Webb Johnson Episode: "Belle of the Bald" 
1989 Homeroom Phil Drexler Main cast 
1990 Designing Women Henry / Charlie Episode: "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" 
1990 Married People Willis Episode: "Money Changes Everything" 
1990 Gabriel's Fire Walker Green Episode: "I'm Nobody" 
1990 The Trials of Rosie O'Neill Fish Fry Baby Episode: "Rosie Gets the Blues" 
1990 Decoration Day Gee Pennywell TV Movie 
1990 Moe's World  TV Pilot 
1991 True Colors Bernard Freeman Episode: "Favorite Son" 
1991 Carolina Skeletons Elijah Crooks TV Movie 
1991-1993 I'll Fly Away Lewis Coleman Main cast 
1993 Coach George Episode: "Why So Happy, Hayden?" 
1993 I'll Fly Away: Then and Now Lewis Coleman TV Movie 
1994 Empty Nest Jerome Episode: "Gesundeit" 
1994 Northern Exposure Angelo Maxwell Episode: "The Letter" 
1995 Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long Pullman Porter TV Movie 
1995 The Watcher  Episode: "Reversal of Fortune" 
1995 Divas Sippy TV Movie 
1995 Out There Lyman Weeks TV Movie 
1996 NYPD Blue Norval Stevens Episode: "The Nutty Confessor" 
1996 ER Mr. Bowman Episode: "The Match Game" 
1996 Nightjohn Old Man TV Movie 
1996 Thrill Norm Duprey TV Movie 
1996 Stories from the Edge  TV Movie; Segment: "Tuesday Morning Ride" 
1997 The Outer Limits Second Elder - Prisoner No. 91777 Episode: "The Camp" 
1997 Walker, Texas Ranger Gino Costa Episode: "Full Contact" 
1997 The Wayans Bros. Fred Watson Episode: "The Black Widower" 
1997 High Incident Emmett Episode: "Starting Over" 
1997-1999 The Gregory Hines Show James Stevenson Main cast 
1998 Always Outnumbered Right Burke TV Movie 
1998 The Wild Thornberrys Chief (voice) Episode: "Dinner with Darwin" 
1998 L.A. Doctors Bob Episode: "What About Bob?" 
1998-1999 For Your Love Uncle Stanley 2 episodes 
1999 The Outer Limits Joe Dell Episode: "Fathers and Sons" 
2000 The Sopranos Reverend James, Sr. Episode: "Do Not Resuscitate" 
2000 The Practice Arthur Turner Episode: "Till Death Do Us Part" 
2000 The Others Elmer Greentree Main cast 
2000 For All Time Proprietor / Conductor TV Movie 
2000 The Michael Richards Show Jack Main cast 
2001 The Fighting Fitzgeralds Chet Armatrow Episode: "The Fire Fight" 
2001 Touched by an Angel Henry Baldwin Episode: "Band of Angels" 
2001 Six Feet Under Mr. Jones Episode: "The Room" 
2001 Rugrats Uncle Charles (voice) Episode: "A Rugrats Kwanzaa" 
2001 Philly Warren Bell Episode: "Loving Sons" 
2001 Bitter Winter  TV Movie 
2001-2003 JAG Chaplain Matthew Turner 4 episodes 
2002 The West Wing Alan Tatum Episode: "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" 
2002 My Wife and Kids Minister 2 episodes 
2002-2003 The Drew Carey Show Tony Recurring 
2003 The Division Mr. Greene Episode: "Strangers" 
2003 NYPD Blue Bernie Carpenter Episode: "Maybe Baby" 
2004 Soul Food Mr. Bradford Episode: "Fear Eats the Soul" 
2005 Star Trek: Enterprise Dr. Emory Erickson Episode: "Daedalus" 
2005 Yes, Dear Starter Episode: "Greg's a Mooch" 
Counterman Episode: "Barbecue" 
2007 October Road Mr. Bolivar Episode: "Forever Until Now" 
2007 Side Order of Life Eddie Morgan Episode: "Separation Anxiety" 
2008 Players at the Poker Palace Bill Episode: "A Couple of Black Yankees" 
2008 Army Wives Harry Episode: "The Messenger" 
2008 One Tree Hill Gus Episode: "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream: Part I" 
2008 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Harry Bastille Episode: "Young Man with a Horn" 
2010 The Glades Gregory Richmond Episode: "Honey" 
2011 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior Bishop Sanford Episode: "Lonely Hearts" 
2011 Harry's Law Judge Episode: "American Dreams" 
2012-2013 Go On George Recurring 
2013 Back in the Game James Episode: "Night Games" 
2013 Dear Secret Santa Ted TV Movie 
2014 The Bay Boyd Bloom 1 episode 
2014 Rake Judge Rutchland Recurring 
2015 Hand of God Papa Gene 2 episodes 
2016 The Ultimate Legacy Mr. Theophilus Hamilton TV Movie 
2016 The Mastermind 5 The Mentor TV Pilot 
2016-2017 Greenleaf Henry McCready/John McCready Recurring 
2017 The Carmichael Show Vernon Episode: "Evelyn & Vernon" 
2017 My Christmas Grandpa Fred TV Short 
2017 Hannah Royce's Questionable Choices Jack TV Pilot 
2017-present Dino Dana Mr. Hendrickson 6 episodes 
2018 Superior Donuts Luther "Wheels" Langdon Episode: "Always Bet On Black" 
2020 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Elderly S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Episode: "The End is at Hand" 
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