Bill Cobbs
Bill Cobbs
Actor Bills in recent photo, appeared as Fred Watson, a date of Grandma Ellinton (Ja'net DuBois) in the episode "The Black Widower".


Wilbert Cobbs


(1934-06-16) June 16, 1934 (age 86)


Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.



Years active


Character on The Wayans Bros.

Fred Watson in The Black Widower

Wayans Bros Long script logo-1062px

Wilbert "Bill" Cobbs (born June 16, 1934) appeared as Fred Watson, a date of Grandma Ellington in the episode titled The Black Widower. Bill is a veteran film and television actor of four decades who has starred in over 120 television programs and movies.

Life and careerEdit

Bill Cobbs was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to a domestic worker who worked in construction.[1]His parents were hard-working people, who instilled in him a sense of self-reliance and humility. As an amateur actor in the city's Karamu House Theater, he starred in the Ossie Davis play Purlie Victorious. Cobbs was an U.S. Air Force 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 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three in 1974. Cobbs has had 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, The Others, JAG, The Drew Carey Show, October Road, One Tree Hill and many more. In his free time, Cobbs enjoys music, reading, and playing his drums.[2]

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 also played basketball coach and retired basketball player Arthur Chaney in Disney's Air Bud, and Medgar Evers' older brother Charles Evers in Rob Reiner's Ghosts of Mississippi. He had a pivotal role in the Coen Brothers' The Hudsucker Proxy, and played a jazz pianist in Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do.

He recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's "Hip-Hop Literacy2" campaign, encouraging reading of Ice-T's autobiography.

Cobbs currently lives in New York City and Los Angeles and continues to act. Cobbs is a second cousin of the late African-American actor and Song of the South star James Baskett.[3]


  1. Bill Cobbs Biography (1935-)
  2. Bill Cobbs - Biography
  3. Biography for James Baskett. James Baskett's entry in the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 12 September 2012.

External linksEdit

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