Bill Cobbs, character actor known for ‘Demolition Man’ and ‘The Bodyguard,’ dies at 90

Bill Cobbs, who acted in “Air Bud,” “New Jack City” and “The Bodyguard,” has died at age 90.

Bill Cobbs, a seasoned character actor with nearly 200 film and television credits, has died at age 90.

Cobbs’ death was confirmed by his brother, Thomas G. Cobbs, who wrote on Facebook : “We are saddened to share the passing of Bill Cobbs. On Tuesday, June 25, Bill passed away peacefully at his home in California. A beloved partner, big brother, uncle, surrogate parent, godfather and friend, Bill recently and happily celebrated his 90th birthday surrounded by cherished loved ones.”

“As a family we are comforted knowing Bill has found peace and eternal rest with his Heavenly Father. We ask for your prayers and encouragement during this time,” the post continued.


Cobbs’ publicist, Chuck I. Jones, told The Times via email that the actor had died of natural causes.

“Bill was a phenomenal human being in addition to being a spectacular actor. He was very kind, giving and attentive to others. He was especially very proud of receiving a Daytime Emmy Award,” Jones said, “and his work with the cast & crew” on films including “Demolition Man,” “The Bodyguard” and “Oz, the Great and Powerful.”

Bill Cobbs was born June 16, 1934, and raised in Cleveland. He served in the Air Force for eight years and worked at IBM and as a car salesman before moving to New York at 36 to pursue acting, according to IMDb . He acted in several small television and theater roles before making his feature film debut in the 1974 crime thriller “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.”

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Cobbs is known for films including 1997’s “Air Bud” and 1993’s “Demolition Man” and starred opposite Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in 1992’s “The Bodyguard.” He also played Reginald in the “Night at the Museum” films, part of a trio of antagonistic security guards alongside Mickey Rooney, who died in 2014, and Dick Van Dyke. In “New Jack City” (1991), he played the key role of the Old Man.

In 2020, the seasoned actor won a Daytime Emmy Award for limited performance in a daytime program for his portrayal of Mr. Hendrickson on the series “Dino Dana.”

Several of Cobbs’ peers offered their condolences.

“Emmy winner, working actor and wonderful human being, Bill Cobbs transitioned to act on a higher stage June 25th after celebrating his 90th birthday June 16th RIP,” “Abbott Elementary” series regular Sheryl Lee Ralph wrote on X (formerly Twitter).


Tony Award-winning actor Wendell Pierce called Cobbs “A father figure, a griot, an iconic artist, that mentored me by the way he led his life as an actor. He played my father twice: in ‘I’ll Fly Away’ & ‘The Gregory Hines Show.’ Each time imparting wisdom with a word of encouragement.”

“Nothing Counts So Much As Family. RIP Bill Cobbs,” Pierce wrote in a subsequent X post, attaching a cast photo from “The Gregory Hines Show.”

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