Actor Earl Hyman, who portrayed Russell Huxtable in the sitcom "The Cosby Show," has died at age 91. Hyman appeared in 40 episodes of the hit NBC show, where he was the father to Bill Cosby's Heathcliff Huxtable and known to the millions of fans as Grandpa Huxtable. He was always thoughtful, yet humorous and interacted well with his TV grandkids. He even carried that persona when he crossed over to an episode of the first season of "A Different Word" where he and his granddaughter Denise (Lisa Bonet) bonded over her stealing a school mascot during the football homecoming.

Earle had an impressive career

Hyman was nominated for an Emmy in 1986 for his role as Russell Huxtable. If the name sounds familiar, fans of the "Fat Albert" cartoon may recall that the character of Bill had a brother named Russell. Bill Cosby was only 11 years younger than Earle Hyman' when he began portraying his televisions son. Hyman's career which included stage and screen spanned many decades, beginning in the 1940s.

According to Wikipedia, this talented actor began acting as a teenager in 1943 in a Broadway stage production of "Run Little Chillun." He became a member of the American Shakespeare Theater at its inception in 1955 and garnered the role of Othello in 1957.

Earle Hyman also appeared in many movies including "The Lost Weekend," Super Cops", "The Possession of Gerald Delany," "The Bamboo Prison, "Light Years," and "Fighting Back."

Hymans continued working in later years

After "The Cosby Show" completed its eight-year run, Earle Hyman continued working on other television projects.

He had roles on "All My Children," "Twice in a Lifetime," and "A man called Hawk." He also worked with his TV son and daughter-in-law in the short-lived "Cosby" on CBS. In addition to being nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding guest performance, in "The Anniversary" episode of "The Cosby Show," Hyman was also nominated for a Tony Award in 1980 for best actor in "The Lady from Dubuque."

Hyman won a CableAce award in 1983 for an actor in a dramatic presentation in "Long Days Journey into Night." He also won a Theater Ace Awards in 1956.

Earl Hyman passed away in the Lillian Boothe Actors Home in Englewood Cliffs N.J. No family members of next of kin have been announced. Grandpa Huxtable will live on in reruns of the show that made him famous. His voice as Pantho will continue to entertain through continued showings of"Thundercats."