Veteran Actor Bill Cobbs' Cause of Death Revealed

Character actor Bill Cobbs had his first big-screen role in 1974's 'The Taking of Pelham One Two Three' and worked steadily since.


Jun. 26 2024, Published 5:46 p.m. ET

Bill Cobbs smiling and wearing a hat at the 'Oz The Great and Powerful' Los Angels premiere
Source: Getty Images

There are some actors out there who you feel like you've seen in everything. Bill Cobbs was one of those actors. Incredibly, the former U.S. Air Force radar technician didn't even step into acting as a career until he was nearly 40 years old.

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And in the time since, he's had nearly 200 TV and films roles, popping up on the likes of The Sopranos and Walker, Texas Ranger, and showing his range in everything from 1992's The Bodyguard to 2013's Oz the Great and Powerful.

After a long and storied career, the actor died at 90 on June 26, 2024, his rep previously confirmed to Distractify exclusively.

Bill Cobbs speaking at the 2015 Toronto Black Film Festival
Source: Getty Images
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What was Bill Cobbs' cause of death?

Bill's rep told Distractify that the actor died of natural causes. He had been sick the past few days and was using a machine to help him breathe, according to his rep.

The actor had also been in a wheelchair for the last few months, only being able to stand for a few minutes at a time, and had a caretaker as well, his rep said.

TMZ reported that Bill's brother Thomas Cobbs said the veteran actor had recently been battling pneumonia.

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Thomas Cobbs also wrote in a Facebook post that the actor "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," the post continued. "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."

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Bill Cobbs leaves behind an incredible legacy on screen.

Depending on your generation, you might remember Bill as one of the antagonists in 2006's Night at the Museum, or the coach in 1997's Air Bud.

But after relocating to New York at age 36 to pursue the entertainment industry, the Cleveland-born character actor — who also worked in office products at IBM and sold cars before making his big move — got his first big-screen role with a small part in 1974's The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. This was after he had gotten his start in theater first.

And he continued to grace our screens, appearing in hit films like 1986's The Color of Money and 1991's New Jack City in addition to oddballs like 1994's The Hudsucker Proxy.

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