Bill Cobbs, actor in 'Night at the Museum' and 'Hudsucker Proxy,' dies at 90

Bill Cobbs attends 28th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards at Millennium Biltmore Hotel on June 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)

Bill Cobbs, a prolific character actor who had a long career in Hollywood with key roles in films such as "The Hudsucker Proxy," "Night at the Museum" and "Sunshine State," has died in Riverside at age 90, it was announced Wednesday.

The actor's brother, pastor Thomas G. Cobbs, shared the news Wednesday on Facebook.

"We are saddened to share the passing of Bill Cobbs," he wrote. "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."

Cobbs celebrated his milestone birthday on June 16.

"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," his brother wrote in the Facebook post. He told TMZ that pneumonia is the suspected cause of death.

Cobbs had nearly 200 credits to his name, including big screen roles in "Air Bud," "The Bodyguard" and "New Jack City."  In "Night At the Museum," he played a security guard opposite Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney.

"I loved working with Bill on `Night at the Museum,"' actor Ben Stiller wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "What a great career. Kind and a pro, he classed up any project he was a part of. Sending love to his family."

On television, Cobbs played a mocking bartender on the Dabney Coleman series "The Slap Maxwell Story." He played the bus driver Tony on "The Drew Carey Show," and Dr. Emory Erickson, the inventor of the Transporter, on "Star Trek: Enterprise."

Cobbs was born on June 16, 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a radar technician for eight years. He began acting in Cleveland's Karamu House, a historic Black theater that hosted premieres of Langston Hughes' plays.

In 1970, at the age of 36, he left for New York to try his luck as an actor. He joined the Negro Ensemble Company, working with the likes of Ruby Dee, Adolph Caesar and Moses Gunn.

"Once I realized I could walk on the stage with people like that, I thought, `Maybe I can be an actor,"' he said in 2015.

In 1976, Cobbs appeared in "Vegetable Soup," a New York public television educational series. He made his feature film debut in "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" in 1974.

"I came back home to see my mom and dad, and all our friends and neighbors went to see the movie, and everyone was waiting for my appearance," Cobbs told Cleveland-based newspaper The Plain Dealer in 2013.

Cobbs went on to have an extensive film career and appeared on many television programs, including "The Michael Richards Show," "Six Feet Under" and "One Tree Hill," among others.

In 2020, he 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.

Cobbs won a Daytime Emmy Award at the age of 86 for Outstanding Limited Performance in a Daytime Program for the children's show "Dino Dana."

Cobbs continued working to the end, with his IMDb page showing multiple releases still to come, including the drama film "Broken Church" starring Eric Roberts.