The Bodyguard And Night At The Museum Actor Bill Cobbs Is Dead At 90

 Bill Cobbs wearing a track suit while standing in conversation in Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb.
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Recognized as one of the best and most prolific character actors of the ‘80s and ‘90s, there’s a chance that the legendary Bill Cobbs has appeared in several of your favorite movies or TV shows. A versatile talent, his presence was one that was always welcomed on whatever screen he graced. It’s that momentous legacy that brings us here today, as we remember Mr. Cobbs in light of his passing at the age of 90.

As reported by TMZ, Bill Cobbs’ death was confirmed by Chuck I. Jones, his publicist. While not totally confirmed, the suspected cause of death is a recent case of pneumonia that Mr. Cobbs was fighting through. Having just recently celebrated his 90th birthday, Bill died at home last night.

Cobbs is perhaps best known for his roles as Reginald, one of the formerly villainous night guards from the Night at the Museum franchise, and manager Bill Devaney from the Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner hit The Bodyguard. But to say that Bill Cobbs made his career through parts in the best ‘90s movies is an understatement, as the Cleveland-born entertainer built his name through both TV and movies for almost 50 years.

Bill Cobbs’ credits stretch as far back as 1974’s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, with his final film acting gig coming from the 2022 movie Caroltyn. TV wise, Bill had guest spots ranging from Good Times to the stellar series finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as main cast roles in titles like I’ll Fly Away and The Slap Maxwell Story.

That last show had Cobbs mixing things up with the late Dabney Coleman, which only highlights the actor’s colleagues were as varied as his projects. If there's anything to take away from Bill Cobbs and his resume, it's that the man could fit in anywhere, and do anything.

As an example, take this scene from Demolition Man, in which Cobbs gets to drop some much-needed exposition with co-stars Sandra Bullock and Bob Gunton:

While it’s not shown in this clip, the moment that really ties together Bill Cobbs’ presence in one of the best Sylvester Stallone films is the one where his character reunites with Stallone’s cryo-thawed John Spartan. Taking over the role in an older incarnation, you totally feel his friendship with Sly is legit. Always economical and never unwelcomed, Mr. Cobbs was the epitome of a character actor who knew how to crush any amount of screen time given.

The breadth of Bill Cobbs’ career is clearly too vast to encapsulate, which is one of the greatest compliments I can provide the man. And that’s while also acknowledging that no matter if you agree that That Thing You Do’s extended cut is superior or not, I think we can all agree that Cobbs once again crushed it as in-universe jazz drummer Del Paxton.

It’s in the spirit of that Tom Hanks masterwork I choose to invoke to truly commemorate Bill’s passing. Today we mourn his loss, while also acknowledging that he will always be our biggest fan. We here at CinemaBlend would like to share our sincerest condolences with Bill Cobbs’ friends and family. May his memory comfort them when they most need it as they navigate this time of grief and remembrance.