Bill Cobbs as Norman
Bill Cobbs was born and raised in Cleveland, the son of a cleaning lady and a construction worker. As an amateur actor in the city's Karamu House Theater, he starred in the Ossie Davis play Purlie Victorious. Cobbs worked as an Air Force radar technician for eight years, worked in office products at IBM, and sold cars in Cleveland. In 1970 at the age of 36, Cobbs left for New York to seek work as an actor. He supported himself by driving a cab, repairing office equipment, selling toys, and performing odd jobs. His first professional acting role was in Ride a Black Horse at the Negro Ensemble Company. From there Cobbs appeared in small theater productions, street theater, regional theater, and at the Eugene O'Neill Theater. He made his feature film debut in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three in 1974 and his first television credit was in Vegetable Soup, a New York public television educational series in 1976.
Since then, there's been no stopping him. Cobbs has acted in television shows The Drew Carey Show, Six Feet Under, NYPD Blue, West Wing, I'll Fly Away, Touched By An Angel, The Practice, Sopranos, ER, L.A. Law, Northern Exposure, Walker Texas Ranger, Designing Women, Outer Limits, The Others, and Sesame Street.
He has worked with directors Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Mike Nichols, Robert Young, Sydney Pollack, the Coen Bros., John Sayles, Wes Craven, Rob Reiner, Forest Whitaker, Tom Hanks, Mario Van Peebles, John Landis, John Badham, and Christopher Guest in the films The Color of Money, Bird, Dominick and Eugene, A Mighty Wind, Sunshine State, New Jack City, The Bodyguard, Silkwood, Trading Places, The Hudsucker Proxy, Ed, That Thing You Do!, Ghosts of Mississippi, Random Hearts, Hope Floats, People Under the Stairs, The Hard Way, Night at the Museum, and The Ultimate Gift. Cobbs recently finished working on Three Days to Vegas and The Morgue.