Earl Billings


“I once sat down to a Tea Party with a four year old girl and got an Acting lesson.

I played with a ball of string with a kitten and learned focus.

I sat at a bus stop and listen to an old man talk and learned to listen.

I’ve held a dying man and breathed with him until he stopped.

This is the work of actors, feeling the life.” 

Earl Billings enjoys a storied career in acting that stretches over 30 years. A veteran of stage and screen-work, Earl Billings was born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 4, 1945. His experience in the business of acting ranged from minor roles to more improved, longer-lasting screen appearances. Early on, he gained notoriety for his role in Aflac commercials. His presence has been attached to such notable television series of the 1970s and 1980s including The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk, The Jeffersons, and Knight Rider. His stocky, heavy build often lent him roles as ‘everyday men’ or police officers or guards. Not excluding his work in film, Earl appeared in Crimson Tide starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, Con Air, starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and John Malkovich and Thank You for Smokingstarring Aaron Eckhart. He has made a strong standing in television work with episode credits on Walker, Texas Ranger, Ally McBeal, ER, Without a Trace, and How I Met Your Mother during the latter 1990s and early to mid-2000s. In the late 2000’s Earl appeared on television series including Miss Guided in 2008, followed by the vampire drama True Blood in that same year. In 2010, Earl also made appearances on Cold Case, Parenthood, and Raising Hope.

Earl Billings boasts a four-decade illustrious career in the entertainment business. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he now lives with his wife Denise in Los Angles, California.

Earl learned his craft at the famed Karamu House Theater in Cleveland, Ohio.

Earl Billings — with Jean Hawkins, Nolan Bell, and Rueben Silver.

He would eventually become the Director of Performing Arts at Karamu House and Director of Performing Arts at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. In Arkansas, he made his feature film his debut in United Artist film WHITE LIGHTNING. Soon, he became Artistic Director of the Free Southern Theater, a radical civil rights theater group in New Orleans.

Recognizable in name and face from the professional theatre to film and television he moved to Los Angeles he landed a recurring role on the hit series WHAT’S HAPPENING!, as Rob, the proprietor of ‘Rob’s Place”. He would later have recurring or starring roles on MISS GUIDEDMANCUSO FBINEW ATTITUDETHE PARKERSMOESHA and SOUTH CENTRAL. He has guest starred in over 100 television comedy and drama shows.

What’s Happening!
With Judy Pace and Shirley Hemphill

ONE FALSE MOVE — with Kevin L.Hunter and Carl Franklin.


A Soldiers Play by Charles Fuller at Mark Taper Forum 
Kene Holliday, Earl Billings, Bill Overton, Charles Weldon, Denzel Washington,                                      Larry Riley, Adolph Caesar,

FENCES by August Wilson
with Charles Weldon

Earl Billings portraying Mr. Boats and Judah Friedlander portraying Toby Radloff reads comics in American Splendor.

Jeff Rolle, Jr. and Earl Billings in No Place to Be Somebody at Waco Theater Center. (Photo by LeReef Photography)

Two Trains Running by August Wilson – Ebony Repertory Theatre –  Russell Hornsby, Glynn Turman, Roger Robinson, Ellis E. Williams, Earl Billings, Felton Perry

TWO TRAINS by August Wilson
with Russell Hornsby

Earl Billings in Seven Days (1998)

Earl has stared in roles in J.D.’s REVENGESTAKEOUTCRIMSON TIDEONE FALSE MOVEANTWONE FISHERMR. 3000AMERICAN SPLENDOR, and SOMETHING NEW, among others. He was also the football official trying to find change for a dollar in the very popular SOUTHWEST AIRLINE commercial. He is currently the key actor in the AFLAC commercials running since 1999.

Alfre Woodard (left) and Earl Billings (right) star in Sanaa Hamri’s Something New, a Focus Features release. Photo by Sidney Baldwin




Movin’ On
Phillip Michael Thomas and Earl Billings

He has never been to far from his theater roots having acted at the MARK TAPER FORUM, LOS ANGELES THEATER COMPANY, DENVER THEATER CENTER, ASLO THEATER, and TRUE COLORS in Atlanta, ST. LOUIS BLACK REP, and the new EBONY THEATER opening in Los Angeles of TWO TRAINS RUNNING.

Ebony Repertory Theatre at NHPAC – “Two Trains Running” Glynn Turman (Lead Actor in a Play), and Wren T. Brown (Production of a Play – Large Theatre, Ebony Repertory Theatre). (With:
Earl Billings – Russell Hornsby – Felton Perry – Roger Robinson – Glynn Turman – Michole Briana White – Ellis E. Williams


Maybe it’s his Cleveland upbringing, but Billings takes a low-key approach to make a living in the limelight. He has never hired a publicist and has been known to say he’s a plumber when golfing with strangers. He once chided Burt Reynolds for complaining about always being mobbed by fans. “It’s because you’re driving a $250,000 car,” Billings pointed out dryly, referring to Reynolds’ showy Stutz Bearcat.

“I’m considered a star, but I’m an accessible person,” Billings said.

“People wave and say hello.   But I’m not gonna make anybody’s day,” he said, laughing that familiar laugh. “And that’s all right with me.” 

Jerry Giles Photography.

Character actor Earl Billings, who grew up in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant area, is perhaps best known for his Aflac commercials.

ONE OF KARAMU HOUSE GREATS COMES HOME! Karamu alum, film, tv and stage star Earl Billings (Antoine Fisher, Crimson Tide, One False Move, American Splendor, Aflac commercials) poses with some of "The Color Purple" cast members during the Karamu Alum Association pre-show reception on Sunday Oct. 21, 2012.

Karamu alum, film, tv and stage star Earl Billings (Antoine Fisher, Crimson Tide, One False Move, American Splendor, Aflac commercials) poses with some of “The Color Purple” cast members during the Karamu Alum Association pre-show reception on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012.