“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 boasts a four decade illustrious career in the entertainment business. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he now lives with his beautiful wife Denise in Los Angles, California. Earl learned his craft at the famed Karamu House Theater in Cleveland, Ohio.
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 is 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 GUIDED, MANCUSO FBI, NEW ATTITUDE, THE PARKERS, MOESHA and SOUTH CENTRAL. He has guest stared in over 100 television comedy and drama shows.
Earl has stared in roles in J.D.’s REVENGE, STAKEOUT, CRIMSON TIDE, ONE FALSE MOVE, ANTWONE FISHER, MR. 3000, AMERICAN SPLENDOR, and SOMETHING NEW, among others. He was also the football official trying to fine change for a dollar in the very popular SOUTHWEST AIRLINE commercial. He is currently the key actor in the AFLAC commercials running since 1999.
He has never been to far from his theater roots having acted at the MARK TAPER FORM, 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.
Maybe it’s his Cleveland upbringing, but Billings takes a low-key approach to making 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.”
Posted by Margaret Bernstein/Plain Dealer Reporter December 12, 2007 20:00PM
(COURTESY OF EARL BILLINGS)
Character actor Earl Billings, who grew up in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant area, is perhaps best known for his Aflac commercials.