By Dale Ricardo Shields
“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 William Billings; was born on July 4, 1945, in Cleveland, Ohio.
He is an American actor.
Earl gained recognition for his participation in ads for Aflac. He has appeared in many television shows and films, such as Antwone Fisher (2002), American Splendor (2003), and Something New (2006). He also starred in the short-lived ABC show Miss Guided, co-starring Judy Greer and Brooke Burns.
Earl Billings enjoys a storied career in acting that stretches over 30 years. A veteran of stage and screen-work,
Earl’s experience in the business of acting ranged from minor roles to more improved, longer-lasting screen appearances. 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 2000s, He 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.
Character actor Earl Billings, who grew up in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant area, is perhaps best known for his Aflac commercials.
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 GUIDED, MANCUSO FBI, NEW ATTITUDE, THE PARKERS, MOESHA and SOUTH CENTRAL. He has guest-starred in over 100 television comedy and drama shows.
Earl has starred 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 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.
He has never been too 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.
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.”