Whistler born Ethel Ayler, the Cosby Show queen passes away at 88. On the show, the veteran actress had a recurring role as Claire Huxtable’s mother, a mother-in-law to Bill Cosby.
The cause of her death was not revealed and she had been dead for at least 5 weeks, since November 18. She died in Loma Linda California and the news just appeared in in the Mobile Register and Baldwin County obituaries.
1957, Langston Hughes musical, “Simply Heavenly”, was Ethel’s first cameo on Broadway. She began acting in 1964 and her career lasted through five decades. She played “Hattie” in the “First Breeze of Summer” in 1975 which appeared in 1976 Movie of the Week. She played Hattie again in the 1990 “To Sleep with Anger” and was nominated under the Best Supporting Female category in the Independent Spirit Awards.
Ethel Spraggins Tyler studied at the Fisk University, Nashville and was voice major. She appeared in the original Broadway production of Wilson’s Fences between 1987 and 1988.
On the Cosby Show, she was Huxtable’s mother, giving insight to Phylicia Rashad’s Claire Huxtable while featuring between 1984 and 1992 in six episodes of the show.
Ethel played “Addie” in “The Little Foxes” her last stage appearance, in the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in 1997. Other screen appearances she starred in include “Kwamina”, “Family ties”, “Martin”, “The Bodyguard”, “The Cool World”, “Eden”, “ Weeks”, “Eve’s Bayou” and “Les Femmes Noires.”