With a career spanning over three decades, Sinbad rose to fame in the late 1980s and 1990s as a stand-up comedian and actor. Known for his clean and family-friendly humor, Sinbad’s comedic style resonated with a wide audience. His larger-than-life personality and engaging storytelling made him a household name. But what has happened to this once-ubiquitous entertainer?
Sinbad was born David Adkins on November 10, 1956, in Benton Harbor, Michigan, to Louise and Baptist minister Dr. Donald Beckley Adkins Sr.
He has five siblings and his paternal grandmother was of Irish descent. Sinbad attended Benton Harbor High School, graduating in 1974, and then went on to the University of Denver in Colorado. There, he spent two seasons on the university’s basketball team before graduating in 1978.
Sinbad’s military service included serving in the United States Air Force as a boom operator aboard KC-135 Stratotankers. Stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, he would often perform stand-up comedy in the city and even competed in the Air Force’s Talent Contest in 1981.
However, his time in the military was marked by misbehavior, including going AWOL and nearly facing a dishonorable discharge. His mother pleaded with him to return, but Sinbad’s defiance continued, leading to his eventual discharge for something as trivial as “parking my car in the wrong position.”
Comedy and Acting Career
Sinbad’s journey into entertainment began with stand-up comedy. After serving in the United States Air Force, he pursued a career in comedy, participating in “Star Search” in the mid-1980s and winning against Dennis Miller on the show, but losing in the finals..
He was cast in “The Redd Foxx Show” and later landed a significant role in “A Different World” as Coach Walter Oakes from 1988 to 1991. His character, Walter, engaged in a romantic relationship with Jaleesa Vinson but they eventually called off their wedding.
In the early 1990s, Sinbad’s popularity led to “The Sinbad Show,” where he played a bachelor becoming a foster parent. Around this time, he received joint custody of his two children, which informed his perspective on single parenting.
He emphasized the importance of responsibility and mentoring in parenting, expressing frustration with negative stereotypes about black men. Despite earning a nomination at the Kids’ Choice Awards, “The Sinbad Show” was canceled in 1994.
After his sitcom The Sinbad Show ended in 1994, Sinbad went on to appear in several films throughout the late 1990s, including Houseguest (1995), First Kid (1996), and Jingle All the Way (1996). He voiced characters in animated projects like Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996) and Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (1995-1999).
In the 2000s, Sinbad had guest roles on TV shows like Girlfriends, Resurrection Blvd., and Cosby. He also starred in the series Rel from 2018-2019.
What Is Sinbad Doing Now?
In October 2020, Sinbad’s life took a dramatic turn when he suffered an ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot traveling from his heart to his brain. The initial thrombectomy to remove the clot was successful, and the prognosis was promising. However, another blood clot formed the next day, leading to a second surgery that took a toll on his health. Complications continued as his brain began to swell, resulting in a craniotomy and a medically-induced coma.
Sinbad’s family described the devastation they felt, stating, “It would be weeks before he would open his eyes, speak or show signs of basic mobility. It wasn’t long before we realized he couldn’t move his left side or simply hold his head up. The more time passed, the more the family learned how much had been lost.”
After being weaned off the ventilator, Sinbad began intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy in May 2021. His family noted that he made “considerable progress toward recovery,” and he finally returned home in July 2021, nearly nine months after his stroke.
Sinbad’s recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. His family shares, “Limbs that were said to be ‘dead’ are coming alive, and he’s taking the steps necessary to learn to walk again.” His determination is evident in his own words: “I am not done. I will not stop fighting until I can walk across the stage again.”
Despite beating the odds with a survival rate of approximately 30% for this type of event, Sinbad’s journey is far from over. The family has set up a donation page to help cover medical expenses, as insurance does not cover the full costs of his therapy.
In recent interviews, Sinbad has expressed a desire to return to stand-up comedy once his health permits. He remains optimistic and determined, reflecting on his career with pride and looking forward to future opportunities.