Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Paul Benedict

I will always remember Paul Benedict as the Mad Painter on Sesame Street. Look for Stockard Channing.

But Paul Benedict will best be known as the actor who played the wacky English neighbor Harry Bentley on the sitcom The Jeffersons, Mr. Benedict died at at the age of 70. Benedict's oversized jaw and angular features were partly attributed to acromegaly, a pituitary disorder, he underwent medical treatment to prevent the disease from spreading and used his facial features for comic effect. Benedict stared in films like The Goodbye Girl (1977), The Man with Two Brains (1983) This Is Spinal Tap (1984), The Addams Family (1991) and the Christopher Guest comedies Waiting for Guffman (1997) and A Mighty Wind (2003).

After growing up in Boston (not England), Benedict attended the city's Suffolk University and began his acting career in the 1960s in the Theatre Company of Boston, performing alongside such future stars as Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino.On Broadway, he appeared opposite Pacino in Eugene O'Neill's two-character play Hughie in 1996 and played the mayor in a 2000 revival of The Music Man. His breakthrough show as a director was Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune in 1987, closely followed by The Kathy & Mo Show: Parallel Lives in 1989, both two-person sleepers that became off-Broadway hits.

To quote Paul Benedict, "I try to make each of the characters different. I think the trick is to cement in the reality, to make it logical and real to yourself. Once there's a reality, I think you can make it as crazy as you want it to be".

Good Night Mr. Benedict

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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