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Friday, December 05, 2008

He was just as God made him, sir! Paul Benedict has passed away

Sad news out of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts: veteran character actor Paul Benedict, who was perhaps best known as British neighbor Harry Bentley on the classic sitcom The Jeffersons, has died at the age of 70.

If you grew up in the late Seventies and into the Eighties, Benedict was just about everywhere. His portrayal of Mr. Bentley was the biggest reason why a lot of people tuned in to The Jeffersons every week... 'cuz Bentley was probably one of the funniest characters in television history.

Benedict also did quite a bit of film work. One of the earliest roles that I remember him from was Jeremiah Johnson, which was a drastic - and dramatic - departure from much of the rest of his resume. A lot of people will note that he was in This is Spinal Tap, where he uttered the immortal line "I am just as God made me, sir!" And he was also seen as a bizarre film professor in The Freshman.

But child of the Eighties that I am, I would be remiss if I did not mention what to many of my generation was Paul Benedict's greatest role: that of "The Mad Painter", the strange man who went all over New York City painting numbers - for reasons which were only clear to him - in a serious of classic short films that ran on Sesame Street. So in toasting the memory of a fine actor, let's see him paint "9" one more time...


bmovies said...
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bmovies said...

Goodbye to "Mr. Bentley" (as I knew him on The Jeffersons)

As for his Mad Painter videos, my personal favorite was number 6 (the one with the cake). Man, but I havent seen these Mad Painter videos for somwhere around 30 years.

Forrest Ackerman also died:


Anonymous said...

Oh wow---I didn't realize I'd literally been watching him my whole life, from Sesame Street to Spinal Tap. RIP.

bmovies said...

By the way, the Wiki page on the Mad Painter: