Paul Benjamin

From his debut performance in "Midnight Cowboy" through his work in "Do The Right Thing," Paul Benjamin has appeared in some landmark films in his screen career. After studying at the Herbert Berghof Studio, Benjamin began to appear on New York stages, and made his screen debut as a bartender in Joel Schlesinger's 1969 drama, "Midnight Cowboy." A series of smaller roles throughout the '70s were punctuated by larger supporting parts, memorably in the New York cops-and-mobsters thriller "Across 110th Street." This led to more work, notably opposite the iconic Pam Grier in "Friday Foster," and in a memorable role as English in Clint Eastwood's prison thriller, "Escape from Alcatraz." Benjamin's career slowed in the '80s until 1989, when he won the part of ML in Spike Lee's heated day-in-the-life-of-Brooklyn drama, "Do The Right Thing." This role helped him get plenty of work throughout the '90s, in everything from Robert Townsend's "The Five Heartbeats" to a small part in John Singleton's "Rosewood," a historical look at a racist lynch mob. TV and film work kept rolling in for Benjamin into the 2000s, and he received high marks as part of the ensemble in the 2003 indie hit "The Station Agent." Benjamin's work slowed considerably following that film; his final film appearance came in the indie "Occupy Texas" (2016). Paul Benjamin died in Los Angeles on June 28, 2019