"Do The Right Thing" Actor Paul Benjamin Passes Away At 81

Spike Lee paid his respects to entertainer Paul Benjamin earlier this week after the veteran actor passed away. Benjamin has been featured in dozen of films since the inception of his career back in 1969, but many fans recognize him as one of the trash talking, neighborhood old heads in Lee’s iconic 1989 film, Do the Right Thing. 

“I’m Sad To Write That The Great Actor PAUL BENJAMIN (Who Played ML, {Far Left} One Of The Cornermen Passed This Past Friday, 2 Days Before The 30th Anniversary Of DO THE RIGHT THING,” Lee shared on Instagram. “Rest In Paradise. Born 1/1/38. Died 6/28/19.” Benjamin’s impressive credits include features in Some Kind of Hero with Richard Pryor, The Five Heartbeats with Robert Townsend, John Singleton’s film Rosewood, Nuts opposite Barbra Streisand, and Pink Cadillac starring Clint Eastwood. The 81-year-old South Carolina native was also known for his many television roles including spots on ERIn the Heat of the Night, The Shield, Law & Order, Angel, and New York Undercover

“I am so sad to hear about the passing of Paul Benjamin,” Robert Townsend wrote on Twitter. “He was a brilliant actor and I had the pleasure to work with him on THE FIVE HEARTBEATS he played Eddie’s father. My prayers go out to his family at this time. Rest in paradise King.” Orlando Jones paid his respects by writing, “Paul Benjamin was gifted human. He directed the first play I wrote for Naked Angels. As an actor he created nuanced characters. As an artist he took youngsters like me under his wing. Rest in Peace brother. Condolences to your family.”

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