William Benedict, film and TV character actor remembered for his roles in the East Side Kids and Bowery Boys comedies of the 1940s and 1950s, died Nov. 25 from complications of heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 82.
He played the character Skinny in some of the low-budget East Side Kids films about the exploits of a tough gang of New York youngsters. During the 1940s and ’50s, Benedict made regular appearances as Whitey in the Bowery Boys films, popular successors to the East Side Kids starring Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall.
Born in Haskell, Okla., he was a newsboy and a plumber’s assistant before making his screen debut in “$10 Raise” (Fox, 1935) followed by numerous bits in films. In 1943 he played the role of Skinny Benny in “The East Side Kids Meet Bela Lugosi” which resulted in steady work with the Gorcey-Hall team at Monogram.
Throughout his career, Benedict appeared in more than 150 films including the first 24 episodes of the Bowery Boys shorts made between 1946 and 1951. He also had parts in numerous TV shows including “Gunsmoke,” “Hill Street Blues,” “The Dukes of Hazard,” “All in the Family,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Here’s Lucy” and a recurring role in “Petticoat Junction.”
He is survived by his sister, three nieces and a nephew.
Services will be held 11:30 a.m. Friday at Forest Lawn Glendale.