Actor Paul Benedict dies at 70

Played Harry Bentley on 'The Jeffersons'

Paul Benedict, the actor who played the English neighbor Harry Bentley on the sitcom “The Jeffersons,” died Dec. 1 on Martha’s Vineyard in Mass. He was 70.

“The Jeffersons” ran on CBS from 1975 to ’85, and Benedict’s career spanned the 1960s to his most recent role in this year’s “Side by Each.”

Benedict began his acting career in the 1960s in the Theater Company of Boston, alongside such future stars as Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino. Known for his outsized lower jaw, he suffered from acromegaly as a young man. Although he was born in New Mexico, he was often thought to be British because of his “Jeffersons” role.

Benedict went on to appear in a number of movies, including a role as the oddball director in “The Goodbye Girl” with Richard Dreyfuss. He also appeared in numerous series, including “Sesame Street,” where he played the Mad Painter, “Kojak,” “Maude,” “All in the Family” and “The Guiding Light.”

He was a staple in Christopher Guest’s stock company, with roles in “A Mighty Wind,” “Waiting for Guffman” and “Spinal Tap.” He was also seen in 1970s cult pics such as “Deadhead Miles,” “Taking Off” and “Smile.”

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