( b. Sep 17, 1938 Silver City, New Mexico, USA - d. Dec 01, 2008 Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA ) Male
In an acting troupe that included Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, and Al Pacino, the person who stood out more than any other in the Theatre Company of Boston during the 1960s was Paul Benedict. The long-jawed actor found a touch of menace in the most comic parts and a touch of the absurd in the most serious roles.
Mr. Benedict, who also acted locally with the American Repertory Theatre, would have his own share of success on television and in the movies, playing the English neighbor Harry Bentley on the CBS series "The Jeffersons" from 1975 to 1985. He also appeared in the Christopher Guest comedies "This Is Spinal Tap," "Waiting for Guffman," and "A Mighty Wind."
Mr. Benedict grew up in Boston and attended Suffolk University. He became a regular at the Theatre Company of Boston from 1963 to 1968 before moving to New York. He also often appeared with Robert Brunstein (ART founder) in readings together at the Vineyard Playhouse in Martha’s Vineyard.
His last ART performance was in May 2007, in Pinter's "No Man's Land." He played Hirst, a character facing his mortality. "It didn't matter that it was a part made famous by Ralph Richardson," said David Wheeler, who directed the show. "He was undaunted."
In the Times interview, Mr. Benedict expressed no bitterness over being typecast as an oddball. What he said of playing the pompous Professor Fleeber in the film, "The Freshman," could describe his approach to all his roles: "I try to make each of the characters different. I think the trick is to cement in the reality, to make it logical and real to yourself. Once there's a reality, I think you can make it as crazy as you want it to be."
Source: The Boston Globe 12/4/08