Paul Benedict
Paul Benedict

Paul Benedict played the part of Harry Bentley on the series.

Personal Information
Born: (1938-09-17)September 17, 1938
Birthplace: Silver City, New Mexico, U.S.
Died December 1, 2008(2008-12-01) (aged 70)
Deathplace: Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, U.S.
Film/TV and stage actor
Years active: 1965–2008
Character information
Appeared on: The Jeffersons
Episodes appeared in: 145 episodes in Seasons 1-5 and 8-11
Character played: Harry Bentley
Jeffersons Wiki Script Gold

Paul Benedict (September 17, 1938 – December 1, 2008) appeared on The Jeffersons as Harry Bentley, the eccentric next-door neighbor of George and Louise who appeared in Seasons 1-5 and then 8-11. Paul, who made numerous appearances in television and movies beginning in 1965, was known for his roles as The Number Painter on the popular PBS children's show Sesame Street, and his role as the quirky English neighbor Mr. Bentley on The Jeffersons.

Early life Edit

Benedict was born in Silver City, New Mexico, the son of Alma Marie (née Loring), a journalist, and Mitchell M. Benedict, a doctor.[1] He grew up in Massachusetts. As a young man, he suffered from acromegalia, a pituitary disorder that affects the extremities and face, which accounted for his slightly oversized jaw and large nose.

Film & TV workEdit

Benedict was best known for his role as Harry Bentley on the television show The Jeffersons. He played this role from 1975 when the show began until 1981, and then returned in 1983 and remained until the end of the show in 1985. His character was an Englishman who lived in the apartment next door to George and Louise Jefferson. He worked at the United Nations as a translator and was a bachelor. He was liked by all of the other characters on the show except for George Jefferson, who found him annoying, but they became more friendly as the show progressed. Harry was also known for telling long, and often boring stories, about his past, particularly about his childhood and relatives in England.

In the movie The Goodbye Girl (1977) which co-starred Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason, Benedict played the stage director of a production of Richard III in which Richard III was to be portrayed in the play as a stereotypical gay man. He was the patiently-eccentric butler in Dr. Necessiter's Gothic-castle apartment in The Man With Two Brains (1983). In 1988 he played 'Fairchild' Dudley Moore's butler in the movie 'Arthur 2: On the Rocks'. That same year in the film Cocktail he would play a condescending business college professor to Tom Cruise's main character. In the 1990 film The Freshman, he would again play a condescending professor, this time an NYU film school professor of Matthew Broderick's main character. He also made an appearance as the incorrectly assumed title character in the 1996 film Witing for Guffman, another mockumentary involving many of the same writers and actors as This Is Spinal Tap.

Paul also played the role of a slave trader in Dino De Laurentiis's Mandingo opposite James Mason and Perry King in 1975. Perhaps his best known movie role was of the Reverend Lindquist in the 1972 Sydney Pollack film Jeremiah Johnson. He also appeared on one episode of Seinfeld as a magazine editor with The New Yorker who was questioned by Elaine about a cartoon in the magazine.


In addition to his varied film and television roles, Paul was an accomplished theater actor as well, having appeared on Broadway numerous times, notably in Eugene O'Neill's 2-character play Hughie in 1996 (performing with Al Pacino) at Circle in the Square, and more recently in The Music Man in 2000–2001.

In 2007, Benedict performed as "Hirst" in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[2]

Directorial worksEdit

As a director, Benedict directed Frank D. Gilroy's Any Given Day on Broadway. Off-Broadway, he directed the original production of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, and Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney's The Kathy and Mo Show, which won an Obie Award.


On December 1, 2008, Benedict was found dead of unknown causes at his home in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. He was 70 years old.[3]

He was awarded a posthumous Elliot Norton Award by the Boston Theater Critics Association in 2009.[4]

References Edit

  1. Paul Benedict Biography (1938–). Film Reference. Retrieved on 2008-12-16.
  2. Past Productions: No Man's Land. American Repertory Theatre. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-12-16.
  3. Siegel, Ed. "Paul Benedict, 70; actor at home in TV sitcoms, modern and classical dramas", The Boston Globe, NY Times Co., 2008-12-04. Retrieved on 2008-12-16. 
  4. Rizzo, Frank. "Benedict honored with Boston award", Variety, Reed Elsevier, April 16, 2009. Retrieved on April 22, 2009. 

External links Edit