Joe Seneca

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Joe Seneca
Born (1919-01-14)January 14, 1919
Cleveland, Ohio
Died August 15, 1996(1996-08-15) (aged 77)
Roosevelt Island, New York

Joe Seneca (January 14, 1919 – August 15, 1996) was an American film and television actor who had a lengthy Hollywood career, portraying bit parts in many major films- He played the role of daddy/Ezra to Mal (Danny Glover's character) in the big screen film Silverado, and television sitcoms spanning from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Life and career[edit]

Seneca was born Joel McGhee in Cleveland, Ohio. Prior to his Hollywood career, Seneca belonged to the R&B singing group "The Three Riffs", performing at upscale supper clubs in New York City. He was also a songwriter and had big hits with "Talk to Me" which was sung by Little Willie John and "Break It to Me Gently", which was a smash twice, once by Brenda Lee in 1962, and once by Juice Newton in 1982. His song "It's Gonna Work Out Fine" was recorded by Ike & Tina Turner, Manfred Mann, Ry Cooder and The Spencer Davis Group.

Arguably his most well-known roles are that of bluesman Willie Brown in Crossroads and Dr. Meddows in The Blob, the evil head of a government team sent to contain the title creature.

Seneca also made multiple appearances on The Cosby Show as Hillman President Dr. Zachariah J. Hanes. He also played Alvin Newcastle,[1] a man suffering from Alzheimer's disease, on an episode of The Golden Girls entitled "Old Friends." Joe appeared in Spike Lee's School Daze as the Mission College President McPherson in 1988.

Joe appeared on Matlock, in the May 9, 1989 episode "The Blues Singer".

Joe appeared in Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" Music Video In the late 80's.

He died from asthma at the age of 77.[2]


  1. ^ The Golden Girls Season 3 episode 52; air date September 19, 1987
  2. ^

External links[edit]