Paul Benjamin

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This article is about the actor. For the author who used the pseudonym Paul Benjamin, see Paul Auster.
Paul Benjamin
Born 1938 (age 76–77)
Pelion, South Carolina, U.S.
Occupation Film, television actor
Years active 1969-present

Paul Benjamin (born 1938) is an American actor.[1]

Benjamin was born in Pelion, South Carolina. He made his film debut in 1969 as a bartender in Midnight Cowboy.[1] After a small role in Sidney Lumet's The Anderson Tapes,[1] he did extensive television work in the 1970s.

A few notable exceptions were a major role in Barry Shear's Across 110th Street, and smaller parts in Gordon Parks' biopic Lead Belly, Arthur Marks' Friday Foster, and Don Siegel's prison film Escape from Alcatraz. He gave exceptional performances in the TV adaptations of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and Gideon's Trumpet. He later starred in the HBO movie The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains, based on the novel by Robert E. Burns.

On the big screen in the 1990s, Benjamin worked with some well known directors. He acted in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing,[1] Robert Townsend's The Five Heartbeats,[1] Bill Duke's Hoodlum, and John Singleton's Rosewood.

On television, he appeared in the 1994 pilot episode of ER, which led to his recurring role of homeless man Al Ervin during the next few seasons. Benjamin also worked on the American Masters documentary of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ralph Ellison, which aired on PBS. He also acted in an episode of The Shield.[1]

After 2000, he acted mainly in independent films like Stanley's Gig, The Station Agent,[1] Deacons For Defense, and James Hunter's 2005 drama Back in the Day.


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