‘Do the Right Thing’ Actor Paul Benjamin Dead at 81

Actor Paul Benjamin, who appeared in Spike Lee’s debut 1989 film Do the Right Thing, died last week, the director announced on Wednesday. Benjamin was 81.

Lee took to Instagram to share a heartfelt tribute to Benjamin, who had died on June 28. The cause of death is not clear.

Benjamin played ML, one of the three wise Brooklyn “cornermen” that commented on the events of the neighborhood, in Lee’s iconic movie. One of his memorable lines in the film came after Radio Raheem was killed, and ML said, “It is plain as day; they didn’t have to kill the boy.”

“I’m Sad To Write That The Great Actor PAUL BENJAMIN (Who Played ML, {Far Left} One Of The Cornermen Passed This Past Friday,2 Days Before The 30th Anniversary Of DO THE RIGHT THING. Rest In Paradise. Born 1/1/38. Died 6/28/19”

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Born in South Carolina, Benjamin got his start as an actor playing a bartender in Midnight Cowboy, but went on to work in television and film throughout his career in projects like Sidney Lumet’s The Anderson Tapes and Born to Win, Escape From Alcatraz, Some Kind of Hero, ER, and Law & Order. He also starred alongside the likes of Richard Pryor, Barbara Streisand, and Clint Eastwood, according to Variety.

May he rest in power!


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