Paul Benedict, RIP

I haven’t seen much mention of Paul Benedict’s passage, and I know that most of the obits will list him as the neighbor on The Jeffersons, but beyond that, Paul Benedict was one of the good signs that a film was being properly cast. Sure, sure, The Jeffersons is what I’d probably first rely on when getting someone to put a face to the name; TV is like that, and he did a good job there. But it wasn’t the first place I’d see him (that would be Sesame Street, where he was in pantomime film bits trying to paint numbers on things, things that wouldn’t tend to be there once he got paint on his brush, thus leaving him painting the wrong things.) And it wasn’t where he most impressed. His director in the original version of The Goodbye Girl, calling for a radical reinterpretation of Richard III, or his professor in The Freshman, crossing the line between officious and toadying at a moment’s notice when faced with real power, are gems. And then there’s his small but delightful roles in Christopher Guest comedies like Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, and Best in Show. He could be a very funny man, and I’m glad he was around.

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Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 8:10 am  Leave a Comment  

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