Actor Paul Benjamin, known as “Pink Cadillac” and “The Station Agent,” died at the age of 81, according to director Spike Lee, who worked with him for “Do the Right Thing”.Lee announced in a message published on Instagram that the actor had died on June 28th.
Among the roles of Benjamin he is a bank thief in “Across 110th Street” (1972), the father of a folk singer in Leadbelly (1976), the English prisoner in “Escape From Alcatraz” (1979) and Henry, the owner a fashion train shop in “The Station Agent” (2003).
In “Do the Right Thing” (1989), written and directed by Lee, Benjamin starred alongside Frankie Faison and Robin Harris. The three met every day to discuss current events.
Benjamin, the youngest of 12 brothers, was born in South Carolina and moved to New York, where he attended acting classes at Herbert Berghof’s studio. He debuted as a bartender in “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight.
He has starred in television productions such as “ER”, “Kojak” and “Law & Order”, but also on Broadway. In 1970, he was part of Sam Shepard’s “Operation Sidewinder”, and in 1971 he starred in “The Anderson Tapes,” by Sidney Lumet, and “Born to Win,” starring George Segal.
Among the films in which he starred include “Some Kind of Hero” (1982), Richard Pryor, Nuts (1987) with Barbra Straisand, and “Pink Cadillac” (1989) with Clint Eastwood.