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Paul Benjmain, the veteran actor who starred in such films as HoodlumRosewoodThe Five Heartbeats and famously as “ML” in Spike Lee‘s Do The Right Thing has passed away.

The news was confirmed by Lee on Instagram as the celebration for the 30th anniversary of Do The Right Thing occurred this past weekend.

“’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,” Lee wrote.

The youngest of twelve children, Benjamin was born in Pelion, South Carolina to a Baptist preacher, the Reverend Fair Benjamin and his wife Rosa. With a career that spanned well over four decades, Benjamin starred in ’70s classics such as Across 100th Street and also alongside Pam Grier in Friday Foster.

He famously starred in a 1989 episode of In The Heat Of The Night titled “A Trip Upstate” where he played opposite Carroll O’Connor.

Benjamin was 81 years old.

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Paul Benjamin, ‘Do The Right Thing’ Actor Dead At 81  was originally published on