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Billy Benedict (1917-1999)
Billy BenedictBilly Benedict

Old Friend, February 4, 1967 Written by Clyde Ware, Directed by Allen Resiner, Guest Cast: Fritz Weaver, Delphi Lawrence, Valentin de Vargas, Carlos Rivas, David Renard, Lew Brown, William Benedict

Every Bowery Boy fan remembers him best as 'Whitey' one of the most beloved of the gang, but he had a long and busy career as a character actor in films and TV. He was short, slim and had platinum-white hair framing an always smiling face. He was born in Haskell, Oklahoma on April 16, 1917 and raised in the Tulsa area. He developed a yen for performing in his Tulsa high school drama class. At age 17 he left Oklahoma for california hoping for a career in dancing. Learning that dancers were commonplace in Hollywood, he opted for acting jobs. With his whitish hair and mousy look he was a natural for juvenile roles and in 1935 made his film debut in "$10 Raise." In later years, after appearing in the 'Dead End Kids' series as Skinny and the 'Bowery Boys' series as Whitey, he successfully made the transition to character roles. He was sometimes billed as Bill Benedict or William Benedict. Among his film credits are: "Way Down East" (1935) as Amos; "The Farmer Takes a Wife" (1935) uncredited as Boy; "Doubting Thomas" (1935) as Caddy; "Meet Nero Wolfe" (1936) as Johnny, Barstow's Caddy; "The Country Doctor" (1936) with Jean Hersholt, as the Gawker; "Bringing Up Baby" (1938) as a Caddy; "King of the Newsboys" (1938) as Squimpy; "Adventures of Red Ryder" (1940) as Ira Withers; "My Little Chickadee" (1940) with W.C. Fields & Mae West, uncredited as Lem; "Tuxedo Junction" (1941) as Piecrust; "Adventures of Captain Marvel" (1941) a serial, as Whitey Murphy; "Junior G-men of the Air" (1942) a serial, as Whitey; "Talk of the Town" (1942) with Cary Grant, uncredited as Western Union Boy; "The Ox-Bow Incident" (1943) uncredited as Greene; "Million Dollar Kid" (1944) as Skinny; "Follow the Boys" (1944) as Joe, a Soldier; "Bowery Buckaroos" (1947) as Whitey; "Magnetic Monster" (1953) as Albert; "The Hallelujah Trail" (1965) as Simpson; "The Sting" (1973) as Roulette Dealer; "Homebodies" (1974) as Watchman and "Born Again" (1978) as Leon Jaworski, his final theatrical film. On TV he was a regular on the series: "Petticoat Junction" (1963) as Willie Trankis and guest starred on such series as: "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok"; "Perry Mason"; "Twilight Zone"; "Gunsmoke"; "I Dream of Jeannie"; "The Monkees"; "All in the Family"; "Mission: Impossible"; "Little House on the Prairie" and "Hill Street Blues." He died on November 25, 1999 of complications following heart surgery in Los Angeles, California at age 82.

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