You may remember him as Keith Anderson on the 70s sitcom Good Times – he was the pro football player who marries Thelma Evans in the final season, but breaks his leg on his way out of the church. The man who played him, Ben Powers, reportedly died two weeks ago at age 64.
The cause of the actor’s death on April 6 has not been released. The media only became aware that he died after his family released his obituary, E! Online reported. His co-star, Bern Nadette Stanis, was saddened by the news that he died.
“My condolences goes out to the family of Ben Powers who past a few days ago. He was a great actor and great friend who is gone too soon. He will be missed by many. Until next lifetime my friend.”
Though Good Times was Powers’ most famous role, the actor featured in many shows and films and caught the attention of Hollywood for being a multi-talented stand-up comedian with a knack for impressions.
The actor was born in Brooklyn, but raised in Providence by his grandparents. Ben was evidently a talented artist, attending the Rhode Island School of Design for painting and sketching before he turned his attention to acting, The Hollywood Reporter added.
Not only did Powers have talents in the visual arts, he was also an accomplished pianist, singer, and composer who liked to include those talents in his stand-up routines in Providence; his acting career began at the Trinity Repertory Theatre in that city.
Eventually, he grabbed the attention of a Hollywood agent after the actor did shows at the Playbloy Clubs in Los Angeles and Boston. From this, he got his first job on Laugh-In in 1977. He appeared on the sixth and final season of Good Times not long after, from 1978 to 1979.
Good Times followed a poor black family who lived in the Chicago projects, and he appeared in 23 episodes of the sitcom, the New York Daily News added. But this was only the start – he acted in many other TV shows: Laverne & Shirley, The Greatest American Hero, The New Odd Couple, and was Moochie in Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer; and in film, nabbing roles in Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie, Things Are Tough All Over and The Man Who Loved Women.
[Photo Courtesy YouTube Screengrab]