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Old 01-16-2019, 03:39 AM   #1
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Unhappy Actor Ben Bennett (Various Roles) 1929-2018


November 25, 1929 - December 25, 2018 Ben Bennett of Studio City, CA, died peacefully on Christmas Day 2018, 1 month after his 89th birthday. Born in Van Nuys, CA, to Caroline Winans Bennett & William Dudley Bennett, Ben attended Van Nuys High School and went on to graduate from U.C.L.A. as a drama major and was President of the Sigma Chi fraternity in 1951. He also worked summers at Camp High Sierra in Mammoth as a teenager. After U.C.L.A., Ben was drafted into the Army and was stationed in Tokyo during the Korean War as part of the Army unit that entertained troops on leave. Upon his return Ben partnered up with his old college friend, Dick Patterson, to form the comedy team of "Bennett & Patterson." They performed across the country and also opened for Frank Sinatra and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Ben stopped performing when he met & married, his "Swedish War Bride," Margit. He was an actor for a time and appeared on such shows as "Ozzie & Harriet." Then came a long stint with Wolper Productions which then led to the defining occupation of his working life, proprietor of The Production Center in Beverly Hills which rented out offices & production space to film industry independents. Typical of his self-deprecating sense of humor, he called himself the "Slumlord." Unique to Ben was his rejection of standard business practices; he ran The Production Center and a successful typewriter rental business, Pilot Rentals, on a month-to-month basis with no lease contracts & no deposits. Hardly ever a vacancy! He would goad rent payers into paying him on time by saying, "Times are tough for little guys like me. If you can't afford to pay a bill, don't pay AT&T, they can afford it, I can't!" Ben had many old expressions, like "I need that like a moose needs a hat rack" or "I didn't just fall off the turnip truck." Having endured the hard times of The Great Depression, he saved everything! String, wood scraps, wrapping paper…nothing got thrown out until it had been repurposed 2 or 3 times. A humble man, he accomplished many amazing things yet seldom "tooted his own horn." He counted himself among the "little guys" and would help the helpless, be it an animal or some "lost waif." Entertaining and funny, he humored angry people into laughter and had the unique ability to tell people to "stuff it" and have them say "Thank You" afterwards. His sayings and office memos were famous. He could fix practically anything; "How did you do that?" people asked. "Just magic I guess," was a common reply but the real explanation was, "Just look at it. Really look at it, and then use some common sense." He was determined & he persevered, "Try, just Try" was a common fatherly challenge. An accomplishment of his that few know – In the late '60s – early '70s, as president of the Studio City Residents Assoc., he was at the center of the defeat of the proposed 'Century Freeway' construction project that would have put a major thoroughfare through Laurel Canyon. Inspired by "Miracle on 34th Street," Ben "trekked" to Sacramento & dramatically spilled 4 suitcases filled with anti-freeway petitions onto the State Senate floor, resulting in the defeat of funding for the freeway and the preservation of the residential neighborhoods from the Ventura Freeway to the 10…and unfortunately, perpetuating 50 years of traffic issues between The Valley and "the other side of the mountain." Ben is survived by his wife, Margit, his son & daughter-in-law, David & Heidi Bennett; his daughter & son-in-law, Christina & James Andrykowski and his 4 grandchildren, Ryan & Jason Bennett and Taylor & Easton Andrykowski. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, January 26 at 3:00pm at his home in Studio City.
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