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*Ben Powers was born on this date in 1949. He was a Black actor.
Alton A. “Ben” Powers was born in Younkers, NY, and was raised in Providence, RI, where he sang in his church choir and later attended the Rhode Island School of Design. He began his acting career at Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence. Powers choose acting after an injury ended an aspiring football career.
He sang and did impressions in standup comedy routines until he was discovered by a Hollywood agent and went on to perform at Playboy Clubs in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. Some of his impressions (e.g., Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis) were evidenced during a couple of "talent shows" that were held during a few episodes of "Good Times." Those jobs led to appearances on NBC’s Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, which led to his work in TV series and movies.
Powers was best known for his role as Keith Anderson on the Good Times sitcom that aired on CBS in the middle the to late 1970s; His character was the football player husband of Thelma Evans, played by Bernadette Stanis on the hit series by producers Norman Lear and Bud York. Powers also played the character Moochie on another CBS series, The New Mike Hammer, that starred Stacey Keach.
He also appeared in guest roles in the series Gimme A Break, Laverne & Shirley, The New Odd Couple, and The Great American Hero, plus he appeared in a couple of telefilms. His feature movie resume included Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie, Things Are Tough All Over, and The Man Who Loved Women. He made his only film debut in the 1980 comedy Cheech and Chong's Next Movie.
Ben Powers died of liver cancer in Providence, RI on April 6, 2015.