Oklahoma-born William Benedict is fondly remembered by fans for his shock of unkempt blond hair; ironically, he lost his first job at a bank because he refused to use a comb. Stagestruck at an early age, the skinny, ever-boyish Benedict took dancing lessons while in high school and appeared in amateur theatricals. After phoning a 20th Century-Fox talent scout, the 17-year-old Benedict hitchhiked to Hollywood and won a film contract (if for no other reason than nerve and persistence). He appeared in the first of his many office-boy roles in his debut film, $10 Raise (1935), and spent the next four decades popping up in bits as bellboys, caddies, hillbillies, delivery men and Western Union messengers. He portrayed so many of the latter, in fact, that Western Union paid tribute to Benedict by giving him his own official uniform -- an honor bestowed on only one other actor, Benedict's lifelong friend Frank Coghlan Jr. (the two actors costarred in the 1941 serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel). In 1939, Benedict played a bicycle messenger in the Little Tough Guys film Call a Messenger; four years later he appeared with another branch of the Little Tough Guys clan, the East Side Kids, in Ghosts on the Loose. He remained with the Kids as "Skinny," then stayed on when the East Siders transformed into the Bowery Boys in 1946. As "Whitey," Benedict was the oldest member of the team, a fact occasionally alluded to in the dialogue -- though Leo Gorcey, two months younger than Benedict, was firmly in charge of the bunch. Benedict left the Bowery Boys in 1951, gradually easing out of acting; for several years, he worked as an assistant designer of miniature sets for movie special-effects sequences. He returned to performing in the 1960s, still playing the newsboy and delivery man roles he'd done as a youth. Film and TV fans of the 1970s might recall Billy Benedict as a world-weary croupier in the early scenes of The Sting (1973), and in the regular role of Toby the Informant on the 1975 TV series The Blue Knight.