Ben Powers (Alton Powers)

Ben Powers

Ben Powers

Comedian, actor, composer and artist, Alton ‘Ben” Powers, best known for his role as Thelma Evans’ husband, and football player, Keith Anderson, in the 1970’s hit series “Good Times” has died. Ben, also played “Moochie” on the CBS-TV hit “Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer” starring with Stacey Keach. Ben made numerous TV guest appearances on “Gimmie a Break,” “Flamingo Road,” “The Greatest American Hero,” “The New Odd Couple,” “Laverne & Shirley” and the PBS film “Brother to Dragons.” In addition to his TV work, Ben appeared in a number of films in the 1980’s including “Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie,” “Things Are Tough All Over” and “The Man Who Loved Women”.

Ben was born at the Jewish Hospital in Brooklyn, NY on July 5, 1950. He was raised with his siblings in the Providence, RI home of his deceased grandparents Adelbert and Elizabeth Thomas with his aunt’s Elizabeth Thomas (deceased), and Eleanor Jane Thomas.

As a young man, Ben was a choir member and cantor at the First Tabernacle in Providence, RI. He attended Hope High School and later, Rhode Island College’s “Upward Bound” program. Ben also loved to sketch and paint, attending classes at the Rhode Island School of Design before turning to acting. His great-great grandmother was the former slave, Harriet Powers, creator of the “Bible Quilt”. Her quilts are part of permanent collections at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC., Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Ma., and the National Museum of History in Washington, DC

Ben began his acting career at the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, RI under Adrian Hall. A gifted pianist, composer and singer, Ben incorporated his beautiful singing voice and impressions into his stand-up comedy routines. He was discovered in Providence, where he signed with a Hollywood agent and went on to perform at Playboy Clubs in NY, Los Angeles and Boston. His first TV appearances were on the NBC-TV series “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in” where he was a regular and featured in skits with Robin Williams and Betty Davis, among others.

Alton ‘Ben’ Powers, nee Alton Adelbert Powers passed away on April 6, 2015 at the age of 64 in New Bedford Massachusetts. Ben is survived by his mother; two sisters, Ms. Yvonne Brown of Cherry Hill, NJ, and Ms. Maya Breuer of Warwick, RI (husband Stephen Casserly). Uncles, Norman Thomas of Newburg, NY and Ronald L. Thomas of Cranston RI (wife Dot Thomas); Aunts, Eleanor Jane Thomas of Suffolk, VA and Mary Thomas of Pawtucket, RI; four nephews, three nieces, three grand nephews and two grandnieces; and a host of cousins and friends. He is preceded in death by his brother Arnold “Pete” Salzman, and his sister Sherry Lynn Powers.

Ben was perhaps best loved and remembered for his performance on “Good Times.” He was a gifted artist who loved animals and delighted those around him with his wit and intellect. His kind and gentle temperament will be sorely missed.

A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life for Ben will be held on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 6:00 pm. at First Tabernacle 105 Dodge Street Providence, RI 02907.


  • July, 05, 1950
  • Brooklyn, New York


  • April, 06, 2015
  • New Bedford, Massachusetts

Cause of Death

  • stomach cancer



    • Cremated remains retained by family.

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