Written by Joe's son, Eric.....
Joe was born in Stamfort, Texas in 1915. He
spent time in the Merchant Marines during WWII. During his
early years he did stunt plane parachute jumps and barn storming at
small town fairs and air shows throughout Texas and the South.
In 1936 the entire Benson Clan, two brothers, their families, their
mother and father packed up and drove to California with Joe driving
the family tractor all the way to Van Nuys. He worked many odd
jobs and lived with his first wife, Julie, in a Hollywood studio
warehouse where props and stage sets were stored. He
eventually worked for the studios as a set builder.
His talent as a finish carpenter lead to several
remolding jobs with the Hollywood people such as Dan Durayea,
William Wilder, Dean Smith, Chuck Connors and many others.
This works along with being on the studio sets and his great "actor
looks" lead him to jobs on TV and film, such as "Redneck Zombies"
& "Rough Night in Jericho" (movies) - "The Rifleman" - "Perry
Mason" - "Untouchables" - "Men from Shiloh" - Arrest & Trial" - "Gunsmoke"
Lindsay and Joe meet on the set for 'Requiem at Mission Springs’,
it was my understanding that it was George’s first role on TV after
arriving in Hollywood. They became long lasting friends. Goober told
me once that when he first arrived on the set Joe approached him
with a cup of coffee . . . reviewed the script with him and
discussed the scene set-up. Goober thought Joe was the Director or
some other person in charge . . . and was grateful that he was so
nice and welcoming to him. Our dad I learned, was a “take charge”
kind of guy . . . not an “IN CHARGE” guy but hated all the wasted
time spent on the set while things got organized. I worked for him
on several remolding projects and believe me their was no time
wasted. He had a wonderful ‘work ethic’. As an example, I once
talked to him about my fear of job security, he looked at me, held
up his two hands and said “these are your only job security . .
.learn to use them and use them well.”
George Lindsay gave the eulogy at Joe's service.
He was well liked and respected by all his piers.
Joe had five children: first child was Diane,
mother Julie, then came Sylvia, Rita and Eric, mother Kathleen
followed by Randy, mother Marge.
*Joe was a good friend and neighbor of Chuck's. He lived not
too far from Chuck. He helped Chuck build a
for the boys and also help build the addition onto Chuck's house which was later called the den.