‘Peaky Blinders’ actor Benjamin Zephaniah dead at 65

Benjamin Zephaniah, who played the role of Jeremiah Jesus on the TV show “Peaky Blinders,” has died. He was 65.

The British actor died on Thursday after being diagnosed with a brain tumor eight weeks ago.

“Benjamin’s wife was by his side throughout and was with him when he passed,” a statement on his official Instagram account read. “We shared him with the world and we know many will be shocked and saddened by this news. Benjamin was a true pioneer and innovator, he gave the world so much.”

The statement concluded: “Through an amazing career including a huge body of poems, literature, music, television and radio, Benjamin leaves us with a joyful and fantastic legacy.”

Benjamin Zephaniah at the Bob Marley One Love Experience in London on Feb. 2, 2022. AP

Zephaniah was also a poet and political activist. He published the first of his 14 books of poetry, “Pen Rhythm,” in 1980 at the age of 22. In 1985, he followed up this debut with a collection, “The Dread Affair,” focused on the British legal system. He also wrote multiple novels and plays and wrote an autobiography in 2018, “The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah.”

In 2013, Zephaniah joined the cast of “Peaky Blinders,” appearing in 14 episodes. Some of his other TV credits include “EastEnders” and “The Bill.”

The Steven Knight-created “Peaky Blinders” was led by Cillian Murphy, who played crime-family patriarch Tommy Shelby on the period drama, which ran for six seasons from 2013 to 2022. The series aired in Britain on BBC Two for four seasons and then moved to BBC One for its final two seasons.

Benjamin Zephaniah as Jeremiah Jesus in “Peaky Blinders.” Caryn Mandabach Productions Lt

Murphy recently told Variety that he would be open to appearing in a “Peaky Blinders” movie.

“I mean, I’m open to the idea,” the “Oppenheimer” star, 47, said. “I’ve always thought that if there’s more story to tell.”

“Peaky Blinders” also starred Sophie Rundle, Paul Anderson, Finn Cole, Ned Denny and the late Helen McCrory, who died of breast cancer in 2021 at age 52.

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