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Actor and Poet Benjamin Zephaniah, Famous for ‘Peaky Blinders’ Character, Dies at 65 After Brain Tumor Diagnosis

Benjamin Zephaniah
Benjamin Zephaniah (Credits: TV Insider)

Benjamin Zephaniah, recognized for his role as Jeremiah Jesus on the TV series “Peaky Blinders,” has passed away at the age of 65 after an eight-week battle with a brain tumor. His wife provided support during his illness and was present in his final moments, as conveyed in a heartfelt statement shared on his official Instagram account.

The statement pays tribute to Benjamin as a pioneer and innovator, celebrating his diverse career in poetry, literature, music, television, and radio. It expresses the collective grief of those who knew him and highlights the wonderful legacy left behind as the memorial concludes.

Outside of “Peaky Blinders,” Zephaniah was a well-known poet and political activist. He started writing when he was 22 years old, publishing “Pen Rhythm” in 1980. He studied the intricacies of the British legal system in pieces such as the 1985 compilation “The Dread Affair.” The result of his creative pursuits was the autobiography “The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah,” which included plays and novels.

Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah (Credits: Variety)

When Zephaniah joined the “Peaky Blinders” cast in 2013, he appeared in 14 episodes. His television resume included parts in critically praised shows such as “EastEnders” and “The Bill.” Steven Knight created the latter, which ran for six seasons between 2013 and 2022, and starred Cillian Murphy as the patriarch of the criminal family, Tommy Shelby. Hinting at the prospect of more plot developments, Murphy stated that he would be open to a future “Peaky Blinders” movie.

Notable people, including Sophie Rundle, Paul Anderson, Finn Cole, Ned Denny, and the late Helen McCrory—who died in 2021 at the age of 52 from breast cancer—were part of the ensemble cast of “Peaky Blinders.” Between them, they gave the critically acclaimed series more depth and resonance.

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