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Bronx senior a showbiz ‘natural’

Max Bendich,99 year old resident of Kittay House, Jewish Home Lifecare's independent living home. He has been in movies, commercials and two cable series.Tuesday,,September 16th,Bronx,,New York. (Michael Schwartz/ for New York Daily News).Michael Schwartz /for New York Daily News Max Bendich,99 year old resident of Kittay House, Jewish Home Lifecare’s independent living home. He has been in movies, commercials and two cable series.Tuesday,,September 16th,Bronx,,New York. (Michael Schwartz/ for New York Daily News).

He’s making a go at stardom at nearly the century mark.

Max Bendich is having an unlikely renaissance as an actor at the nimble age of 99, snagging a cameo with Stephen Baldwin in the upcoming film “Tapestry” and other small screen roles.

“I don’t know the first thing about show business, but they say I’m a natural,” the World War II veteran told the Daily News during a sitdown in his room at Jewish Home Lifecare’s Kittay House, an independent senior residence in Kingsbridge.

Bendich, who worked as a laundryman in Mott Haven during an earlier chapter, first caught the acting bug as an extra on “Cagney and Lacey,” a 1980s police drama his son Alan helped produce.

The stalwart senior stepped back into the klieg lights more than 20 years later, showing off his dancing prowess in a New York University student production called “Elapse.”

He now co-hosts a 30-minute interview show, “The Way to Go,” on Westchester public-access television with his son.

“All of a sudden, you hit ‘action’ and it’s like a tonic, he comes alive,” Alan said.

The new career keeps the patriarch going in his golden years, his family said.

Bendich, a great-grandfather, routinely auditions for roles on silver and small screens when he’s not busy charming the ladies at the senior center.

All of a sudden, you hit ‘action’ and it’s like a tonic, he comes alive.

Since Dorothy, his wife of 68 years, passed away five years ago, Bendich has jumped back into dating, often juggling numerous ladies at a time and impressing them with his new career.

“They call me the actor, they call me the lover,” the chatty charmer said.

“One of the worst things for seniors is going up to another and saying anything, even ‘I like your face,’ ” he added.

And this thespian shows no signs of going on hiatus.

He’s honing his craft, taking classes at Columbia University and NYU and shooting a new improvisational show on Westchester public-access TV.

His scene with Baldwin in “Tapestry” is slated to hit theaters later this year. The film also stars Burt Young and Tina Louise.

“I say all the time, I’m the luckiest man in the world,” said Bendich, who favors a cap with the adage ‘Life is Good’ etched onto the brim. “I love what I do.”

bkochman@nydailynews.com


Health – NY Daily News

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