Black character actor Joe Seneca almost always brought a sense of dignity and social consciousness to his roles. Born and raised in Cleveland, OH, he began performing with the Three Riffs song and dance trio. Early in his career, he penned songs such as "Break It to Me Gently" (co-written with Diane Lampert) and "Talk to Me." In 1981, Seneca made his Broadway debut in The Little Foxes with Elizabeth Taylor. He made his feature film debut seven years prior in The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3 (1974). Seneca has also appeared frequently on television on programs like The Cosby Show and in dramatic specials such as A Gathering of Old Men (1987). Seneca died on August 15, 1996, during an asthma attack while in his Roosevelt Island, NY, home.