Benjamin McKenzie life and biography

Benjamin McKenzie picture, image, poster

Benjamin McKenzie biography

Date of birth : 1978-09-12
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Austin, Texas, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-06-25
Credited as : Actor and producer, The O.C., Southland

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Benjamin McKenzie is an American actor and producer. He is best known for playing Ryan Atwood in the television series The O.C. and for playing Ben Sherman in Southland. He appeared in the films 88 Minutes and Junebug, which earned him a Sarasota Film Festival nomination. His first starring role in a feature film was in the 2008 indie release Johnny Got His Gun which garnered excellent reviews for his solo performance.


Born Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan on September 12, 1978, McKenzie didn't consider acting until he got to the University of Virginia, where he majored in Foreign Affairs and Economics. Performing on stage was an afterthought, more of an extracurricular activity than a career goal. Both his father and grandfather also attended UV-his father Pete Schenkkan is a lawyer-so McKenzie, being the eldest child, became a legacy. However, the arts were not completely foreign to McKenzie growing: his mom, Frances Schenkkan, was a p t and writer, and his uncle, Robert Schenkkan, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, as well as a co-screenwriter on "The Quiet American" (2002). After graduating Austin High School in 1997, McKenzie went to Virginia and earned his degree. Caught between his newfound desire to act and need to make a living, McKenzie chose the former and moved to New York City just weeks before the terrorist attacks of 9/11. McKenzie waited tables and shared a bunk bed in a cramped apartment while performing off-Broadway in "Life is a Dream." McKenzie also performed in numerous productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, including "Street Scene", by Elmer Rice and "The Blue Bird", by Maurice Maeterlinck.

McKenzie moved to Los Angeles after his short stint in NYC and quickly landed the role of Ryan Atwood on "The OC". Also starring Peter Gallagher and Tate Donovan, the Fox show depicted the struggles of high school students in Newport Beach, CA. McKenzie played the perennial outsider struggling with the social and economic hierarchy of Newport Beach. Though only his first role, McKenzie became a known commodity practically overnight, and may someday yet be seen in the same light as James Dean or Russell Crowe. McKenzie then starred in his first feature film, "Junebug" (2005), an entrancing and beautifully acted drama about a North Carolina family meeting their son's art dealer wife, Madeline, (Embeth Davidtz) for the first time. He played the hostile younger brother married to his high school sweetheart (Amy Adams) who's afraid of impending fatherhood and physically sickened by his wife's pregnancy, making him feel trapped and humiliated by life. Meanwhile, old resentments are reborn and new anxieties arise, as the fragile family dynamic starts to split apart under the weight of Madeline's presence.


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