Ben McKenzie

Ben McKenzie


9/12/1978, Austin, Texas, USA

Birth Name

Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan



Also Known As

Benjamin McKenzie
  • Ben McKenzie and Shawn Hatosy in Southla...
  • Ben McKenzie and Shawn Hatosy in Southla...
  • Ben McKenzie and Shawn Hatosy in Southla...
  • Ben McKenzie in Southland from \
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643 votes


Born Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan, Ben was both born and raised in Texas. Following, his graduation from the University of Virginia where he was a Foreign Affairs and Economics major, he moved to New York to pursue his passion for acting. While in New York, he appeared off-Broadway in…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Ben has volunteered with the Young Storytellers Program.

    • Ben appeared in the 2007 Al Pacino thriller, 88 Minutes, with former The OC co-star Melinda Clarke. Ben played Mike Stempt in the movie.

    • Ben was one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive, 2006. He is found in the "Sexy at every age, Age 28."

    • Ben was a speaker at the Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2004.

    • Ben changed his name for screen-credit purposes because there's an actor named Ben Schenkman registered with the Screen Actors Guild.

    • Ben moved to New York City three weeks before September 11, 2001, and was there for the terrorist attacks. He worked as a waiter in the city until he got his acting break.

    • Ben graduated from Austin High School in 1997. While at the high school, Ben was on the football team. This is the same high school as the Bush twins, daughters of President George W. Bush, attended. Ben was a senior when they were freshman. He went on to major in Foreign Affairs and Economics at the University of Virginia, following in his father and grandfather's footsteps.

    • Ben helped to "punk" his The OC co-star Adam Brody for Ashton Kutcher's show Punk'd. The next season, Ben himself was Punk'd!

    • One of the first things Ben bought with his earnings from acting was a pair of $800 black leather boots. In 2005 he purchased a $1.5 million house in the Hollywood Hills, and in 2006 he bought an Infiniti G35.

    • Ben' s height is 5' 8.5" (1.74 m).

    • Ben is the son of Austin attorney Pete Schenkkan and poet-writer Frances Schenkkan. Ben is the oldest of three children. His brothers are Nate and Zack. His uncle is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan and Sarah Drew, a recurring star on Everwood, is his second cousin.

  • Quotes

    • Ben: (on his The OC audition) I had sort of an F-you vibe... Everyone else had come to audition and kissed the asses of [producers] McG and Doug Liman - which they should in a sense, because they're so accomplished. But I just didn't. I went in and did my thing, and I don't know, I guess they liked it.

    • Ben: If you don't want female attention, a moustache is the way to go... they're not a fan.

    • Ben: Sometimes those fears (about fame) creep into the back of your head, but then you slap yourself and think, 'Oh, woe is me! People actually like me.' What a silly thing to worry about. This is a huge opportunity, and I'm excited.

    • Ben: I had one year of struggle. My parents were always there, but I didn't want to rely on them. Now it's moving pretty fast. I'm not rich, but obviously this is fantastic. All I know to do with money is put it in a shoe box anyway.

    • Ben: I've always been kind of a loner. Continue to be. So, in that sense, Ryan and I are the same. I played football in Texas, but I didn't really hang out with the jocks. I did honors courses, but I didn't hang out with those kids, either. I sort of had my own group I hung with occasionally, but I've always been kind of by myself.

  • He is a very subtle and intelligent actor who I think portrays characters more realistically than I've seen in a while. Ben brought a lot of depth to his role on The OC and people who overlook this in my opinion seem to have misunderstood who Ryan was.moreless

    I first came across Ben McKenzie on The OC. It wasn't the sort of show I would normally watch, but there was something about his portrayal of the Ryan character that just really drew me in.

    The more I watched, I realized it was because he felt very real. He had this very subtle, complex way of acting that I think the average person may miss if not paying attention, but when someone does pay attention, they are very touched by his character.

    It is clear that Ben is an intelligent guy who put a lot of thought into how the character would be played.

    For those who think Ryan wasn't portrayed well, I genuinely think they missed the entire point of his character. He was portraying a kid who was abused and abandoned growing up but who had always inherently been a good person. Not a bad boy, but rather a good person who always tried to do the right thing.

    Abused kids often play the role of the adult to their peers (or it goes to the other extreme and they act as a delinquent, but Ryan was an example of a very mature kid who always tried to do right). They often have difficulty expressing their feelings or emotions. They often try to live in the context of others and hide behind everyone else hoping to remain unnoticed. They often stay quiet and at times can lose their temper all of a sudden and can appear both angry and vulnerable at the same time.

    Ben portrayed these things beautifully.

    His body language and facial expressions, especially the sideways glances (which are powerful because it shows how observant Ryan was but also how scared he was to be noticed by others and how difficult it was to trust people), his shy half smile that rarely meets his eyes--showing how he's scared to express happiness and contentment, the breathy whispery voice he used to often use when greatly upset about something, the way he often looks down at his feet and looks up again shyly, the way he wraps his arms around his torso when he's upset, the way his jaw visibly clenches and unclenches when he's angry and trying to hold back his anger, the way his eyes can often be so expressive showing how much is weighing on his mind, yet he has the ability to shut off the rest of his facial features so that his face is completely blank other than his eyes. I also love the way he slumps his shoulders visibly when he's upset, the way you can always see the sadness in his "puppy dog" like eyes, yet also the happiness and contentment during the moments he's genuinely happy. I love how passionately he makes love on the show and how gentle he is with his caresses and the kissing on the cheek and the nose and the neck, etc.

    Moreover, Ben made the character funny. His facial expressions were often the punchline to Seth or Sandy's jokes.

    Ben's acting is just so subtle and powerful in every way, and I honestly think that people who miss out on that watched a different show. It's such subtle and good acting for a character of his background. He became the character.

    Watch an interview with this guy. He is absolutely nothing like Ryan Atwood in real life.

    The people who expected him to show his emotions differently on The OC really make me feel that they don't understand kids of Ryan's background or who Ryan was supposed to be and I find some of the anti-Ben comments on here quite shallow. They clearly couldn't see good acting if it stared them in the face.

    Since The OC, I have gone on to see Ben in Junebug, where he is absolutely fantastic and shows a wide range of emotions, JGHG, and of course Southland.

    He is said to be wonderful in the theater as well and he's one of the few TV actors that I've seen that has ever gotten such incredible theater reviews.

    I think in real life, Ben seems to be a humble, intelligent, and witty guy and I wish him the best of success in his career and hope to see him in many more things to come.

  • An immediately likeable actor, his role in Southland is pivotal - somehow everything revolves around him.

    If Southland can be called a "procedural", than the procedures are in many ways affected by Ben Sherman, the character brilliantly portrayed by Benjamin McKenzie. I knew nothing of this actor when first viewing the show. I never watched, and therefore never saw him in The O.C. But I was hooked after the first episode of Southland because of the range of emotions displayed by this talented actor. I felt his frustration with his overbearing and sarcastic partner, his pity for the victims he encountered, his sadness after his first kill, and his weariness, which he wore on his face. The question we have to ask is will the job change him and make him as jaded as other characters in the series. I look forward to the next season and hope to see much more of Mr. McKenzie.moreless