Benjamin McKenzie was 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 "Life is a Dream" at the Soho Rep. Additionally, he performed in numerous productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, including "Street Scene" and "The Blue Bird," and at the University of Virginia, in "Measure for Measure" and "Zoo Story" before moving to Los Angeles where he landed a lead role in THE O.C.
Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan was born September 12,1978 in Austin, Texas. We know Ben McKenzie as the hot, brooding Ryan Atwood on Fox's hit, The O.C.. Back in Texas where Ben was born and raised, they know him as Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan. Ben McKenzie spent his time in Texas pretty typically - he went to Austin High School and played football. After high school, Ben went on to the University of Virgina (like his dad and granddad before him), and studied Foreign Affairs and Economics before heading to New York City to try acting. Ben McKenzie scored some off-broadway plays while acting in New York. Ben also had parts in a few productions at the popular Williamstown Theater Festival. However, after 9/11, Ben McKenzie found it hard to find show biz gigs and headed to Los Angeles, California in 2002. Ben McKenzie was in LA looking for work for one year and six days before he got the chance to audition for The O.C.. Ben McKenzie has said, "By the time I got into The O.C. I went in and just did it, I didn't try to impress anybody. Which was different from my other auditions. I think that's why I got it." McKenzie landed the role only one week before Fox shot the pilot (first) episode of the show.
One of the reasons that Benjamin begain acting was because of his grandparents. Both of his grandparents did some acting when they were young. His 22-year-old brother Nate is a Yale graduate working in avant-garde theater in New York. Younger brother Zack, 19, is attending Pomona College, a half-hour away from Los Angeles, and still pondering his future. The reason he dropped his last name and used his middle name as his last was for screen-credit purposes and it was done becasue there was already actor named Ben Schenkman registered with the Screen Actors Guild. When not working he enjoys spending time with his friends and family and current girlfriend, 'O.C.' co-star, Mischa Barton. Benjamin recently moved and now resides in Santa Monica, California.
Ben McKenzie Says...
"It seemed so absurd to me at the time. Oh, yeah, I'm gonna get this pilot and be a star. C'mon! That doesn't happen to some kid from Austin who doesn't know what the heck he's doing."
Benjamin McKenzie of ''The O.C.'' looks so familiar
Benjamin McKenzie, 26, was a relative newcomer when he landed the role of Ryan on ''The O.C.''
His pre-''O.C.'' credits are stage plays in New York and at his alma mater, the University of Virginia. He was born Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan and grew up in Texas, the son of an Austin attorney and a poet.
He mentions in some bios that his grandparents, who dabbled in acting when they were young, were his inspiration to get into the business.
McKenzie has another connection as well: His uncle is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (''The Kentucky Cycle''), who has appeared in small TV and movies roles. Schenkkan also wrote the teleplay for the ''Spartacus'' miniseries that aired on USA Network earlier in this year.
Benjamin McKenzie has the key to Newport Beach
The cast and producers of hit TV drama The OC have been presented with the key to the real Newport Beach, California.
Creator Josh Schwartz and executive producer Mcg joined castmembers Benjamin Mckenzie (ryan), Peter Gallagher (sandy), Melinda Clarke (julie), Alan Dale (caleb) and season two newcomer Michael Cassidy (zach) at a special ceremony last Thursday.
Newport Beach mayor Tod Ridgeway proclaimed the day "OC Thursday", before the faux Newport residents set their handprints in cement for the stunning city's Walk Of Fame on the waterfront Balboa Pavilion.
Ridgeway paid tribute to the programme for boosting tourism in the region, since it debuted last August.
From unknown Benjamin Mckenzie to well-known Ryan from ''O.C.''
We caught up with actor Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan on Fox's "The O.C." and University of Virginia, Class of 2001) during a July press event in Los Angeles, where he explained he spent this summer's hiatus in North Carolina filming "Junebug," an independent movie. He says he plays a "slow-witted Southerner" with a pregnant wife.
In person, McKenzie is younger looking than he appears on TV, where he is slightly older looking than the high-school student he plays. But he's every bit as serious as Ryan.
Q. Following the success of "The O.C." last season, do you feel like an insider now?
A. Perhaps I had the naive notion that I'd be hanging out with [Leonardo] DiCaprio. But I basically hang out with the people I hung out with before - unemployed actors. You get invited to cooler parties. But you just sit in the corner and drink a beer.
Q. How's it feel to go from an unknown to well-known?
A. It's a several step process. Step 1, you're not sure what to make of it. Step 2, you start believing the hype. And step 3, you realize the difference between what people want you to be and who you really are.
Q. What's the best perk of being well-known?
A. Free stuff. [Then, back to serious.] The opportunities are incredible. [Later that month, he got to speak at the Democratic National Convention.]
Q. How did you go from being an economics and foreign affairs major at U.Va. to acting?
A. I started acting in college, but I was committed to my major. But I kept acting. When it came time to graduate, I knew I didn't want a 9-to-5 job.
Short story even shorter, McKenzie moved to New York, where he waited on tables. A year later, he moved to Los Angeles, where he landed a role in "The O.C."