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Benjamin McKenzie Biography

Ben McKenzie plays Ryan Atwood on the teen drama, The O.C..
Courtesy of Fox
Birthdate: September 12, 1978

Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan

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 and the Big Apple

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 Lands The O.C.

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.

Benjamin McKenzie - Did U Know?

  • Ben McKenzie's uncle is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan.
  • Ben McKenzie's older brother Nate is working in theater in New York and his younger brother Zack Schenkkan goes to college near LA.
  • Ben McKenzie lives in Santa Monica, California and drives an Infiniti G35.

    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."

  • Check out Kidzworld's The O.C.: Season Two contest and enter for a chance to win one The O.C.: Season Two DVD.
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    Name Ben McKenzie's First TV Role?

    • He guest-starred on Everwood.
    • He guest-starred on ER.
    • He guest-starred on JAG.
    • He guest-starred on Bernie Mac.

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