Ben Mendelsohn Biography

Ben Mendelsohn photo

Born: April 03, 1969


Date of Birth: April 3, 1969

Paul Benjamin Mendelsohn, better known as Ben Mendelsohn, had an interesting path to Hollywood. Born in Melbourne, Australia, he lived in Germany until the age of six, when his family returned to Australia. After his parents divorced, he lived for a time in Washington D.C. with his father and also attended his first year of high school at a boarding school in Pennsylvania before returning to Melbourne.

He is the oldest of three sons of Carole Ann Ferguson, a registered nurse, and Frederick Arthur Oscar Mendelsohn, a prominent medical researcher who heads up the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne.

Acting was not a lifelong dream, but more of a whim. In high school, Ben took a drama class, thinking it would be a course he could easily sail through. At 15, he began landing roles on Australian TV series, including a recurring role on The Henderson Kids (1985) and a regular role as Warren Murphy from 1986 to 1987 on the long-running soap Neighbours. His breakthrough role came in 1987 in the film The Year My Voice Broke. For that, he won an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Ben went on to become one of the more popular leading men in his home country, in competition with Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe, who were gaining attention at the same time. The Australian tabloids nicknamed these guys the "Mouse Pack," in reference to the well-known "Rat Pack" of the U.S., and the "Brit Pack" from Great Britain.

His next major role was in the 1990 Australian flick The Big Steal. There were movies after that, but there were lean years too and little Hollywood action, and after a slow two year period when he got little work, he considered quiting altogether. Things picked up in 1992 and by 2005, he was playing a regular role on the Channel 4 TV series The Secret Life of Us. He went on to play a starring role on the Australian TV series Love My Way from 2006 to 2007, then played Vince Kovac on the 2009 TV series Tangle, for which he won a 2010 Astra Award for Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor - Male.

In 2009, Ben also appeared on the Australian version of the series Who Do You Think You Are. The objective was to discover whether his family was related to the great composer Felix Mendelssohn. It was not the case, but it was discovered that his ancestors were among the first Prussian Jews to be naturalized in what is now modern Poland. His ancestry is a mixed bag, including English, Irish, and Scottish as well as Polish Jewish and German Jewish.

For his role as Danny Rayburn on the Netflix series Bloodline, he was nominated for a 2015 Emmy Award and a 2016 Golden Globe.

Ben appeared as Daggett in the blockbuster film The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and more recently he completed a role in the highly anticipated Star Wars spinoff movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016).

He has been married to Emma Forrest, a British writer, since June 2012. He has two daughters, one with his current wife and one from a previous relationship.


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(2016)
Black Sea(2015)
Bloodline (Netflix) (2015)
Lost River(2015)
Mississippi Grind(2015)
Slow West(2015)
Starred Up(2014)
The Place Beyond the Pines(2012)
The Dark Knight Rises(2012)
Killing Them Softly(2012)
Animal Kingdom(2010)
Beautiful Kate(2009)
The Year My Voice Broke (1987)
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