Richard Benjamin Biography

Richard Benjamin photo

Born: May 22, 1938


Date of Birth: May 22, 1938

Born in New York City, Richard Benjamin attended the New York High School of Performing Arts, then continued his training at Northwestern University where he met actress Paula Prentiss. The two were married in 1961 and while Prentiss’s career immediately took off with a number of roles in Hollywood features, Benjamin focussed mainly on theater, with the occasional foray into television with guest appearances on shows such as Dr. Kildare. Showing an interest in directing, Benjamin travelled to London, England to direct the 1965 production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. He followed that up with a role in the 1966 Broadway production of Simon’s The Star Spangled Girl, winning a Theatre World Award for his performance.

Benjamin and Prentiss co-starred in their own sitcom, He & She (1967 to 68), about a married couple surrounded by a cast of oddball characters. Although they both earned Emmy nominations for their roles, the series lasted only a season. However, the exposure did wonders for Benjamin’s career and he went on to star in several Hollywood features, including Goodbye Columbus (1969) opposite Ali McGraw, Mike NicholsCatch 22 (1970) (also starring Prentiss), Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970) for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, and The Marriage of a Young Stockbrocker (1971).

In 1975, Benjamin won a Golden Globe for his supporting role in the hit comedy The Sunshine Boys starring Walter Matthau (who also won a Golden Globe for his role) and George Burns (who won an Oscar® for the film). Benjamin continued to work steadily as an actor, but also turned his hand to directing features such as My Favorite Year (1982) starring Peter O’Toole, The Money Pit (1986) starring Tom Hanks and Mermaids (1990) starring Cher.

After directing movies for the small screen for several years, Benjamin returned to the big screen both as a director and as an actor in Marci X (2003), co-starring Lisa Kudrow. Benjamin and Prentiss are still married and have two grown up children.

Filmography (director):

Marci X (2003)
The Shrink Is In (2000)
Mrs. Winterbourne (1996)
Milk Money (1994)
Made in America (1993)
Mermaids (1990)
Downtown (1990)
My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988)
Little Nikita (1988)
The Money Pit (1986)
City Heat (1984)
Racing with the Moon (1984)
My Favorite Year (1982)

Filmography (actor):

Marci X (2003)
The Shrink Is In (2000) (uncredited)
Deconstructing Harry (1997)
Lift (1992)
Saturday the 14th (1981)
How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980)
The Last Married Couple in America (1980)
Witches' Brew (1980)
First Family (1980)
Scavenger Hunt (1979)
Love at First Bite (1979)
House Calls (1978)
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
Westworld (1973)
The Last of Sheila (1973)
Portnoy's Complaint (1972)
The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971)
The Steagle (1971)
Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970)
Catch-22 (1970)
Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

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