Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan is an American actor, writer and director. He portrayed Ryan Atwood in the television series “The O.C.” and Ben Sherman in “Southland.” Take a look below for 25 more interesting and fascinating facts about Ben McKenzie.
1. He appeared in the films “Junebug” and “88 Minutes.”
2. His first starring role in a feature film was in the 2008 indie release “Johnny Got His Gun.”
3. From 2014 to 2019, McKenzie starred as James Gordon in the television series “Gotham,” for which he also wrote and directed episodes.
4. Schenkkan was born in Austin, Texas. He is of Dutch-Jewish, English, and Scottish descent.
5. He is one of three boys born to Frances Victory Schenkkan, a poet, and Pieter Meade Schenkkan, an attorney.
6. His middle name, McKenzie, is his paternal grandmother’s maiden name.
7. His grandfather, Robert F. Schenkkan, was a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and worked with President Lyndon B. Johnson on passing the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.
8. He is a nephew of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, Jr.
9. For middle school, he attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, where he was friends and flag football teammates with future Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees.
10. He attended Stephen F. Austin High School, playing wide receiver and defensive back for the school’s football team.
11. From 1997–2001, he attended the University of Virginia, his father and paternal grandfather’s alma mater, where he majored in foreign affairs and economics.
12. He uses his middle name as his stage name to avoid confusion with actor Ben Shenkman.
13. From 2001 to 2003, McKenzie worked in part-time jobs and sought acting work in New York and Los Angeles before being cast as Ryan Atwood in “The O.C.”
14. On August 5, 2003, Fox premiered the television series, about affluent teenagers with stormy personal lives in Orange County, California.
15. His performance in The O.C. earned him “Choice Breakout TV Star – Male” and “Choice TV Chemistry” nominations in the Teen Choice Awards and “Choice TV Actor – Drama/Action Adventure” and “Choice TV Actor: Drama” wins.
16. McKenzie reportedly earned between about $15,000 and $25,000 per episode throughout the show’s run.
17. As a result of the show’s success, McKenzie appeared in magazines including People, In Touch Weekly and Us Weekly. He was ranked No. 5 in Independent Online’s “100 Sexiest Men Alive” and twice appeared on Teen People magazine’s annual list of “25 Sexiest Stars under 25”.
18. McKenzie was also voted one of InStyle’s “10 Hottest Bachelors of Summer” in July 2005.
19. While appearing in The O.C., McKenzie made his feature film debut in “Junebug” alongside Amy Adams and Embeth Davidtz.
20. In 2008, McKenzie earned critical acclaim for his solo performance in the “live on stage, on film” version of Dalton Trumbo’s 1939 novel “Johnny Got His Gun,” his first starring role in a feature film.
21. In 2009, he appeared in the short movie “The Eight Percent.” The movie won the Delta Air Lines Fly-in Movie Contest and entered as an official selection on the Tribeca Film Festival’s Short film category.
22. On June 24, 2019 McKenzie, along with an ensemble cast, presented “The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts,” a dramatic reading of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.
23. In September 2015, actress Morena Baccarin said in a legal declaration involving her divorce that she planned to marry her “Gotham” co-star, McKenzie, adding that she was pregnant with their child.
24. Their daughter Frances Laiz Setta Schenkkan was born March 2, 2016.
25. Baccarin and McKenzie announced their engagement in November 2016. They were married on June 2, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York.