Ben Mendelsohn

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Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn 2012.jpg
Mendelsohn at the Australian premiere of Killing Them Softly, 24 September 2012
Born Paul Benjamin Mendelsohn
(1969-04-03) 3 April 1969 (age 45)
Melbourne, Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation Actor
Years active 1984–present
Spouse(s) Emma Forrest (m. 2012)

Paul Benjamin "Ben" Mendelsohn (born 3 April 1969) is an Australian actor known for his work in the films Animal Kingdom, The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly, The Place Beyond the Pines, Starred Up, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and Lost River. He is currently in the Netflix original series Bloodline.

Personal life[edit]

Mendelsohn was born in Melbourne, Australia, the son of Carole Ann (née Ferguson) and Frederick Arthur Oscar Mendelsohn.[1][2] His father is a prominent medical researcher who heads the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne. Ben and his two brothers, Tom and David, as well as his mother (deceased), a registered nurse, lived in Europe and the US for long periods of time, and returned to Melbourne in high school. He attended Heidelberg Primary School and Eltham High & Banyule High Schools. He took drama because he thought it was an easy class, and was the only one of his friends to follow up an audition for Crawford Productions which was being advertised.

In October 2009, Mendelsohn was featured in the Australian series Who Do You Think You Are?, tracing the ancestry of his paternal grandfather, who was from a Jewish family. Searching for a connection to composer Felix Mendelssohn, which was eventually dismissed, he discovered links to 19th century Prussia. His ancestors were amongst the first Prussian Jews to be naturalised in Schneidemühl in the province of Posen, now Piła in modern Poland.[3]

Mendelsohn married British author Emma Forrest in June, 2012.[4]


After several early television roles, including The Henderson Kids, he attracted notice in his breakout film, The Year My Voice Broke (1987), winning him the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor. His next major role was in The Big Steal (1990), and Spotswood (1992) co-starring with Anthony Hopkins; this was followed in 1996 by Cosi and Idiot Box. In 2000 he was in two contrasting films, the Australian Mullet and the Hollywood Vertical Limit.

In 2005, he was preparing to play Mark Antony in the Sydney Theatre Company-produced Julius Caesar,[5] and he was in the Terrence Malick-directed film The New World.

In 2007, Mendelsohn starred in the third season of the TV series Love My Way and in 2008, he appeared in Baz Luhrmann's Australia and filmed the 10-part Melbourne series Tangle, which premiered on Showcase in 2009. In 2009, he appeared in the American science fiction film Knowing directed by Alex Proyas. The same year, Mendelsohn starred as Ned in Beautiful Kate, directed by Rachel Ward, opposite Bryan Brown and Rachel Griffiths.

In 2010, he appeared in Animal Kingdom, starring in the film as Andrew 'Pope' Cody, a criminal on the run from the law living in the notorious Melbourne Underworld. This role won him many awards including IF Award's Best Actor and the AFI's award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He was also named GQ Australia's[6] Actor of the Year for 2010.[7]

He was selected as one of the entrants to the Who's Who in Australia 2012 edition.[8] In 2012, Mendelsohn played the supporting role of John Daggett in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.

In 2012, he appeared in Florence + the Machine's music video for "Lover to Lover". The video was directed by Vincent Haycock. In 2013, he guest starred in the TV series Girls as the father of Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke.



Year Film Role
1986 The Still Point Peter
1987 The Year My Voice Broke Trevor Leishman
1989 Lover Boy Gazza
1990 The Big Steal Danny Clarke
1990 Nirvana Street Murder Luke
1990 Return Home Gary
1990 Quigley Down Under O'Flynn
1992 Spotswood Carey
1993 Say a Little Prayer Nursery Manager
1993 Map of the Human Heart Farmboy
1993 Sirens Lewis
1994 Metal Skin Dazey
1996 Idiot Box Kev
1996 Cosi Lewis
1997 True Love and Chaos Jerry
1997 Amy Robert Buchanan
1999 Love Brokers
2000 Vertical Limit Malcolm Bench
2000 Sample People John
2001 Mullet Eddie 'Mullet' Maloney
2002 Black and White Rupert Murdoch
2005 The New World Ben
2005 Second Chance Dr. Larry Stewart
2008 $9.99 Lenny Peck
2008 Australia Captain Dutton
2009 Prime Mover Johnnie
2009 Beautiful Kate Ned Kendall
2009 Knowing Phil Beckman
2010 Needle Detective Meares
2010 Animal Kingdom Andrew 'Pope' Cody
2011 Killer Elite Martin
2011 Trespass Elias
2012 The Dark Knight Rises John Daggett
2012 Killing Them Softly Russell
2012 The Place Beyond the Pines Robin Van Der Zee
2013 Starred Up Neville Love
2013 Two Mothers Harold
2014 Lost River Dave
2014 Slow West Payne
2014 Exodus: Gods and Kings Hegep
2014 Black Sea Fraser
2015 Mississippi Grind
2016 Star Wars: Rogue One


Year Film Role
1987 Special Squad
1985 A Country Practice Luke Dawson
1985 The Henderson Kids Ted Morgan
1986 Prime Time Bartholomew 'Bart' Jones
1986 Fame and Misfortune
1986–1987 Neighbours Warren Murphy
1988 All the Way Lindsay Seymour
1987–1989 The Flying Doctors Brad Harris / Brian
1989 This Man ... This Woman Matthew Clarke
1989–1994 G. P. Max Fisher / Phillip Barton
1994 Roughnecks Joe 90
1995 Snowy River: The McGregor Saga Dale Banks
1995 Police Rescue Dean Forman
1995 Halifax f.p. Peter Donaldson
1996 Close Ups Biz
1997 Good Guys Bad Guys Brian O'Malley
1999 Queen Kat, Carmel & St Jude Vince McCaffery
1999 Secret Men's Business Doug Petersen
2001 Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story Alexander Hall
2002 Farscape Sko
2004 Petal to the Metal: The Making of 'Metal Skin'
2005 The Secret Life of Us Rob
2006–2007 Love My Way Lewis Feingold
2009 Tangle Vince Kovac
2013 Girls Season 2, Episode 7 as Jessa's father
2015 Bloodline Danny Rayburn


  1. ^ "Ben Mendelsohn | Episode 3 | Season 2 | Who Do You Think You Are on SBS". 2012-08-15. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  2. ^ "Who's who in Australia - Leanne Sullivan - Google Books". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  3. ^ Ben Mendelsohn, Episode 3, Season 2, Who Do You Think You Are?, SBS
  4. ^ Garry Maddox. "Killing Them Softly, How Hollywood Fell For Ben Mendelsohn". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  5. ^ "Ben Mendelsohn: Mark Antony" on Life Matters, ABC Radio National (18 July 2005)
  6. ^ "Ben Mendelsohn". GQ. 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  7. ^ "Ben Mendelsohn". GQ. 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  8. ^ "Everything under Australia’s media, marketing & entertainment umbrella". Encore Magazine. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Romei, Stephen. (2005). "The Face: Stephen Romei meets Ben Mendelsohn (actor)". Review liftout, p. 3, The Weekend Australian, 25–26 June 2005

External links[edit]