||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (March 2013)|
Richard Benjamin in July 1986
May 22, 1938 |
New York City, New York
|Alma mater||Northwestern University|
|Occupation||Actor, director, producer|
|Spouse(s)||Paula Prentiss (1961-present; 2 children)|
He has starred in a number of well-known film productions, including Goodbye, Columbus (1969), based on the novella by Philip Roth; Catch-22 (1970), from the Joseph Heller best-seller; Westworld (1973), a science-fiction thriller by Michael Crichton, and The Sunshine Boys (1978), written by Neil Simon. He has directed, among other films, the 1982 comedy My Favorite Year.
Life and career
Benjamin was born in New York City, New York, the son of a garment industry worker. He attended the High School of Performing Arts and graduated from Northwestern University, where he was involved in many plays and studied in the Northwestern theater school.
He married actress Paula Prentiss on October 26, 1961; and they have two children. They appeared together in the short-lived television series He & She (1967–68) and the film Catch-22 (1970). In 1978, he starred in the ambitious, but short-lived, television series Quark.
Benjamin starred in Goodbye, Columbus (1969), based on the novella by Philip Roth. After appearing with a star-studded cast in the Mike Nichols film (1970) version of another best-seller, Catch-22, he starred in Diary of a Mad Housewife, The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker, and yet another film based on a famous Roth novel, Portnoy's Complaint (1972), in the title role.
He played a sexually ambiguous murder suspect in The Last of Sheila (1973), a mystery conceived and co-scripted by Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim. In an imaginative Michael Crichton story, Westworld (1973), Benjamin played a man vacationing as a make-believe cowboy in a theme park where he ends up being stalked by a robot gunslinger played by Yul Brynner.
Then he returned to comedy, with a supporting role as a harried theatrical agent in the Neil Simon hit The Sunshine Boys opposite Walter Matthau and George Burns and as Matthau's colleague at an ineptly run hospital in House Calls (1978). Benjamin also played a frustrated fiance of a woman who falls for the vampire Count Dracula in the surprise box-office smash Love at First Bite (1979) starring George Hamilton and Susan Saint James.
On April 7, 1979, Benjamin hosted Saturday Night Live.
Benjamin's first project as a director was the hit comedy My Favorite Year (1982), which brought an Oscar nomination to its star, Peter O'Toole. Benjamin went on to direct a number of Hollywood films, mainly comedies, including City Heat (1984) with Clint Eastwood and The Money Pit (1986) with Tom Hanks. He also directed Cher in Mermaids (1990). The most recent film Benjamin has directed was a drama, A Little Thing Called Murder (2006), featuring Judy Davis. It is based on the true story of Sante and Kenny Kimes, mother and son grifters and killers. Benjamin's acting appearances have become less frequent: he has chosen more directing of film as he feels everyone has looked at his acting in other films along the way. They include a small role in the Woody Allen comedy Deconstructing Harry (1997). He directed and appeared in Marci X (2003), a comedy starring Lisa Kudrow and Damon Wayans. He most recently appeared in Henry Poole Is Here (2008) and the television series Pushing Daisies (2008).
- Goodbye, Columbus (1969)
- Catch-22 (1970)
- Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970)
- The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971)
- The Steagle (1971)
- Portnoy's Complaint (1972)
- The Last of Sheila (1973)
- Westworld (1973)
- The Sunshine Boys (1975)
- Quark (1977–78)
- House Calls (1978)
- Love at First Bite (1979)
- Scavenger Hunt (1979)
- Witches' Brew (1980)
- The Last Married Couple in America (1980)
- How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980)
- First Family (1980)
- Saturday the 14th (1981)
- Packin' It In (TV 1983)
- Lift (1992)
- Deconstructing Harry (1997)
- The Pentagon Wars (1998)
- The Shrink Is In (2001)
- Marci X (2003)
- Keeping Up with the Steins (2006)
- Henry Poole Is Here (2008)
- My Favorite Year (1982)
- Racing with the Moon (1984)
- City Heat (1984)
- The Money Pit (1986)
- Little Nikita (1988)
- My Stepmother is an Alien (1988)
- Downtown (1990)
- Mermaids (1990)
- Made in America (1993)
- Milk Money (1994)
- Mrs. Winterbourne (1996)
- The Pentagon Wars (1998)
- Marci X (2003)
- The Goodbye Girl (2004)
- A Little Thing Called Murder (2006)
- Richard Benjamin at the Internet Movie Database
- Richard Benjamin at the Internet Broadway Database
- Richard Benjamin at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Richard Benjamin at AllRovi
- Richard Benjamin at the TCM Movie Database