Ben Foster (actor)

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Ben Foster
Foster in 2018
Benjamin A. Foster

(1980-10-29) October 29, 1980 (age 43)
Years active1995–present
(m. 2018)
RelativesJon Foster (brother)

Benjamin A. Foster (born October 29, 1980)[1] is an American actor. His films include The Punisher (2004), X-Men: The Last Stand and Alpha Dog (both 2006), 30 Days of Night (2007), The Messenger and Pandorum (both 2009),[2] The Mechanic (2011), Contraband (2012), Kill Your Darlings and Lone Survivor (both 2013), The Program (2015), and Leave No Trace (2018). He was won an Independent Spirit Award for portraying Tanner Howard in Hell or High Water (2016).[3] He also had a recurring role as Russell Corwin in the television series Six Feet Under (2003–2005).

Early life[edit]

Foster was born in Boston on October 29, 1980, the son of restaurant owners Steven Foster and Gillian Kirwan.[4][5][6] He has described his parents as "free-spirited, Vietnam-protesting hippies".[7] He has a younger brother, Jon, who is also an actor. In 1984, the Foster family relocated to Fairfield, Iowa when their Boston home was broken into by robbers while they were present.[6][7]

Foster was raised Jewish, and had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony.[7][8] His paternal grandparents were Celia (Segal) and Abraham Foster, who was a prominent judge and politician in Boston; their families emigrated from the Russian Empire.[9][10][11] As a youth he attended Interlochen Arts Camp and studied theatre there.[12]


Foster at the Toronto Film Festival in 2015

Foster began working as an actor when he was 16 years old.[6] In 1996 and 1997, he starred in the Disney Channel television series Flash Forward.

In 2001, he acted in the film Get Over It. Foster also had a recurring role as Russell Corwin (22 episodes) in the HBO original series, Six Feet Under.[6] After appearing in the films 11:14 and The Punisher, Foster appeared in Hostage with Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, and Michelle Horn. In 2006, Foster appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand as the comic-book hero Angel / Warren Worthington III.[6] In the crime thriller Alpha Dog, he played the character Jake Mazursky and added glaucoma drops to his eyes to simulate the appearance of a drug addict in the film.[13] In 2007, he played cold-blooded killer and outlaw Charlie Prince in the Western film 3:10 to Yuma.[14] In February 2013, he was cast to replace Shia LaBeouf in the Broadway play Orphans as his first theater performance.[15] In May 2014, it was announced that he would star opposite Gillian Anderson and Vanessa Kirby in Benedict Andrews' new production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic in London.[16] The same production closed on September 19, 2014 and transferred to New York in 2016, opening at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn.[17]

Foster played Lance Armstrong in the biopic The Program,[18][19] and co-starred in the fantasy adventure Warcraft, released in June 2016.[20]

Also in 2016, Foster appeared in Hell or High Water as the dangerous Tanner Howard, opposite Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges. Foster was acclaimed for his roles and has received numerous awards nominations.

Foster has often received praise from critics for his "intense" and "unhinged" performances in numerous films.[21][22] Film critic Matt Zoller Seitz described Foster in 2016 as "one of those actors who makes even a bad film worth seeing. Sometimes he suggests the film you'd rather be watching."[23]

Personal life[edit]

Foster was in a relationship with German actress Antje Traue, his co-star in the movie Pandorum. Traue revealed in an interview that she had moved to Los Angeles and lived with Foster until their relationship ended around 2010.[24] Foster began a relationship with actress Robin Wright in early 2012.[25][26] They became engaged in early 2014,[27] but called off their engagement on November 12, 2014.[28] Foster and Wright reconciled in early 2015;[29] however, on August 29, 2015, they announced they were ending their second engagement.[30]

In October 2016, Foster announced his engagement to actress Laura Prepon.[31] Prepon gave birth to their first child, a daughter, Ella, in August 2017. Foster and Prepon married in June 2018.[32] Their son was born in February 2020.[33]

After filming of the movie Here ended, five members of the cast and crew got tattooed with the letters T.I.A., which stand for This Is Armenia.[34]

Foster practices transcendental meditation.[35]

Acting credits[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Kounterfeit Travis
1999 Liberty Heights Ben Kurtzman
2001 Get Over It Berke Landers Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Chemistry (shared with Kirsten Dunst)
2002 The Laramie Project Aaron Kreifels
Bang Bang You're Dead Trevor Adams
Big Trouble Matt Arnold
Phone Booth Big Q Uncredited
2003 Northfork Cod
11:14 Eddie
2004 The Punisher Spacker Dave
The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things Fleshy Boy
2005 Hostage Marshall "Mars" Krupcheck
2006 Alpha Dog Jake Mazursky Young Hollywood Award for Breakthrough Performance—Male
X-Men: The Last Stand Warren Worthington III / Angel
2007 3:10 to Yuma Charlie Prince Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor (2nd place)
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor (2nd place)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
30 Days of Night The Stranger
2008 Birds of America Jay
2009 The Messenger Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery Women Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor
Blink AJ Short film
Pandorum Bower
2011 The Mechanic Steve McKenna
Here Will Shepard
360 Tyler
Rampart Terry Also producer
2012 Contraband Sebastian Abney
2013 North of South, West of East Cass
Kill Your Darlings William S. Burroughs
Ain't Them Bodies Saints Patrick Wheeler
Lone Survivor Matthew "Axe" Axelson
2015 The Program Lance Armstrong Limited release
2016 The Finest Hours Seaman Richard Livesey
Hell or High Water Tanner Howard Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated—Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated—Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Houston Film Critics Society for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Warcraft Medivh
Inferno Bertrand Zobrist
2017 Rock'n Roll Ben Foster
Hostiles Sergeant Charles Wills
2018 Leave No Trace Will
Galveston Roy Cady
2022 The Contractor Mike
Hustle Vince Merrick
Medieval Jan Žižka
Emancipation Fassel
2023 Finestkind Tom
TBA Long Day's Journey into Night[36] Jamie Tyrone Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996–1997 Flash Forward Tucker "Tuck" James Lead role; 26 episodes
Nominated—Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series (1997, 1998)
1998 You Wish Earl Episode: "Future Shock"
I've Been Waiting for You Charlie Television film
Breakfast with Einstein Ryan Television film
1999–2000 Freaks and Geeks Eli 2 episodes
2000 Family Law Jason Nelson Episode: "A Mother's Son"
2001–2002 Boston Public Max Warner 2 episodes
2002 Bang Bang You're Dead Trevor Adams Television film
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming
2003–2005 Six Feet Under Russell Corwin 22 episodes (1 uncredited)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2004)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2005)
2005 The Dead Zone Darren Foldes Episode: "The Last Goodbye"
2007 My Name Is Earl Glenn 2 episodes
2012 Robot Chicken Orville Redenbacher /
Man from the Vegetarian Future
Voice; episode: "Executed by the State"
2021 The Survivor Harry Haft Television film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie


Year Title Role Notes
2013 Orphans Treat Broadway debut
2014 A Streetcar Named Desire Stanley Kowalski The Young Vic, London


  1. ^ "Ben Foster Biography (1980–)". Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  2. ^ Ordona, Michael (November 1, 2009). "Ben Foster puts his heart into The Messenger". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  3. ^ "2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards Winners Announced! – Film Independent". 25 February 2017.
  4. ^ Fee, Gayle; Laura Raposa (September 3, 1995). "Inside Track: Pool barons foster son's fledgling career". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on March 19, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2010.(subscription required)
  5. ^ Sherman, Paul (December 9, 1999). "New Heights; After landing the lead role in Barry Levinson's latest film, Boston native Ben Foster is flying". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on March 19, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2010.(subscription required)
  6. ^ a b c d e Abel, Judy (November 15, 2009). "Exploring life's 'darker corners'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c Miller, Gerri (1999). "Foster Reaches for the "Heights"". JVibe. Archived from the original on 2000-05-23. Retrieved November 12, 2006.
  8. ^ Sragow, Michael (December 16, 1999). "It's a boy's, boy's, boy's world (and a girl's)". Retrieved November 15, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Breed, Allan G. (February 4, 1999). "Ben Foster reaches for new Heights". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved December 10, 2007.
  10. ^ Lakshmanan, Indira A.R. (December 27, 1994). "A. Frank Foster, judge who once halted a man's beating; at 84". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on July 11, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2022.
  11. ^ "CELIA ( SEGAL) FOSTER « Brezniak Rodman Funeral Directors". 2010-06-28. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  12. ^ "Halloween in Hollywood | Interlochen Center for the Arts". Archived from the original on 2020-07-26. Retrieved 2019-05-24.
  13. ^ "X-Men star Foster risks eyesight to play druggie". Contact Music. December 12, 2006. Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2006.
  14. ^ "Interview: Ben Foster, actor and producer". The Scotsman. February 17, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  15. ^ Lawson, Richard (21 February 2013). "Ben Foster to Replace Shia LaBeouf, Esquire Reader, on Broadway". The Atlantic Wire. Yahoo!. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  16. ^ "Ben Foster and Vanessa Kirby join Young Vic's Streetcar". London Theatre. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  17. ^ "St. Ann's Warehouse – A Young Vic & Joshua Andrews Co-Production". St. Ann's Warehouse. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  18. ^ Windsor, Richard (2014-11-13). "Bikes from Lance Armstrong movie to be sold off". Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  19. ^ Roxborough, Scott (October 23, 2013). "First Look: Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong in Stephen Frears' Biopic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  20. ^ Collura, Scott (December 4, 2013). "Ben Foster and Dominic Cooper Head for Warcraft". IGN. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  21. ^ Ebiri, Bilge (13 November 2009). "Ben Foster on Shooting The Messenger's Most Harrowing Scenes". Vulture. Retrieved 26 February 2017. Ben Foster has been attracting attention for some time thanks to his intense (sometimes even downright unhinged) portrayals in action flicks...
  22. ^ Scott, A. O. (12 November 2009). "Delivering Bad News and Truths About War". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 February 2017. ... with this performance Mr. Foster, having shown intriguing promise in "Alpha Dog" and "3:10 to Yuma," places himself in the first rank of young American screen actors.
  23. ^ Matt Zoller Seitz [@mattzollerseitz] (July 30, 2016). "Ben Foster's one of those actors who makes even a bad film worth seeing. Sometimes he suggests the film you'd rather be watching" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 February 2017 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Pauli, Harald (2018-04-14). "Antje Traue, Der schoenste deutsche Hollywood-Import (in German)". Focus Magazin (Nr. 16, 2018). Archived from the original on 2019-09-29. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  25. ^ "Robin Wright and Ben Foster Get Cozy". February 10, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  26. ^ Justin Ravitz (December 24, 2012). "Robin Wright, 46, and Ben Foster, 32, Affectionate During Shopping Trip". US Magazine. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  27. ^ Alexis L. Loinaz (January 11, 2014). "Robin Wright and Ben Foster are engaged". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  28. ^ Marquina, Sierra (November 12, 2014). "Robin Wright and Ben Foster Split, Call Off 10-Month Engagement – Find Out What Went Wrong". Us Magazine. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  29. ^ "Introducing Robin Wright, Our April 2015 Cover Star". Vanity Fair.
  30. ^ Webber, Stephanie (29 August 2015). "Robin Wright, Ben Foster Call Off Engagement For the Second Time". Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  31. ^ "Laura Prepon and Ben Foster Are Engaged! See Her Gorgeous New Ring". 5 October 2016.
  32. ^ "Laura Prepon and Ben Foster Are Married! 'Thank You for All the Love'". People. June 3, 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  33. ^ Weinberg, Lindsey (February 26, 2020). "Laura Prepon and Ben Foster Welcome Second Child". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  34. ^ Westal, Bob. "A Roundtable Chat with Ben Foster of Mechanic". Bullz-Eye. Retrieved 17 November 2022.
  35. ^ DeYoung, Bill (October 27, 2009). "Extreme closeup: Ben Foster". Connect Savannah. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  36. ^ Jessica Lange & Ed Harris Wrap New Movie Version Of 'Long Day's Journey Into Night'

External links[edit]