Benjamin Bratt

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Benjamin Bratt
Benjamin Bratt on Dulce Osuna.jpg
Bratt in 2013
Born (1963-12-16) December 16, 1963 (age 56)
EducationUniversity of California, Santa Barbara (BFA)
American Conservatory Theater
OccupationActor, producer, activist
Years active1987–present
(m. 2002)

Benjamin Bratt (born December 16, 1963) is an American actor, producer, and activist. Bratt gained exposure through his supporting roles in the box office hits, Bright Angel (1990), Demolition Man (1993), Clear and Present Danger (1994) and The River Wild (1994). From 1995, he extended his global recognition with his role of NYPD Detective Rey Curtis on the NBC drama series Law & Order (for which he was nominated for the 1999 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series).

In 2000, Bratt played supporting roles in Miss Congeniality and Traffic, the former earned him a Blockbuster Entertainment award for Favourite Supporting Actor. In 2001, Bratt starred in Piñero, for which he received an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor. He has also starred in The Great Raid (2005), La Mission (2009), and The Lesser Blessed (2012). Other notable live-action films of Bratt's include Catwoman (2004), The Woodsman (2004), Thumbsucker (2005), Trucker (2008), Snitch (2013), The Infiltrator (2016), and Ride Along 2 (2016). Bratt produced the film Dolores (2017) which follows the life of Dolores Huerta, the civil rights activist. The film received critical acclaim and received several awards.

Bratt has voiced roles in animated feature films, including Manny in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), its sequel (2013), El Macho in Despicable Me 2 (2013), Lor-Zod / Hernan Guerra / Superman in Justice League: Gods and Monsters (2015), and Ernesto de la Cruz in Coco (2017). On television, Bratt portrayed Dr. Jake Reilly on ABC's Private Practice (2011–2013), Steve Navarro on 24: Live Another Day (2014), Jahil Rivera on Star (2016–2018) and is set to star in the upcoming HBO series based on the DC comic series DMZ.

Bratt extended his global recognition with his role of Jonathan Pangborn in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Doctor Strange in 2016. Bratt has received one Screen Actors Guild Award out of three nominations, four ALMA Awards, one Primetime Emmy Award nomination, and one Blockbuster Entertainment Award. He is an activist in the American Indian Movement.

Early life[edit]

Bratt was born in San Francisco, California, the third of five children born to Eldy (née Banda), a nurse and activist, and Peter Bratt Sr., a sheet metal worker.[1] His mother was born in Lima, Peru, a member of the indigenous Quechua people. She moved to the United States at age 14.[2] His father has German and English ancestry.[3] His parents married December 30, 1960 in San Francisco,[4] but divorced in September 1967.[5] Bratt's paternal grandfather, George Cleveland Bratt (March 5, 1893 – March 29, 1984), was a Broadway actor who married Bratt's paternal grandmother, Wiltrude Hildner in Detroit, Michigan.[6][7][8]

Bratt attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, where he was a member of the Lowell Forensic Society. Bratt earned a B.F.A. at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1986, where he joined the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.[9] Although he was admitted into the M.F.A. program at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, he left before receiving his degree to star in the 1987 television film Juarez. As a child, Bratt went with his mother and siblings to participate in the 1969 Native American occupation of Alcatraz.[10]


Early work[edit]

He started his professional acting career at the Utah Shakespearean Festival where he starred in the television film Juarez (1987) which received much critical acclaim and this helped Bratt land a supporting role in another television film, Police Story: Gladiator School (1988). Also, he experienced his first film role with his role of Esteban in Lovers, Partners & Spies (1988) which did not sell. Bratt then worked heavily on television with his roles in the short-lived series of Knightwatch and Nasty Boys. In 1989, he starred in the film Nasty Boys, based on the television series.

Hollywood breakthrough and success[edit]

After several low-budget films and television films, including One Good Cop and Shadowhunter, in 1993, he appeared in two Hollywood films portraying a gang leader called Paco Aguilar and Officer Alfredo Garcia from the year 2032 in Bound by Honor and Demolition Man respectively. These films gained Bratt Hollywood's attention and projected him to the mainstream. The following year, Bratt played supporting roles in the popular films of The River Wild, Clear and Present Danger and James A. Michener's Texas. He then transferred back to television and was cast as Detective Reynaldo Curtis in the popular series Law & Order which earned him worldwide recognition. Bratt appeared in 95 episodes over 5 seasons, 14 years and 2 stints on the NBC show. For his role, in 1999 he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Also, in 1999, Bratt decided to leave Law & Order. "I've felt like it was time to get back home to my family," Bratt said, "How do you walk away from the best job in the world and a group of people that you've grown to love? It's not easy, and it was an extremely difficult decision that I had to make." On May 26, 1999, Bratt's final episode was aired. On October 23, 2009, it was announced that Bratt would return as Detective Curtis on Law & Order. Curtis reunited with his former boss, Lt. Anita van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson), in the episode that aired on December 11, 2009. He left the show that same year to continue his film career.

Later work[edit]

In 2000, Bratt co-starred with Madonna and Rupert Everett in The Next Best Thing. The following year, he played opposite Sandra Bullock in the romantic comedy Miss Congeniality and had a small role as part of a stellar ensemble cast of Traffic, which also included Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In 2004, the actor co-starred in Catwoman with Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. Bratt often portrays Hispanic characters, especially in his later work, once Bratt said "I've played 'Latin-looking spiv, third from the right so many times I can't count." In 2001, he starred in the biopic film Piñero for which he received an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor for playing the Puerto Rican actor and poet Miguel Piñero.

Bratt on the red carpet at the premiere of "The Great Raid" in Washington

As a producer, he has produced the 2009 film La Mission which his brother, Peter Bratt, directed. Peter Bratt also directed Follow Me Home which Benjamin Bratt starred in and also produced. In 2017, Bratt served as a Consulting Producer for the Documentary Film Dolores directed by Peter Bratt, this was to further support the American Indian Movement. The film received critical acclaim and received many awards. In 2009, he performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Bratt was passionate about his opportunity to play a Tlicho Indian in the film The Lesser Blessed, a project dear to his heart because of his own Native background.

Bratt has appeared in several television shows since 2000, including starring as Jahil Rivera on Star and William Banks in The Cleaner. Also, he played Dr. Jake Reilly in 36 episodes of Private Practice. Other notable television shows of his include Frasier, 24: Live Another Day and E-Ring. Bratt has also appeared in Exiled: A Law & Order Movie and Homicide: Life on the Street as Rey Curtis from Law & Order. His later popular films include The Woodsman, Snitch, Trucker, Thumbsucker, The Great Raid, Ride Along 2 and The Infiltrator.

Bratt has featured in five animated feature films which include El Macho, the main antagonist, in Despicable Me 2. He played Manny the cameraman in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and reprised his role in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Also, in 2015, he voiced Superman in Justice League: Gods and Monster. In the 2017 film Coco, Bratt voiced Ernesto de la Cruz, the main antagonist who was a Mexican folk legend and main character Miguel's idol. Bratt also sings "Remember Me," a popular song in the film that is sung by many other characters throughout. "Remember Me" won Best Original Song at the 2018 Academy Awards as Coco won Best Animated Feature too.

In 2016, Bratt extended his global recognition with his role of Jonathan Pangborn, a former sorcerer using his powers to regain the full use of his body, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He appeared in Doctor Strange (2016). Bratt will star opposite Nicolas Cage in the upcoming 2019 action-thriller film A Score to Settle directed by Shawn Ku with a release date for August 2. He is known as a hard-working and a dedicated actor who said "I've always approached acting from a very workmanlike perspective."

Activism and philanthropy[edit]

Bratt as San Francisco Memorial Day parade Grand Master, in 2010

Due to his activism during the American Indian Movement and pride in his Indigenous American heritage, Bratt is an active supporter of such Native American causes as the American Indian College Fund[10] and We Shall Remain, a mini-series and multi-media project, narrated by Bratt, that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history from PBS' acclaimed series American Experience.[11] Bratt has for years been a strong supporter and board member of San Francisco Bay Area's Friendship House Association of American Indians and Native American Health Center.[12]

Personal life[edit]

In 1998, Bratt began dating actress Julia Roberts. He escorted her to the 2001 Academy Awards ceremony, at which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Four months later, they announced that they were no longer a couple.[13]

In 2002, he (along with Priscilla López) received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA).[14]

Also in 2002, he began dating and then married his girlfriend, actress Talisa Soto, on April 13 in San Francisco. The two had met ten years earlier during the casting audition of Blood in Blood Out (1993), and afterward they saw each other on and off. It was not until the filming of Piñero (2001) that they began to develop a relationship. Their first child, daughter Sophia Rosalinda Bratt, was born on December 6, 2002; their second child, son Mateo Bravery Bratt, was born on October 3, 2005. [15][16]

His brother, Peter Bratt, wrote and directed the film Follow Me Home (1996), featuring Benjamin as Abel. Additionally, Peter wrote and directed the independent film La Mission (2009), starring Benjamin as Che Rivera, an inhabitant of the Mission District.



Year Film Role Notes
1988 Lovers, Partners & Spies Esteban
1989 Nasty Boys Eduardo Cruz
1990 Bright Angel Claude
1991 One Good Cop Felix
Chains of Gold Carlos
1993 Blood in Blood Out Paco Aguilar
Demolition Man Officer Alfredo Garcia
1994 Clear and Present Danger Captain Ramírez
The River Wild Ranger Johnny
1996 Follow Me Home Abel Producer
2000 The Next Best Thing Ben Cooper
The Last Producer Damon Black
Red Planet Lt. Ted Santen
Miss Congeniality Eric Matthews
Traffic Juan Obregón
2001 Piñero Miguel Piñero
2002 Abandon Wade Handler
2004 The Woodsman Carlos
Catwoman Tom Lone
2005 Thumbsucker Matt Schramm
The Great Raid Lt. Col. Henry Mucci
2007 Love in the Time of Cholera Dr. Juvenal Urbino
2008 Trucker Leonard "Len" Bonner
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Manny Voice
The People Speak Himself
La Mission Che Rivera Producer
2013 Snitch Juan Carlos "El Topo" Pintera
The Lesser Blessed Jed
Despicable Me 2 Eduardo Perez / El Macho Voice
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Manny
2015 Justice League: Gods and Monsters Lor-Zod / Hernan Guerra / Superman
2016 Ride Along 2 Antonio Pope
Special Correspondents John Baker
The Infiltrator Roberto Alcaino
Doctor Strange Jonathan Pangborn
2017 Shot Caller Sheriff Sanchez
Coco[18] Ernesto de la Cruz Voice
2017 Dolores None Consulting Producer
2019 A Score to Settle Q


Year Film Role Notes
1987 Juarez Sgt. Rosendo Juarez Television film
1988 Police Story: Gladiator School Officer Dave Ramirez Television film
1988–1989 Knightwatch Tony Maldonado 9 episodes
1989–1990 Nasty Boys Eduardo Cruz 13 episodes
1990 Capital News Unknown
1993 Shadowhunter Nakai Twobear Television film
1994 Texas Benito Garza Television film
1995–1999, 2009 Law & Order Detective Rey Curtis 95 episodes, main role (S6-S9), guest (S20, Ep11)
1996–1999 Homicide: Life on the Street Detective Rey Curtis 3 episodes
1996 Woman Undone Jim Mercer Television film
1998 Exiled: A Law & Order Movie Detective Rey Curtis Television film
2001 After the Storm Arno Television film
2003 Frasier Kevin, the Caller Episode: "The Doctor Is Out"
2005–2006 E-Ring Lt. Col. Jim Tisnewski 23 episodes
2008 The Andromeda Strain Dr. Jeremy Stone 4 episodes
2008–2009 The Cleaner William Banks 26 episodes


2009 American Experience Narrator 3 episodes
2010–2020 Modern Family Javier Delgado 6 episodes
2011–2013 Private Practice Dr. Jake Reilly 36 episodes
2014 24: Live Another Day Steve Navarro 10 episodes
2016–2018 Star Jahil Rivera Main cast

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1996 NCLR Bravo Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Law & Order Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
OFTA Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
ALMA Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Won
Outstanding Actor in Made-for-Television Movie or Mini-Series Exiled: A Law & Order Movie
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Law & Order Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
2001 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Traffic Won
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Screen Combo The Next Best Thing (with Madonna) Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actor – Comedy Miss Congeniality Won
2002 ALMA Awards Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Piñero
HOLA Awards Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence Himself
2005 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Screen Combo Catwoman (with Halle Berry) Nominated
2009 PRISM Awards Outstanding Performance in a Drama Multi-Episode Storyline The Cleaner Won
ALMA Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Imagen Awards Best Actor – Television Nominated
2010 Best Actor – Film La Mission Won
2012 ALMA Awards Favorite TV Actor Private Practice Nominated
2013 Imagen Awards Best Actor – Television


  1. ^ Vanity Fair. 2002 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "How Hollywood Gave 'Cholera' a Delicate Treatment". The Washington Post. November 11, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  3. ^ "Benjamin Bratt: 1963—: Actor Biography". Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  4. ^ "California Marriage Index 1960–1985". Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  5. ^ "Colorado Divorce Index 1966–1984". Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  6. ^ Liz Braun (November 14, 2007). "Benjamin Bratt gets personal". Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  7. ^ "Benjamin Bratt Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  8. ^ "Michigan Marriages 1868–1925". FamilySearch. Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  9. ^ "Law and Order Comes to UCSB". Coastlines. Summer 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Benjamin Bratt". Native Networks. December 2, 2001. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  11. ^ "We Shall Remain". PBS. April 13, 2009. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  12. ^ "Friendship House". Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  13. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (July 11, 2001). "Julia Roberts Lays It on the Line – David Letterman, Julia Roberts". People. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  14. ^ "HOLA Awards 2003". Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  15. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (December 17, 2002). "New Bratt in the House for Ben, Talisa". Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  16. ^ "Benjamin Bratt & Wife Have a Boy". October 7, 2005. Retrieved February 21, 2020.

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