Daniel Benzali

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Daniel Benzali
BornJanuary 20, 1950 (1950-01-20) (age 73)
Years active1983–present
Lynda Medwell
(m. 1979; div. 1984)

Daniel Benzali (born January 20, 1946)[1][2] is a Brazilian-American stage, television and film actor.

Early life[edit]

Benzali was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the son of Lee, a cook, and Carlo Benzali, a salesman who had also been an actor in Brazilian theatre[3] and Yiddish theatre.[4] His family are Brazilian Jews.[3] Daniel Benzali is the middle son of three. The family moved to the United States in 1953, and the boys were raised in Brooklyn, New York City.



Benzali began his acting career as a theatre actor, including the Royal Shakespeare Company in Great Britain. His first performance was in Holiday at The Old Vic alongside Mary Steenburgen and Malcolm McDowell.

He also played musical theater, including a portrayal of Juan Perón in the London cast of Evita. He played faded film director Max von Mayerling, alongside Patti LuPone, in the original (1993) cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard. Benzali also appeared on Broadway in Fiddler on the Roof[citation needed] and other smaller productions.

In 2019 Benzali was slated to play the lead role in the London staging of Bianca Bagatourian's The Time Of Our Lies.[5][6] He withdrew on opening night due to unforeseen circumstances.[7][8]

Television and feature films[edit]

In 1985 he was cast in the James Bond film A View to a Kill as W. G. Howe,[9] the Californian director of Oil and Mines, based at San Francisco City Hall. The character was shot dead in his office there by Max Zorin (played by Christopher Walken).[10]

Subsequently, he began making guest-starring roles on television series such as Strong Medicine, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files, and in recurring roles in NYPD Blue and L.A. Law.[4][9] NYPD Blue and L.A. Law creator Steven Bochco was so impressed with Benzali's performances that Bochco later cast him in the lead role of his 1995 series Murder One, playing attorney Ted Hoffman. For his performance, Benzali was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. The series was not especially successful (though highly regarded later), and Benzali left after its first season. Bochco later revealed that he fired Benzali because he refused to leave his home before he completed his morning bowel movement and was perpetually late to the set.[11][12]

Benzali's stage performance in Holiday at The Old Vic so impressed director Anthony Page that Page cast him opposite Teri Garr in the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie adaptation of Pack of Lies, a play by English writer Hugh Whitemore.[3] Benzali also starred in the TV series The Agency and appeared in feature films including By Dawn's Early Light (1990), Murder at 1600 (1997), The Grey Zone (2001), and Suckers (2001).[9] He appeared in the post-apocalyptic CBS series Jericho as the enigmatic former Department of Homeland Security director Thomas Valente.[9] After that, he starred in the FX television series Nip/Tuck as Dr. Griffin.[9]

In December 2010, Benzali joined ABC's General Hospital.[13] Benzali played a character named Theodore Hoffman, a reference to his role on the mid-1990s television series Murder One.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Benzali married Worcestershire potter Lynda Medwell in 1979 while acting in Great Britain. They were married six years.[14][15]

Benzali and fiancée Kim Cattrall had a three year relationship. Benzali (then 51) and Cattrall broke up in 1997, just prior to her role in Sex and the City (1998–2004).[1][16]

Benzali has been living in London and divides his time between England and the United States.[17]


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Home Free All Therapist
1985 Insignificance First Theatrical Agent
1985 A View to a Kill W.G. Howe
1985 White Nights Dr. Asher
1986 Whoops Apocalypse William Kubert (US Defense Secretary)
1988 Messenger of Death Chief Barney Doyle
1989 Vietnam War Story: The Last Days Adams (segment "Dirty Work")
1991 En dag i oktober Solomon Kublitz
1992 The Distinguished Gentleman 'Skeeter' Warburton
1997 Murder at 1600 Secret Service Agent Nick Spikings
1997 The End of Violence Brice Phelps
1998 Heist 'Big Fats'
1998 All the Little Animals Bernard 'The Fat' De Winter
1999 Suckers Reggie
1999 Her Married Lover Detective Joe Lansing
2000 Screwed Detective Tom Dewey
2001 Vegas, City of Dreams Dr. Sigmund Stein
2001 The Grey Zone Simon Schlermer
2002 Dead Heat Frank Finnegan
2007 If I Had Known I Was a Genius Walter


  1. ^ a b Castro, Peter (May 5, 1997). "Smooth Operator". People. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  2. ^ ""People" by Harry Levins Of The Post-Dispatch - St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 11, 1996". Retrieved September 19, 2020.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b c "Suckers". RogerNygard.com. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Daniel Benzali". filmreference.com.
  5. ^ "Daniel Benzali Q&A". The American. Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. July 22, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  6. ^ Kahn, Erin J. (July 19, 2019). "London Theatre Weekly Round-up: Prince of Egypt casting, Paul McCartney musical in the works and more!". From The Box Office. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  7. ^ "REVIEW: The Time Of Our Lies". Dress Circle Antics. August 2, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  8. ^ "The Time Of Our Lies tickets - Park Theatre | Official London Theatre guide | Closed: 10 August 2019". Official London Theatre. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Daniel Benzali at IMDb
  10. ^ "W.G. Howe (Daniel Benzali)". James Bond MM. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  11. ^ Armstrong, Rick (April 1, 2019). "Murder One: The Sensational First Season". Classic Film and TV Cafe. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  12. ^ Bochco, Steven (May 10, 2016). Truth is a total defense: my fifty years in television. [Lexington, KY]. ISBN 978-1-5348-3390-6. OCLC 957590958.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  13. ^ "Exclusive: Daniel Benzali Joins General Hospital". TVGuide.com. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  14. ^ "Overview for Daniel Benzali". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  15. ^ Perthen, Amanda; O'Sullivan, Kevin (May 12, 1996). "BALD EAGLE'S SECRET WIFE LIVES IN HIPPY COMMUNE; And her parents didn't even know!". The People. Retrieved September 16, 2020 – via Free Online Library.
  16. ^ "Kim Cattrall: Sex and the married woman". The Independent. January 8, 2002. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  17. ^ Logan, Michael (December 20, 2010). "Major General Hospital Reveal: Daniel Benzali is The Balkan! |". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2020.

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