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Julie Benz

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Julie Benz
Benz in 2016
Born (1972-05-01) May 1, 1972 (age 52)
EducationBFA, New York University Tisch School of the Arts
Years active1987–present
Known for
  • (m. 1998; div. 2007)
  • Rich Orosco
    (m. 2012)

Julie Benz (born May 1, 1972[1][2]) is an American actress. She is known for her roles as Darla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (1997–2004), and as Rita Bennett on Dexter (2006–2010), for which she won the 2006 Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress and the 2009 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Benz has also starred in the television series Roswell (1999–2000), Desperate Housewives (2010), No Ordinary Family (2010–2011), A Gifted Man (2011–2012), Defiance (2013–2015), Hawaii Five-0 (2015–2017), Training Day (2017) and Love, Victor (2021).

Her film credits include Jawbreaker (1999), The Brothers (2001), Rambo (2008), Saw V (2008), Punisher: War Zone (2008), and The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009).

Early life and education[edit]

Benz at the Booster Bash 23 October 2005

Benz was born in Pittsburgh.[3] Her mother, Joanne Marie (née Seemiller), was a figure skater, and her father, George Benz, Jr., is a surgeon in Pittsburgh.[4]

The family settled in nearby Murrysville, Pennsylvania, when Benz was two, and she started ice skating when she was three.[5]

She attended and graduated from Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.[6]

When Benz was 14, she suffered a stress fracture in her right leg and had to take time off from skating.[6] The following year, at age 15, Benz says she was told by an acting coach that she would never succeed as an actress. "I remember the teacher telling me I should not even try acting. I still have the report card where she was like, 'You will never be an actor. Your voice is horrible.' That was the best thing that ever happened to me because I was like, 'I'll show you'," she later said.[7]

By 1989, with her figure skating career over, Benz became involved in local theater and was cast in the play Street Law. Her first film role was a small speaking part in "The Black Cat" segment of the Dario Argento/George A. Romero horror film Two Evil Eyes (1990).[8] A year later, she was cast in the TV show Hi Honey, I'm Home! (1991),[2] which was cancelled after two seasons.

After graduating from high school in 1990, Benz studied acting at New York University.


Benz at the 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego

After graduating from New York University in 1993,[6] she moved to Los Angeles. Two weeks after her move, she obtained a bit part in a 1994 episode of Married... with Children, playing a girl who wanted to lose her virginity to Bud Bundy.[7] Her subsequent roles included an unaired Aaron Spelling television pilot Crosstown Traffic. She starred in another unaired TV pilot called Empire in 1995. Her other TV shows included Hang Time, High Tide, Step by Step, and Boy Meets World, plus a small role in the television film The Barefoot Executive.

During the 1990s, her acting career was varied and steady. She had an uncredited role in Black Sheep and her appearance in Diagnosis: Murder as top figure skater "Julie" allowed her to demonstrate her skating talent. Later TV appearances included characters on Sliders and The Single Guy. She played Christy in the television film Hearts Adrift and a lead role as Julie Falcon in Darkdrive.

In 1996, Benz auditioned for the role of Buffy Summers for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but lost the role to Sarah Michelle Gellar. However, she was offered the small role of the vampire Darla, in the pilot episode. Her performance was so well-received that her part was expanded to a few more episodes.

Benz at Paley Center for Media Gala Honoring Showtime Networks, The Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles 11 December 2008
(L-R): John Lithgow, Jennifer Carpenter, Julie Benz and Michael C. Hall at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2009

This role helped launch her career and Julie appeared in guest appearances in more TV shows such as The Big Easy and Fame L.A., along with a small role as a receptionist in the film As Good as It Gets (1997). She starred in the short spoof film Eating Las Vegas and the unaired TV pilot Veronica's Video, had a small uncredited role in the television film A Walton Easter, and a small role in Inventing the Abbotts.

In 1998, she had a recurring role as Joplin Russell in the TV show Ask Harriet, then guest starred on both Conrad Bloom and The King of Queens. She made two films, the dark comedy Jawbreaker and Dirt Merchant, before landing a lead role in the TV series Payne, an American remake of the British sitcom Fawlty Towers. It was cancelled after eight episodes had aired.

Benz reprised her role as Darla in 2000 for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off series Angel,[9] appearing in every season for at least one episode. Julie was a guest host for the TV show Rendez-View, cast as Ellie Sparks in Glory Days and appeared in the unaired pilot; however, she left the show. Later, she guest-starred on She Spies, was in the featured cast for the miniseries Taken, did various voices for the video game Hot Shots Golf Fore!, appeared in the short film The Midget Stays in the Picture, and took over the role of Ursula for George of the Jungle 2.

Benz appeared in Peacemakers, Coupling, NCIS, and Oliver Beene. She landed the lead role of Annie Garrett in the television film The Long Shot[9] and provided the voice of Miranda Keyes for the video game Halo 2, though she did not return to the role in the sequel Halo 3, as Bungie wanted to try a new direction with the Miranda Keyes voice by giving the character an accent.[10] She portrayed Danielle in the direct-to-DVD film Bad Girls from Valley High in 2005. She had a small role in the critically acclaimed television film Lackawanna Blues.

In the Sci-Fi Channel original film Locusts: The 8th Plague, she played the lead female role Vicky. She also appeared in the straight-to-DVD film 8mm 2 as Lynn. The film was originally called The Velvet Side of Hell and was not supposed to be a sequel to 8MM. Benz appeared in episodes of Supernatural, CSI: Miami, Law & Order, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She had a supporting role in the Swedish independent film Kill Your Darlings (2006), a lead role in the television film Circle of Friends (2006), and joined the cast of the TV show Dexter as Rita Bennett, Dexter Morgan's girlfriend and eventual wife.[11] Benz played a lead role in the fifth film of the popular Saw horror franchise, Saw V, as Brit, a real estate developer who is one of Jigsaw's five victims. Benz had a supporting role in Punisher: War Zone as Angela and co-starred with Sylvester Stallone in Rambo (2008), the fourth film of the series.

Michael C. Hall and Julie Benz speaking at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2013

She played the title role in the short film Kidnapping Caitlynn, written by her close friend Jenny Mollen, which premiered at the Vail Film Festival 2009 and was released online April 6, 2009.[12] She starred in the television film Held Hostage as Michelle Estey.[13] in July. She also starred in the television film Uncorked (2009)[14] as Johnny Prentiss[15] which premiered in the UK in July 2009. She is the lead female character Special Agent Eunice Bloom in The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day which had a limited release on October 30, 2009, and was released on DVD March 9, 2010. She has been cast in another indie film called Bedrooms as Anna.[16] She played Frankie in the 2011 film Answers to Nothing.

(L-R): Julie Benz, David Zayas, Michael C. Hall and C.S. Lee at the Paley Center for Media Honoring Showtime Networks in December 2008
Benz at Dexter night at the Saban Theatre, Hollywood, California 4 March 2010

Benz appeared on The Soup with Joel McHale. Benz next took a recurring role on Desperate Housewives as Robin Gallagher, a stripper with a heart of gold and a master's degree in education who gets offered the chance to transition into a more legitimate career.[17] The character of Robin is further developed when the audience discovers she is a lesbian and begins an affair with housewife Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany).[18] After the fourth season finale of Dexter, in which her character is murdered, Benz returned for the fifth-season premiere in a flashback scene.[19]

In early 2010, ABC announced that Benz had landed a lead role as Stephanie Powell in the network's drama pilot No Ordinary Family.[20] Production of the series commenced the following May and it premiered on September 28, 2010,[21] as part of the 2010–11 season.[22]

On May 13, 2011, No Ordinary Family was cancelled after one season with only 20 episodes filmed. In 2011, she was cast in the new CBS TV show A Gifted Man. Originally a co-star,[23] she was later downgraded to a recurring role. A Gifted Man was cancelled by CBS in May 2012 after one season of 16 episodes. She was cast in the television film Ricochet as Elise Laird.[24] Benz played the lead female role, Mayor Amanda Rosewater, in the science fiction series Defiance[25] and also starred in the film Supremacy[26] and the unaired TV pilot Middle Ages.

In 2015, Benz landed a recurring role in the CBS series Hawaii Five-O, playing the latest team member and Chin Ho's girlfriend, Abby Dunn. She also starred in the television film Charming Christmas.

In 2021, she guest-starred in the TV series Love, Victor.

Personal life[edit]

Benz married actor John Kassir on May 30, 1998. She filed for divorce in December 2007.[27]

In 2011, she became engaged to Rich Orosco.[28] They married on May 5, 2012.[29]



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Two Evil Eyes Betty
1995 The Barefoot Executive Sexy Woman TV movie
1996 Black Sheep Dancing Blonde Woman
Hearts Adrift Christy TV movie
1997 A Walton Easter Jeannie TV movie
Inventing the Abbotts Co-ed
Darkdrive Julie Falcon
As Good as It Gets Receptionist
Eating Las Vegas Sheila Short
1999 Jawbreaker Marcie Fox
Dirt Merchant Angie
2000 Satan's School for Girls Alison Kingsley TV movie
Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th Barbara Video
Bad Girls from Valley High Danielle
2001 The Brothers Jesse Caldwell
2003 George of the Jungle 2 Ursula Stanhope Video
The Midget Stays in the Picture A-List actress Short
2004 The Long Shot Annie Garrett TV movie
2005 Lackawanna Blues Laura TV movie
Bad Girls from Valley High Danielle
Locusts: The 8th Plague Vicky TV movie
8mm 2 Lynn Video
2006 Kill Your Darlings Katherine
Circle of Friends Maggie TV movie
2008 Rambo Sarah Miller
Saw V Brit
Punisher: War Zone Angela Donatelli
2009 Kidnapping Caitlynn Caitlynn Short
Held Hostage Michelle Estey TV movie
Uncorked Johnny Prentiss TV movie
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day Eunice Bloom
2010 Bedrooms Anna
2011 Answers to Nothing Frankie
Ricochet Elise Laird TV movie
2013 Taken: The Search for Sophie Parker Stevie Parker TV movie
2014 Sole Custody Zoe TV movie
Supremacy Kristen
2015 Circle Wife
Life on the Line Carline
Charming Christmas Meredith Rossman TV movie
2016 Havenhurst Jackie
2017 Christmas Homecoming Amanda TV movie
2019 Foster Boy Pamela Dupree
2020 Nocturne Cassie Lowe
Perfidy Rachel Short
2021 Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer Celeste Beard TV movie


Year Title Role Notes
1991 All My Children Linda Connor Episode: "Episode #1.5707"
1991–92 Hi Honey, I'm Home! Babs Nielson Main Cast
1994 Married... with Children Sascha Episode: "Field of Screams"
1995 Hang Time Linda Cantrell Episode: "Earl Makes the Grade"
High Tide Joanna Craig Episode: "Sea No Evil"
Step by Step Tawny Episode: "The Wall"
1996 Boy Meets World Bianca Episode: "City Slackers"
Diagnosis: Murder Julie Miller Episode: "Murder on Thin Ice"
Sliders Jenny Michener Episode: "The Electric Twister Acid Test"
The Single Guy Cranberries Girl Episode: "Love Train"
1997 The Big Easy Roxanne Episode: "BeGirled"
Fame L.A. Vanessa Episode: "The Beat Goes On"
1997–02 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Darla Recurring Cast: Season 1, Guest: Season 2 & 5
1998 Conrad Bloom Julie Episode: "The Rebound Guy"
Ask Harriet Joplin Russell Recurring Cast
1999 The King of Queens Julie Patterson Episode: "Train Wreck"
Payne Breeze O'Rourke Main Cast
1999–00 Roswell Kathleen Topolsky Recurring Cast: Season 1
2000–04 Angel Darla Recurring Cast: Season 1-3, Guest: Season 4-5
2002 She Spies Elaine Episode: "Spies vs. Spy"
Taken Kate Keyes Recurring Cast
2003 Peacemakers Miranda Blanchard Episode: "The Witness"
Coupling Amanda Episode: "Nipple Effect"
2004 NCIS Denise Johnson Episode: "A Weak Link"
Oliver Beene Cigarette Girl Episode: "Idol Chatter"
2006 Supernatural Layla Rourke Episode: "Faith"
CSI: Miami Hayley Gordon Episode: "Deviant"
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Heidi Wolff Episode: "Time of Your Death"
2006–10 Dexter Rita Bennett Main Cast: Season 1-4, Guest: Season 5
2007 Law & Order Dawn Sterling Episode: "Church"
2010 Desperate Housewives Robin Gallagher Recurring Cast: Season 6
2010–11 No Ordinary Family Stephanie Powell Main Cast
2011 Royal Pains Elyse Episode: "An Apple a Day"
2011–12 A Gifted Man Christina Holt Recurring Cast: Season 1
2013–15 Defiance Amanda Rosewater Main Cast
2015–17 Hawaii Five-0 Inspector Abby Dunn Recurring Cast: Season 6-7
2017 Training Day Holly Butler Recurring Cast
2019 Dark/Web I Am Rideshare (voice) Episode: "Chapter One"
Light as a Feather Skye Karras Episode: "...Guilty as Sin"
V. C. Andrews Kitty Dennison Episode: "Heaven"
On Becoming a God in Central Florida Carole Wilkes Recurring Cast
2021 Love, Victor Shelby Recurring Cast: Season 2
2022 9-1-1: Lone Star Sadie Becker Recurring Cast: Season 3

Video Games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Hot Shots Golf Fore! Phoebe and Amy (voice)
Halo 2 Miranda Keyes (voice)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2006 11th Satellite Awards Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film Dexter Won
2008 Eyegore Awards Eyegore Award Won
2008 Scream Awards Best Horror Actress Dexter Nominated
2009 16th Screen Actors Guild Awards Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2010 17th Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominated
36th Saturn Awards Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television Won
Monte Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actress - Drama Series Nominated
2010 Scream Awards Best Horror Actress Nominated


  1. ^ "Today in History: May 1". April 24, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Hi Honey, Julie Benz is Back Home!". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 3, 1991. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  3. ^ "Julie Benz: Biography". TV Guide. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  4. ^ Owen, Rob (September 27, 2010). "Murrysville native Benz enjoys lighter, comedic role in 'Family'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  5. ^ Debnam, Betty (April 2, 2004). "Meet Julie Benz". The Bryan Times. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Owen, Rob (February 20, 1999). "Gaining recognition". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 26, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b Rizzo, Carita (January 3, 2011). "Before They Were Stars". TV Guide: 24.
  8. ^ Fritz, Steve (May 29, 2008). "Julie Benz One Tough Lady; Three Tough Jobs". Newsarama. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Pace, Terry (April 16, 2004). "Benz gets to play new kind of character". TimesDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  10. ^ Mitovitch, Matt Webb (December 15, 2006), "Dexter's No. 1 Gal — Julie Benz — Previews a Killer Finale", TV Guide, archived from the original on December 17, 2006
  11. ^ "SCREAM '09: Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter on 'Dexter', More!". Bloody-disgusting.com. October 18, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  12. ^ [1] Archived April 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Michelle Renee: Breaking The Chains of Domestic Violence". Huffington Post. October 7, 2008. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  14. ^ "Julie Benz | Your source for Julie @". Julie-benz.info. March 26, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  15. ^ Bierly, Mandi (March 26, 2009). "Hallmark Channel to produce 35 original movies with stars like Andrew McCarthy, Lori Loughlin, and Julie Benz. Pinch. Me". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 14, 2010.
  16. ^ "Benz Happy for 'Dexter' Castmates Marriage — Netscape Celebrity". Channels.isp.netscape.com. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  17. ^ DiNunno, Gina (January 3, 2010). "Dexter's Julie Benz to Pay a Visit to Wisteria Lane". TV Guide. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  18. ^ Heller, Dana (June 15, 2013). Loving The L Word: The Complete Series in Focus. I.B.Tauris. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-78076-424-5. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  19. ^ Abrams, Natalie (May 25, 2010). "Julie Benz Returning to Dexter". TV Guide. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  20. ^ Eng, Joyce (March 2, 2010). "Julie Benz Joins ABC's New Super Family". TV Guide. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  21. ^ Ram, Archana (September 28, 2010). "No Ordinary Family Premieres Tonight. Will You Be Watching?". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 4, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  22. ^ Rice, Lynette (May 12, 2010). "Breaking: ABC picks up 'No Ordinary Family' starring Michael Chikilis". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 13, 2010. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  23. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 16, 2011). "CBS Picks Up Susannah Grant Medical Drama To Series, Neal Baer To Run It". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  24. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 28, 2011). "John Corbett And Julie Benz To Star In TNT Film; Benz Changes Status On 'Gifted Man' –". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  25. ^ "Julie Benz To Star in New Syfy Series Defiance". SFX. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  26. ^ E Entertainment. "Supremacy becomes more Supreme". PRLog. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  27. ^ "Angel – Interviews – Julie Benz and John Kassir". BBC Online.
  28. ^ Arrow, Jennifer (June 27, 2011). "Julie Benz Is Getting Married! (Congrats, Lady!)". E! Online. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  29. ^ Corneau, Allison (May 5, 2012). "Dexter's Julie Benz Gets Married!". Us Weekly. Retrieved October 9, 2012.

External links[edit]