Besides his work on stage, on film, and on television, Beck is also a well known reader of audiobooks, having worked as the narrator of the German translations of the Harry Potter series. He is also well known for his role in the comedy Der bewegte Mann, and as the narrator of Wächter der Wüste - Auch kleine Helden kommen ganz groß raus.
After his Abitur in 1976 (roughly equivalent to an associate degree, or A-Levels in England) and completing his Zivildienst (alternative to required military service), Beck studied Islamic Studies, Ethnology, and Philosophy at the University of Heidelberg. During his studies he also performed on stage in Heidelberg. He also appeared onstage at the Sauerländischen State Theater, the State Theater Tübingen, Schauspiel Frankfurt, Schauspiel Köln, and the Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel.
In 1989, Beck was named Young Actor of the Year by Theater heute. He also won that year the Young Actor Prize of the Association of the Friends of Bavarian Theater.
Beck began touring in the early 1990s and was very successful. Then in 1994, he acted in the film Der bewegte Mann, a role for which he won a Bambi.
In 1998 he was nominated for a German Film Prize for his role in Jimmy the Kid.
He is the father of actor Jonathan Beck.