|Birth Date||September 12, 1978|
|Birth Place||Austin, Texas, USA|
|Character||Officer Ben Sherman|
McKenzie is of Dutch and Irish descent and was born Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan, in Austin, Texas to Mary Frances Victory, a prize-winning poet, and Pieter Meade Schenkkan. His uncle is the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan. McKenzie is the second cousin of actress Sarah Drew. McKenzie changed his name for screen-credit purposes because there is an actor named Ben Schenkken registered with the Screen Actors Guild. His paternal grandparents both were theatre actors. His younger brother Nate is a Yale graduate working in avant-garde theater in New York. His youngest brother Zack is a Pomona College alumnus.
For middle school, he attended St. Andrew's Episcopal School, where he was friends and teammates with future Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees. He then attended Austin High School, and played wide receiver and defensive back for the school's football team. From 1997-2001, he attended the University of Virginia, where he majored in Foreign Affairs and Economics.
On August 5, 2003, Fox premiered the television series The O.C., about affluent teenagers with stormy personal lives who reside in scenic Orange County, California. The show became an overnight success and it put McKenzie on the map as Ryan Atwood. McKenzie's performance in The O.C. earned him a "Choice Breakout TV Star - Male" and "Choice TV Chemistry" nominations in The Teen Choice Awards and a "Choice TV Actor - Drama/Action Adventure" and "Choice TV Actor: Drama" wins. McKenzie reportedly earned about $150,000 and $250,000 per episode throughout the show's run.
As a result to the show's success, McKenzie appeared in magazines including People, In Touch Weekly and Us Weekly. McKenzie was ranked No. 5 in Independent Online's "100 Sexiest Men Alive", was twice placed on Teen People magazine's annual list of "25 Sexiest Stars under 25". He was also voted one of InStyle's "10 Hottest Bachelors Of Summer" in July 2005. The O.C. dropped in ratings dramatically during its third and fourth seasons, and ended in early 2007.
While appearing in The O.C., McKenzie made his feature film debut in Junebug alongside Amy Adams and Embeth Davidtz. The film was nominated for "Best International Film" and "Outstanding Ensemble Acting" in the Amanda Awards and won the Sarasota Film Festival award for "Outstanding Ensemble Acting". It also received high praise at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. He also appeared in a pivotal role in the 2007 film 88 Minutes, which starred Al Pacino. According to Production Weekly, McKenzie was set to star in the thriller Snakes On A Plane, formerly known as Pacific Air 121, but later dropped out to film 88 Minutes.
In 2008, McKenzie earned critical acclaim for his solo performance in the "live on stage, on film" version of Dalton Trumbo's 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun, his first starring role in a feature film. He stars as Joe Bonham, a role previously played by James Cagney, Jeff Daniels, and Timothy Bottoms. The movie premiered at the Paramount Theater in Austin, TX, McKenzie's hometown, while he was filming the pilot for Southland.
In 2009, he appeared on the short movie, The Eight Percent. The movie won the Delta Air Lines Fly-in Movie Contest and entered as an official selection on the Tribeca Film Festival's Short film category.
He stars as rookie police officer Ben Sherman on the NBC drama Southland, which premiered on April 9, 2009. The show was canceled while in production on its second season.TNT bought the rights for the show and showed the 7 new episodes that had been produced for the second season. The show was picked up again for 10 more episodes which began airing January 4, 2011. Southland was renewed for a ten-episode fourth season on March 22, 2011 and which started broadcasting on January 17, 2012.
He is managed by Management 360 and the William Morris Agency.
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