Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan was born and raised in Texas. Following, his graduation from the University of Virginia where he was a Foreign Affairs and Economics major, he moved to New York to pursue his passion for acting. While in New York, he appeared off-Broadway in "Life is a Dream" at the Soho Rep. Additionally, he performed in numerous productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, including "Street Scene" and "The Blue Bird," and at the University of Virginia, in "Measure for Measure" and "Zoo Story" before moving to Los Angeles where he landed a lead role in THE O.C.
Uncle is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan
Education: Austin High, graduated 1997; University of Virginia, bachelor's degree 2001
His paternal grandparents both did some acting when they were young. His 22-year-old brother Nate is a Yale graduate working in avant-garde theater in New York. Younger brother Zack, 19, is attending Pomona College, a half-hour away from Los Angeles, and still pondering his future.
He followed his father and grandfather to the University of Virginia, where he graduated in 2001 with a degree in economics and foreign relations.
He changed his name for screen-credit purposes because there's an actor named Ben Schenkman registered with the Screen Actors Guild.
Son of Austin attorney Pete Schenkkan and poet-writer Frances Schenkkan
Has a manager, publicist and lawyer on the payroll (he's shopping for a new agent now that his career is taking off)
He recently moved into a new apartment in Santa Monica and bought a sleek new Infiniti G35, which he concedes he spends more on than housing.
Moved to New York City three weeks before 9/11
While in New York he waited tables to help support himself and shared a bunk bed in a cramped apartment in the city.
Mother: Frances Schenkkan will begin the master's program in creative writing at the University of Texas in the fall. She's been a newspaper reporter and editor, and in the 1980s she served on the Austin Planning Commission and the board of the Austin Child Guidance Center. She is a recipient of the Adele Steiner Burleson prize in poetry at the university. She and husband Pieter have three sons, Ben, Nate, and Zack.
He graduated from the same high school in Austin that the Bush twins (Jenna and Barbara) graduated from. He was a senior the year they were freshmen.