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Also Known As: Robbie Benson, Robin David Segal Died:
Born: January 21, 1956 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Dallas, Texas, USA Profession: director, actor, producer, screenwriter, composer, teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A professional child actor, Robby Benson became an internationally recognized teen idol in the era of David Cassidy and Donny Osmond with lead roles in such youth-market films as "Jory" (1973) and "Jeremy" (1973). Savvier and seemingly more grounded than many of his Tiger Beat contemporaries, the actor branched out from his popular cute guy turns in "Ode to Billy Joe" (1976) and "Ice Castles" (1978) to embrace edgier, more mature roles in the grim made-for-TV movie "The Death of Richie" (1977), the LA gang saga "Walk Proud" (1978) and the well-regarded period piece "The Chosen" (1981). Denied a lead role in "Star Wars" (1977) and opting out of "Apocalypse Now" (1979), Benson began actualizing his own film projects by 1977, beginning with the college basketball drama "One on One" (1977), which he co-wrote, and "Die Laughing" (1980), an Alfred Hitchcock pastiche that he produced in partnership with Jon Peters. Born with a congenital heart defect, Benson underwent open heart surgery for the first time in 1984 and dropped out of the high pressure life of a Hollywood leading man to focus on playing character parts and on directing his own films. A much in-demand TV director, a professor of filmmaking at...

A professional child actor, Robby Benson became an internationally recognized teen idol in the era of David Cassidy and Donny Osmond with lead roles in such youth-market films as "Jory" (1973) and "Jeremy" (1973). Savvier and seemingly more grounded than many of his Tiger Beat contemporaries, the actor branched out from his popular cute guy turns in "Ode to Billy Joe" (1976) and "Ice Castles" (1978) to embrace edgier, more mature roles in the grim made-for-TV movie "The Death of Richie" (1977), the LA gang saga "Walk Proud" (1978) and the well-regarded period piece "The Chosen" (1981). Denied a lead role in "Star Wars" (1977) and opting out of "Apocalypse Now" (1979), Benson began actualizing his own film projects by 1977, beginning with the college basketball drama "One on One" (1977), which he co-wrote, and "Die Laughing" (1980), an Alfred Hitchcock pastiche that he produced in partnership with Jon Peters. Born with a congenital heart defect, Benson underwent open heart surgery for the first time in 1984 and dropped out of the high pressure life of a Hollywood leading man to focus on playing character parts and on directing his own films. A much in-demand TV director, a professor of filmmaking at New York University, and a busy voiceover artist - including that of the Beast in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" (1992) - Benson weathered an almost 50-year career in the industry, his endurance and positive attitude turning on its head the accepted wisdom that nice guys always finish last.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Modern Love (1990) Director
3.
  White Hot (1988) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Just a Dream (2002) Dr Sturbuck
3.
 Dragonheart 2: A New Beginning (2000) Voice Of Drake
5.
 Precious Victims (1993) Robert Sims
6.
 At Home With The Webbers (1993) Roger Swade
7.
 Deadly Exposure (1993)
8.
 Invasion of Privacy (1992) Alex Pruitt
9.
 Homewrecker (1992) Dr David Whitson
10.
 Beauty And The Beast (1991) Voice Of Beast
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Manhattan
:
Appeared in TV commercials and summer stock beginning at age five
1968:
Broadway debut in "Zelda" aged 12
1970:
Had bar mitzvah on stage of "The Rothschilds," in which he was appearing (date approximate)
1971:
Was regular on the CBS daytime drama "Search for Tomorrow"
1972:
Film acting debut in "Jory"; first lead
1974:
Had role in the NBC TV-movie "Remember When"
1975:
First collaboration with Burt Reynolds, "Lucky Lady"; also co-starred Liza Minnelli
1975:
Co-starred as the dying Johnny Gunther in the ABC TV-movie "Death Be Not Proud"
1977:
With his father, co-wrote the script to the basketball drama "One On One"; also starred
1977:
Played George Gibbs in an NBC TV adaptation of "Our Town"
1978:
Played a novice priest in Burt Reynolds' "The End"
1979:
With his father, composed music score for "Walk Proud"; also starred
1980:
Debut as a producer, "Die Laughing"; also co-wrote and co-starred
1981:
Returned to Broadway to play Frederic in the revival of "The Pirates of Penzance"; met future wife Karla DeVito
1984:
Underwent heart surgery to replace a congenitally malfunctioning heart valve in October
1986:
Starred in short-lived CBS TV series, "Tough Cookies"
1988:
Feature directing debut (also actor, songwriter and song performer), "White Hot/Crack in the Mirror"
1988:
Reteamed with Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli for "Rent-A-Cop"
:
Taught drama at the University of South Carolina under whose auspices he made "Modern Love" (1989)
1991:
Provided the voice of The Beast in the Disney animated film, "Beauty and the Beast"
1993:
Directed episodes of popular CBS sitcom, "Evening Shade", starring Burt Reynolds
1993:
Began teaching at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City
:
Was primary director of the ABC sitcom "Ellen" for one season
:
Directed episodes of the ABC sitcom "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch"; also played Sabrina's father
1997:
Reprised voice of The Beast in the direct-to-video release "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York -

Notes

Benson was teaching the The University of South Carolina when he made the film "Modern Love". His association with the college ended in dispute. He later taught at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Benson on working in doing voice work rather than performing in front of the cameras: "It's great. I don't have to shave. I just have to show up for work."

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Glynnis O'Connor. Actor. Co-starred together in "Jeremy" (1973) and "Ode to Billy Joe" (1975); no longer together.
companion:
Annette O'Toole. Actor. Linked romantically after they worked together in "One on One" (1977).
wife:
Karla DeVito. Singer, actor, songwriter. Met while co-starring on Broadway in "The Pirates of Penzance" in 1981; married c. 1983; co-wrote song for "The Breakfast Club" (1985); born c. 1954.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Ann Benson. Business manager, former actor, singer.
father:
Jerry Segal. Screenwriter.
sister:
Shelli Segal. Fashion designer. Older, born c. 1953.
daughter:
Lyric Benson. Born c. 1983; mother Karla DeVito.
son:
Zephyr Benson. Born March 23, 1992; mother Karla DeVito.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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