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Also Known As: Benjamin J. Stein Died:
Born: November 25, 1944 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Washington, Washington D.C., USA Profession: TV host, actor, author, professor, lawyer, speechwriter, columnist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

There were very few actors, if any, who made audiences laugh the way Ben Stein did. With his distinctive monotone voice and expressionless face, Stein turned his cameo as a high school teacher in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986) into one of the most memorable characters in movie history. While his role in the film was minor, Stein's bland yet resonating delivery of the line "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?" took the former economist and presidential speechwriter's career to new heights. He spent a substantial part of his acting career in feature films and on television before taking the game show world by storm with "Win Ben Stein's Money" (Comedy Central, 1997-2002), where contestants attempted to outsmart Stein for a cash prize. Combining his wit, dry sense of humor, and a deadpan charm that was uniquely his own, Stein maintained a successful and long-running career that crossed over various media platforms.Benjamin Jeremy Stein was born on Nov. 25, 1944 in Washington, D.C., the son of noted economist and writer Herbert Stein. He attended Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD, the same alma mater of journalist Carl Bernstein and actress Goldie Hawn. Before the entertainment industry came...

There were very few actors, if any, who made audiences laugh the way Ben Stein did. With his distinctive monotone voice and expressionless face, Stein turned his cameo as a high school teacher in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986) into one of the most memorable characters in movie history. While his role in the film was minor, Stein's bland yet resonating delivery of the line "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?" took the former economist and presidential speechwriter's career to new heights. He spent a substantial part of his acting career in feature films and on television before taking the game show world by storm with "Win Ben Stein's Money" (Comedy Central, 1997-2002), where contestants attempted to outsmart Stein for a cash prize. Combining his wit, dry sense of humor, and a deadpan charm that was uniquely his own, Stein maintained a successful and long-running career that crossed over various media platforms.

Benjamin Jeremy Stein was born on Nov. 25, 1944 in Washington, D.C., the son of noted economist and writer Herbert Stein. He attended Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD, the same alma mater of journalist Carl Bernstein and actress Goldie Hawn. Before the entertainment industry came knocking, Stein seemed destined for a career either in business or politics. The Economics major graduated with honors from Columbia University in 1966, prior to receiving his law degree from Yale University in 1970. Stein began his career in the nation's capital, working as an economist at the Department of Commerce, as a trial lawyer at the Federal Trade Commission, and as a professor at American University. His teaching profession brought Stein to University of California, Santa Cruz, where he taught political and social content of mass culture, and political and civil rights under the Constitution.

In 1973, Stein worked as a speechwriter and lawyer for President Richard Nixon, which led to speculation from TIME magazine that he was "Deep Throat," the secret informant who provided The Washington Post's Bob Woodward details about President Nixon's involvement in the Watergate scandal. Stein not only denied that he was the notorious whistleblower (it was later revealed that FBI agent Mark Felt was "Deep Throat"), but also accused Woodward of fabricating his infamous secret source. Following his speechwriting career at The White House, where he also worked for President Gerald Ford, the conservative Stein moved on to journalism and wrote columns for esteemed publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The American Spectator. His articles published in Barron's, which focused on financial dealings and reports on fraud in the Milken Drexel junk bond scheme, drew major national attention in the 1980s and '90s. The prolific writer authored around 30 books, including novels about life in Los Angeles and non-fiction titles that dealt with finance, politics, and social issues.

Stein launched his entertainment career with an unforgettable cameo in the classic Generation X film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986). The John Hughes-directed comedy starred Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, a high school senior who decides to skip school and spend a day in downtown Chicago with his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara). Stein played Ferris' monotone and drab Economics teacher who, while calling out students' names for attendance, uttered one of the film's most famous quotes: "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?" Because of his non-acting background prior to appearing in the film, Stein later told CNN that his role in the classic film came about through six degrees of separation, which started with Richard Nixon. The former president introduced Stein to a New York Times columnist, who introduced him to a Warner Bros. executive, who introduced him to a casting director, who finally introduced him to director Hughes. Since his debut, Stein played the similar flat-voiced and unemotional character in numerous films and on television shows, including the comedy features "Planes, Trains & Automobiles," "Ghostbusters II" (1989) and the nostalgic dramedy "The Wonder Years" (ABC, 1988-1993).

In 1997, Comedy Central gave Stein his own game show titled "Win Ben Stein's Money." Originally hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the show pitted three contestants against the ├╝ber-smart Stein in a series of trivia questions to win a $5,000 grand prize. "Win Ben Stein's Money" earned a total of seven Daytime Emmy Awards during its run, including an Outstanding Game Show Host award in 1999 for Stein and Kimmel. The series also spawned a late-night talk show spin-off titled "Turn Ben Stein On" (Comedy Central, 1999-2001) which only ran for three seasons. Stein's distinctive voice also landed him frequent guest appearances on animated shows throughout his career, including "The Fairly OddParents" (Nickelodeon, 2001- ) and "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999- ), as well as in television commercials for Clear Eyes eye drops and Chips Ahoy cookies. He returned to hosting in 2007 with "America's Most Smartest Model" (VH1), a competition series where 16 up-and-coming models competed in various challenges to win a major ad campaign and a $100,000 cash prize.

By Marc Cuenco

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Totally Awesome (2006)
3.
 Fired! (2006)
5.
 Son of the Mask (2005) Cast
6.
 Osmosis Jones (2001)
7.
 Smile Like Yours, A (1997) Clinic Video Narrator
8.
 Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997) Cameo Appearance
9.
 House Arrest (1996) Ralph Doyle
10.
 Casper (1995) Rugg
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Maryland
:
Following graduation from Yale Law School, worked as a poverty lawyer in New Haven, Connecticut
:
Worked as an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission investigating claims of fraud in advertising
1973:
Worked as a lawyer and speechwriter for US Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford
:
Wrote syndicated column for King Features Syndicate
1984:
Appeared in the film "The Wild Life" as a salesman
1986:
Had a memorable cameo as the monotone economics teacher in John Hughes' "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", making his face and voice recognizable to many moviegoers
1987:
Contributed to the PBS documentary "Hollywood's Favorite Heavy: Businessmen on Primetime TV"
1987:
Reteamed with Hughes, acting in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"
:
Played recurring role on the syndicated sitcom "Charles in Charge"
1988:
"The Boost", a drug-themed drama based on his novel "Ludes", was released
1989:
Wrote a bi-weekly diary for AMERICAN SPECTATOR
:
Had a recurring role on "The Wonder Years" (ABC) as science teacher Mr. Cantwell
1989:
Appeared in the features "Ghostbusters II" and "Easy Wheels"
1991:
Had a cameo in the comedy feature "Soapdish"
1991:
Guest starred on ABC's adventure drama "MacGyver"
1992:
Covered the Democratic and Republican National Conventions for Comedy Central's "Indecision '92"
1992:
Appeared in "Honeymoon in Vegas"
1993:
Appeared on episodes of "Melrose Place" (Fox) and "Full House" (ABC)
1993:
Played himself in a cameo in the White House-set comedy "Dave"
1993:
Acted in the children's feature "Dennis the Menace"
:
Played a school principal in a two-episode recurring role on the comedy series "Hearts Afire" (CBS)
1994:
Appeared in "My Girl 2" and "North"
1994:
Guest starred on episodes of "Love & War" (CBS)
1995:
Appeared on the series "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (ABC) and "Live Shot" (UPN)
1995:
Was featured in "Miami Rhapsody" (as a rabbi) and "Casper"
1995:
One of his stories was adapted into an episode of the ABC series "The Marshal"
1996:
Acted in the comedy "House Arrest"
:
Provided voice of recurring character Dr. Ben on the anminated series "Duckman"
1997:
Had a cameo in the sequel "Casper: A Spirited Beginning" and did voiceovers for the feature "A Smile Like Yours"
:
Wrote column on Hollywood for E! Online
1997:
Hosted the Comedy Central game show "Win Ben Stein's Money"
1998:
Had a guest stint on "The Hughleys" playing a therapist
1999:
Appeared on UPN's "Shasta McNasty" as himself in an episode taking place on "Win Ben Stein's Money"
1999:
Hosted the interview series "Turn Ben Stein On"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Montgomery Blair High School: Silver Spring , Maryland -
Columbia University: New York , New York - 1966
School of Law, Yale University: New Haven , Connecticut - 1970

Notes

He has an official web site at http://www.benstein.com/

"Only a person who spent the first three years of his professional life as a bureaucrat in Washington can fully appreciate how great life is on the set. I was trained by the best at sounding nasal and boring." --Stein on life in and out of the movie business, quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 21, 1994

"The truth is, inside this boring, bourgeois exterior, I'm really a churning mass of terror and exultation" --Stein to THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 21, 1994

On "Win Ben Stein's Money": "I tell contestants that all the show does in demonstrate one's ability to memorize facts and recall them quickly. It really doesn't measure how smart you are or whether you're a good human being. It's not a measure of intelligence or how well you can express yourself." --Stein to LOS ANGELES TIMES, August 11, 1997

"I'm me, a monotone person wrapped around a shrieking one trying to get out." --Ben Stein quoted in PEOPLE, September 27, 1997

Stein, who has had success in many disparate careers, including lawyer, author, actor, and professor, on his childhood aspirations: "I had no idea what I was going to do when I grew up. I just knew that I was going to have to work for a living. It was my great hope that at the age of 21 my parents would reveal to me that I had a secret inheritance, but when that didn't happen I realized I would have to work." --quoted to ASSOCIATED PRESS writer Douglas J Rowe in his April 17, 1998 profile "Ben Stein: the Revenge of the Nerds"

On fellow game show host Regis Philbin (who was up against Stein among others for the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" gig): "Regis only has to ask the questions and he gets paid more. . . My whole wage in the course of a year is an amount that is what a big network TV star would get for the first seven minutes of one episode.

"But, it's a lot better than being a GS-12 at the Federal Trade Commission, which is what I was." --Stein to the NEW YORK POST, Tuesday September 7, 1999

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Alexandra Denman. Lawyer. Born c. 1947; married in 1968; divorced in 1974; remarried in 1977 although reportedly separated.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Herbert Stein. Economist. Died on September 8, 1999; chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under Presidents Nixon and Ford.
mother:
Mildred Stein. Homemaker. Died in April 1997 at age 81.
sister:
Rachel Stein. Writer. Older.
son:
Tommy Stein. Born c. 1987; adopted by Stein and his wife Alexandra Denman; subject of Stein's book.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Dreemz"
"Hollywood Days, Hollywood Nights : The Diary of a Mad Screenwriter"
"Financial Passages"
"License to Steal: The Untold Story of Michael Milken and the Conspiracy to Bilk the Nation "
"Manhattan Gambit"
"On the Brink: A Novel"
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
"The Croesus Conspiracy"
"The View From Sunset Boulevard: America as Brought to You by the People Who Make Television"
"Money Power: How to Profit From Inflation" Harper & Row
"Bunkhouse Logic"
"Ludes: A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream"
"Tommy and Me: The Making of a Dad" Simon & Schuster
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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