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Ben Stein

Ben Stein

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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.

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.

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.
 Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997) Cameo Appearance
8.
 Smile Like Yours, A (1997) Clinic Video Narrator
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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