Robby Benson (age 67)

January 21, 1956
United States

[Robby Benson] Introduction

Robby Benson (born Robin David Segal; January 21, 1956) is an American actor and director best known for his starring roles in the late 1970s sports films One on One (1977) and Ice Castles (1978), his career-defining role as the voice of Beast in Disney's animated classic Beauty and the Beast (1991), and as a director for the widely successful sitcom Friends. Moreover, Benson is a passionate activist in the area of heart research, as he has undergone four open-heart surgeries due to his congenital aortic valve defects and related damage, which he wrote about in his memoir released in 2012.

[Robby Benson] Early life

Robby Benson was born and raised in Dallas, Texas to Freda Ann Benson, a singer, actor and business promotions manager, and Jerry Segal, a writer. His family is Jewish and they relocated to New York City when he was five years old. At the age of 10, Benson took his mother's name as his stage name. He attended the Lincoln Square Academy in Manhattan and graduated at the age of fourteen as the class valedictorian.

[Robby Benson] Career

Robby Benson made his film debut in Wait Until Dark (1967), and his Broadway debut in The Rothschilds (1970). He is well known for his teenage roles in coming of age films, including Jory (1972), Jeremy (1973), and Ode to Billy Joe (1976). In 1977, Benson wrote and starred in One on One, a college basketball movie requiring no double for the authentic-looking basketball scenes. In 1980, he starred in Die Laughing and Tribute. In the early '80s, Benson co-starred in The Chosen, and won a RIAA Gold Records award for the song "We Are Not Alone," featured in The Breakfast Club. Benson has also had a successful career as a professor, most recently at Indiana University.

Benson is also a musician and composer. He has written songs for several films, and has won many awards throughout his career. As a film actor, Benson was well known for his teenage roles in coming of age films, such as 1972's Jory, 1973's Jeremy, and as Billy Joe McAllister in 1976's Ode to Billy Joe. He also starred in Death Be Not Proud and Lucky Lady that same year, and screen-tested for the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars (which went to Mark Hamill). Benson also starred in One on One (1977), The Death of Richie (1977), The End (1978), Ice Castles (1978), Die Laughing (1980), and Tribute (1980). In 1991, he voiced the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Later, he was the voice of the lead character J.T. Marsh in the sci-fi cartoon series Exosquad.

Benson’s career has extended beyond acting and music, as he has released books such as Who Stole the Funny? (2007) and I’m Not Dead ... Yet! (2012). He has also been a professor of Practice at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, the University of Utah, the University of South Carolina, and Indiana University. In between his teaching gigs, Benson participated in the 1983 New York City Marathon, training for the event while filming Running Brave (1983).

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  • Film director

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