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Ben Mendelsohn Biography


Home > Actors > M > Mendelsohn, Ben > Biography


Birth Name: Ben Mendelsohn
Born: 04/03/1969
Birth Place: Melbourne, Victoria, AU


Born in Melbourne, Mendelsohn traveled extensively through the U.S. and Europe as a child with his family, which included brothers Tom and David; his father Frederick, the neuroscientist head of the prestigious Howard Florey Institute; and his mother Carole Ann, a registered nurse. Mendelsohn developed an interest in acting while attending high school in Melbourne and made his TV debut in 1984 on the Ten Network police series "Special Squad." After being cast on the short-lived "The Henderson Kids" (Ten Network, 1985-86), in 1986 Mendelsohn landed a recurring role on the popular soap opera "Neighbours," and a year later won several Australian film awards for his portrayal of a criminally-inclined rugby player in "The Year My Voice Broke."

But what didn't break was Mendelsohn's career. Though he began appearing in U.S. films, such as 1992's "The Efficiency Expert" starring Anthony Hopkins as the title professional, he spent much of the '90s and early 2000s appearing in minor film and TV projects. Then, in 2005, reclusive director Terrence Malick cast him in "The New World," which led to a role in Baz Luhrmann's sprawling "Australia" (2008). Just two years later came his breakthrough role as an armed robber on the run in the tightly-wound crime thriller "Animal Kingdom," set in Melbourne and starring a largely Australian cast.

With his name back in the spotlight, Mendelsohn, who married British writer Emma Forrest in 2012, landed a pair of high-profile roles that year: greedy developer Daggett in "The Dark Knight Rises," and Russell, a drug addict turned heist man in "Killing Them Softly." He next appeared opposite Ryan Gosling in the fathers-and-sons epic "The Place Beyond the Pines" (2012), and was cast as Jessa's estranged father in an episode of the popular but controversial "Girls" (HBO, 2012- ).