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Robby Benson (born January 21, 1956) is an Americanmarker film and television actor, television director, and educator.

Early life

Benson was born Robin David Segal in Dallas, Texasmarker, the son of Ann (née Benson), a singer, actress, and business promotions manager, and Jerry Segal, a writer. His family is Jewish and his sister, Shelli Segal, is a designer for the clothing line known as Laundry by Shelli Segal. Benson was raised in New York City and took his mother's maiden name as his stage name when he was 10.


Benson made his Broadway debut in The Rothschilds. Benson had an early role on the daytime soap Search for Tomorrow (1971-72). As a film star, Benson was popular for roles of teens in coming-of-age films, such as in 1972's Jory (his screen debut), in Jeremy (1973), and as Billy Joe McAllister in Ode to Billy Joe (1976).

He was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1976" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 28. [1976], and auditioned for the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars (1977), but lost the role to Mark Hamill. He received critical acclaim for his role as the hockey player, Nick Peterson, in Ice Castles (1978). In Walk Proud (1979), he played a Chicano gang member.

Other notable performances include Death Be Not Proud and Lucky Lady, both in 1975, and One on One co-starring Annette O'Toole in 1977. Also in 1977 came the TV movie The Death of Richie, co-starring actor Ben Gazzara. In 1981, he costarred with Rod Steiger in the film The Chosen, based on the Chaim Potok book of the same name. Also in the early 1980s, he appeared as a young man with a learning disability in the made-for-television film Two of a Kind, along with George Burns playing the role of his "Grand-Poppy". In 1984 he co-starred among others with Paul Newman in Harry and Son, and in 1987 with Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise in The End.

In Disney's animated feature film Beauty and the Beast, Benson demonstrated his vocal abilities by providing the voice of Beast. Some critics claim he did such a good job the voice was nearly unrecognizable as Benson's. He would later reprise the role in the Kingdom Hearts role-playing game series. This role led to other voice work for animated features, including the widely popular Prince Valiant cartoon series, as well as the heroic Able Squad leader J.T. Marsh on Exosquad. Benson also lends his voice to some computer and video game work, such as the voice of Prince Alexander in the computer game King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow.

Benson directed over 100 sitcom episodes including Friends, Sabrina, an entire season of Ellen, and two seasons of Thunder Alley.

Benson is also an author, penning the novel "Who Stole The Funny?", released in 2007.

Personal life

Benson is currently a visiting professor at New York Universitymarker's Tisch School of the Arts, having previously taught at Appalachian State Universitymarker and the University of South Carolinamarker.Benson has been married to Karla DeVito since 1982. They have two children, a daughter named Lyric and a son named Zephyr.

Benson was born with a heart defect which necessitated heart valve surgery in October 1984 and again in 1998. He is an activist and fundraiser for heart research, and wrote the book, lyrics, and music for a play called Open Heart which starred Benson and his wife Karla, and which opened and closed off-Broadway in 2004.


  2. Lyric Benson is not young woman of the same name who was murdered in New York City by her boyfriend in 2003

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