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Ben Mendelsohn

Ben Mendelsohn
Mendelsohn at the Australian premiere of Killing Them Softly, 24 September 2012.
Born Paul Benjamin Mendelsohn
(1969-04-03) 3 April 1969
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation Actor
Years active 1984–present
Spouse(s) Emma Forrest (m. 2012)
Children 2

Paul Benjamin "Ben" Mendelsohn (born 3 April 1969) is an Australian actor, known for his work in the films Animal Kingdom, The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly, The Place Beyond the Pines, Starred Up, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and Lost River. Mendelsohn currently stars in the Netflix series Bloodline, for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.


  • Personal life 1
  • Career 2
  • Filmography 3
    • Film 3.1
    • Television 3.2
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Personal life

Mendelsohn was born in Melbourne, Australia, the son of Carole Ann (née Ferguson) and Frederick Arthur Oscar Mendelsohn.[1][2] His father is a prominent medical researcher who heads the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne. Ben and his two brothers, Tom and David, as well as his mother (deceased), a registered nurse, lived in Europe and the US for long periods of time, and returned to Melbourne in high school. He attended Heidelberg Primary School and Eltham High & Banyule High Schools. He took drama because he thought it was an easy class, and was the only one of his friends to follow up an audition for Crawford Productions which was being advertised.

In October 2009, Mendelsohn was featured in the Australian series Who Do You Think You Are?, tracing the ancestry of his paternal grandfather, who was from a Jewish family. Searching for a connection to composer Felix Mendelssohn, which was eventually dismissed, he discovered links to 19th-century Prussia. His ancestors were amongst the first Prussian Jews to be naturalised in Schneidemühl in the province of Posen, now Piła in modern Poland.[3]

Mendelsohn married British author Emma Forrest in June, 2012.[4] Has two daughters, one with Forrest born in 2014 and one from a previous relationship.[5]


After several early television roles, including The Henderson Kids, he attracted notice in his breakout film, The Year My Voice Broke (1987), winning him the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor. His next major role was in The Big Steal (1990), and Spotswood (1992) co-starring with Anthony Hopkins; this was followed in 1996 by Cosi and Idiot Box. In 2000 he was in two contrasting films, the Australian Mullet and the Hollywood Vertical Limit.

In 2005, he was preparing to play Mark Antony in the Sydney Theatre Company-produced Julius Caesar,[6] and he was in the Terrence Malick-directed film The New World.

In 2007, Mendelsohn starred in the third season of the TV series Love My Way and in 2008, he appeared in Baz Luhrmann's Australia and filmed the 10-part Melbourne series Tangle, which premiered on Showcase in 2009. In 2009, he appeared in the American science fiction film Knowing directed by Alex Proyas. The same year, Mendelsohn starred as Ned in Beautiful Kate, directed by Rachel Ward, opposite Bryan Brown and Rachel Griffiths.

In 2010, he appeared in Animal Kingdom, starring in the film as Andrew 'Pope' Cody, a criminal on the run from the law living in the notorious Melbourne Underworld. This role won him many awards including IF Award's Best Actor and the AFI's award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He was also named GQ Australia's[7] Actor of the Year for 2010.[7]

He was selected as one of the entrants to the Who's Who in Australia 2012 edition.[8] In 2012, Mendelsohn played the supporting role of John Daggett in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.

In 2012, he appeared in Florence + the Machine's music video for "Lover to Lover". The video was directed by Vincent Haycock. In 2013, he guest starred in the TV series Girls as the father of Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke.

In 2014, Mendelsohn joined the cast of Bloodline, a Netflix original from the creators of Damages. The first season premiered on the site on 20 March 2015 and was well received. Mendelsohn's performance on the series has been critically lauded,[9][10] with IGN reviewer Matt Fowler saying in his review of the first season "Everyone on the show shines...but it's Mendelsohn's lanky, damaged, bitter Danny Rayburn that truly drives the show into harrowing places. Spectacular work that I hope gets recognized come awards season."[11]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Still Point Peter
1987 The Year My Voice Broke Trevor Leishman AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1989 Lover Boy Gazza
1990 The Big Steal Danny Clarke Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1990 Nirvana Street Murder Luke
1990 Return Home Gary
1990 Quigley Down Under O'Flynn
1992 Spotswood Carey Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1992 Map of the Human Heart Farmboy
1993 Say a Little Prayer Nursery Manager
1993 Sirens Lewis
1994 Metal Skin Dazey Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor - Male
Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1996 Idiot Box Kev
1996 Cosi Lewis
1997 True Love and Chaos Jerry
1997 Amy Robert Buchanan Camério Award for Best Actor
1999 Secret Men's Business Doug Petersen Television film
1999 Love Brokers
2000 Vertical Limit Malcolm Bench
2000 Sample People John
2001 Mullet Eddie 'Mullet' Maloney Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor - Male
2001 Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story Alexander Hall Television film
2002 Black and White Rupert Murdoch
2005 The New World Ben
2005 Second Chance Dr. Larry Stewart Television film
2008 $9.99 Lenny Peck Voice
2008 Australia Captain Dutton
2009 Prime Mover Johnnie
2009 Beautiful Kate Ned Kendall Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor - Male
2009 Knowing Phil Beckman
2010 Needle Detective Meares
2010 Animal Kingdom Andrew 'Pope' Cody AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
IF Award for Best Actor
Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor - Male
2011 Killer Elite Martin
2011 Trespass Elias
2012 The Dark Knight Rises John Daggett
2012 Killing Them Softly Russell
2012 The Place Beyond the Pines Robin Van Der Hook
2013 Starred Up Neville Love BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Village Voice Film Poll for Best Supporting Actor
2013 Two Mothers Harold
2014 Lost River Dave
2014 Exodus: Gods and Kings Viceroy Hegep
2014 Black Sea Fraser
2015 Slow West Payne
2015 Mississippi Grind Gerry
2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1987 Special Squad Episode: "Slow Attack"
1985 A Country Practice Luke Dawson 2 episodes
1985 The Henderson Kids Ted Morgan 4 episodes
1986 Prime Time Bartholomew 'Bart' Jones
1986 Fame and Misfortune
1986–1987 Neighbours Warren Murphy 19 episodes
1987, 1989 The Flying Doctors Brad Harris / Brian 2 episodes
1988 All the Way Lindsay Seymour 3 episodes
1989 This Man ... This Woman Matthew Clarke 3 episodes
1989, 1994 G. P. Max Fisher / Phillip Barton 2 episodes
1994 Roughnecks Joe 90 Episode 1.4
1995 Snowy River: The McGregor Saga Dale Banks Episode: "High Country Justice"
1995 Police Rescue Dean Forman Episode: "Wild Card"
1995 Halifax f.p. Peter Donaldson Episode: "My Lovely Girl"
1996 Close Ups Biz
1997 Good Guys Bad Guys Brian O'Malley Episode: "Unfinished Business"
1999 Queen Kat, Carmel & St Jude Vince McCaffery 4 episodes
2002 Farscape Sko Episode: "I-Yensch, You-Yensch "
2005 The Secret Life of Us Rob 5 episodes
2006–2007 Love My Way Lewis Feingold 15 episodes
Nominated—Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actor (2007)
Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama (2007)
Nominated—ASTRA Award Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor - Male (2007–2008)
2009 Tangle Vince Kovac 10 episodes
Nominated—Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actor (2010)
Nominated—ASTRA Award Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor - Male (2010)
2013 Girls Jessa's father Episode: "Video games"
2015–present Bloodline Danny Rayburn 13 episodes
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2015)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2015)


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Ben Mendelsohn, Episode 3, Season 2, Who Do You Think You Are?, SBS
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Ben Mendelsohn: Mark Antony" on Life Matters, ABC Radio National (18 July 2005)
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

Further reading

  • Romei, Stephen. (2005). "The Face: Stephen Romei meets Ben Mendelsohn (actor)". Review liftout, p. 3, The Weekend Australian, 25–26 June 2005

External links

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