Ben McKenzie was born and raised in Texas. Following his graduation from the University of Virginia, where he was a foreign affairs and economics major, he moved to New York to pursue acting.
While in New York, McKenzie appeared off-Broadway in Life is a Dream at the Soho Rep. Additionally, he performed in numerous productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, including Street Scene and The Blue Bird, as well as the University of Virginia in Measure for Measure and Zoo Story. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he landed the lead role on The O.C.
In addition to starring in the critically acclaimed independent ensemble drama Junebug, McKenzie has also starred opposite Al Pacino in the thriller 88 Minutes and received praise for his solo turn in the independent film Johnny Got His Gun, based on a novel by Dalton Trumbo. McKenzie recently starred in The Glass Menagerie at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.