Benjamin Bratt was born on December 16, 1963, in San Francisco, CA. His mother is a Quechua Indian from Lima, Peru, and his father is of German and English descent. He’s the middle of five children, and he’s extremely close with his three sisters and one brother. He also has three half-brothers from his father’s previous marriage.

His parents divorced when he was quite young. His mother became very active with the American Indian community, and Ben spent many of his childhood weekends on the island of Alcatraz, exploring the island and playing in the prison.

He lived with his father during his teenage years, and attended Lowell High School. As an athlete, he engaged in swimming, baseball, and wrestling. He also played saxophone in band, and was bitten by the acting bug when, at his father’s urging, he tried out for a school play before graduating in 1982.

He received his B.F.A. with honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he was a member of the highly respected Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He was accepted into the prestigious Master’s program at the American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco; and around this time, he made his professional acting debut at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. He never did graduate from the ACT, but it was under the best of circumstances: he was chosen to star in a television series, Juarez. He shot the pilot, and although it never aired, he was paid for six episodes. and his screen acting career was underway.

While working on Law & Order in New York City, Benjamin caught the eye of mega-star Julia Roberts. The relationship catapulted the personable but very private actor to stardom. The two dated for 3½ years (her longest relationship up to that point).

Shortly after their breakup, Benjamin entered a new phase, and the most important role of his life, that of husband and father. On April 13, 2002,

Benjamin wed long-time friend actress Talisa Soto in a small outdoor ceremony in San Francisco, with his mother presiding. On December 7, their daughter Sophia Rosalinda was born. Most recently, on October 3, 2005, son Mateo Bravery was born.

Fun Facts : sublime & silly

Civic Interests include: Tribal Athletics Program, a youth-oriented part of the American Indian Friendship House Association, American Indian College Fund, and United Indian Nations. I’m sure there’s more, but these are ones I know he’s supported in the past.
Favorite pastimes: Athletic Ben likes to surf, mountain bike, rock climb, swim, play tennis, roller-blade. Artistic Ben is in to black-&-white photography, watching movies. Papa Ben makes furniture for his daughter!
Small vices include caffeine (he loves Peet’s Coffee Gaia Organic Blend) and chocolate.
Unusual talent: he can walk around on his hands. Probably comes from all that great upper-body strength and fitness.
High school nickname: Scarecrow, because he was so skinny.
Ben is 6′ 2″ (1.88 m) tall.
Bigfoot: He wears size 13 shoes. (This is unconfirmed, but if they’re not size 13, they’re pretty close!).

© Gailann Overholt