Benjamin Brat

     
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Real Name: Benjamin Bratt
Birthday: 12/16/1963
Place of Birth: San Francisco, California

 

Benjamin Bratt became known to television audiences in 1995 when he joined the smash hit NBC television series "Law & Order" in its fifth season, developing the character of Reyaldo 'Rey' Curtis, whose heritage matched his own. His character on the series, a family friendly young policeman with old-fashioned morals, provided a much different feel to the older, more freethinking and sarcastic Detective Lenny Briscoe (Jerry Orbach). His involvement into the production went well with no drop in ratings, and viewers supported Rey even when he ran into the arms of another woman. After five seasons on the broadcast, the actor decided to leave at the end of the 1998-1999 season in order to chase other interests. He left on a high note, gaining a supporting actor Emmy nomination in the process.

The grandson of Broadway actor George Bratt and the son of a Peruvian mother committed to the Native American community, Benjamin was raised in Northern California but did not become interested in performing until he attended college. Hired in his first television job while studying at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, he stopped pursuing a masters degree to act full time. 

His first two pilots, "Juarez" and "Lovers, Partners & Spies" did not impress and were not picked up by  the networks, but he was on the screen full time in "Knightwatch" (1988), portraying a former mob boss who became the leader of a young anti-crime guard tightly based on NYC's Guardian Angels. He followed with another doomed television show, NBC's "Nasty Boys" (1990), executive produced by Dick Wolf, who also fashioned and executive produced "Law & Order", and while he had stayed away from attempts by Wolf to get him to appear on that show, he could not turn away the offer of a recurrent role.

Prior to "Law & Order", The actors work consisted of supporting roles, typically as Latinos or Native Americans. After his debut in "Bright Angel", he appeared in "Chains of Gold" (1990), playing a nasty drug dealer who kept young Joey Lawrence locked up in an effort to attract hero John Travolta to his lair. He raised his profile further with roles in "One Good Cop" with Rene Russo (1991), "Bound by Honor" and "Demolition Man" with Sandra Bullock and Wesley Snipes, about a cop who is brought out of suspended animation in prison to pursue an old ultra-violent enemy who is loose in a nonviolent future society.

He next attracted Hollywood's awareness with two projects in 1994: "The River Wild", where he played a Native American warden doomed for his endeavor to help Meryl Streep; and "Clear and Present Danger" starring Harrison Ford, as the field administrator for American soldiers sent by the CIA to gain access to the Colombian countryside. The heated revelation led to a lead in the ABC television miniseries "James A. Michener's Texas" (1995), where he developed his role as the pompous, irritated Mexican Benito Garza.

Even though Benjamin portrayed the old-fashioned Curtis on "Law & Order", in keeping with his own childhood he remained active in Native American issues, including annual contribution in the American Indian Friendship House in Oakland, California. He next starred in, and helped produce, "Follow Me Home" with Salma Hayek (1997), an inexpensive production directed by his brother, Peter, and then utilized his "Pretty Boy" good looks into snagging the heart of Hollywood's classic "Pretty Woman", Julia Roberts, whose guest appearance in the 200th episode of "Law & Order" grabbed incredible ratings. Since exiting the production, he turned on the needed magic as part of the appealing "The Next Best Thing" (2000), acting alongside Madonna and Rupert Everett. Bratt also starred in "Red Planet" starring Val Kilmer during 2000, about a outpost on Mars created by humans.

In the Fall of 2001, His relationship with Julia Roberts ended, among a outbreak of media inquiry. After being her trustworthy companion at the 2001 Oscars everyone demanded to know what went wrong with Hollywood's leading fantasy couple. While staying mostly neutral about the split, he implied that Roberts's reputation put him too close to the spotlight and destructive Hollywood scene. Other tabloids said he was just wanting to marry, settle down and start a family, and Roberts was not about to give up here run for the money of celebrity gold. 

Soon after his separation from Roberts, his career began to gain speed and momentum. He was cast as the lead in two well published features, "Abandon" (2002), opposite Katie Holmes, and "The Great Raid" (2002). With these big screen roles and exposure, Benjamin was ready to really become a Hollywood celebrity and commanding leading man. His personal life began to return to normal also, and he married longtime friend Talisa Soto in May of 2002 and announced soon after that Soto was expecting their first child.

His next film development was in the dull comic book spin-off "Catwoman" (2004), in which he played a detective who falls in love with both the cat-like crime solver and her squeaky clean alter-ego (Halle Berry), even with the film's many shortcomings, he showed a wholesome measure of leading man appeal and an fortunate lack of ego, allowing himself to be mentally dominated on screen by Halle Berry and the wicked Sharon Stone. 

In August 2005, “The Great Raid” was finally released after three years in the Miramax editing room. He played Colonel Henry Mucci, chief officer of the 6th Ranger Battalion that went 50 miles behind Japanese enemy lines to free hundreds of prisoners of war from the famous Cabanatuan prison camp during World War II. 

In 2007, he starred in the romantic comedy "Love In The Time Of Cholera" (2007), about Florentino, a man rejected by the beautiful Fermina at a young age, who devotes much of his adult life to carnal affairs as a desperate attempt to heal his broken heart. Next was the dramatic film "Trucker" (2008), about a truck driver who looks to turn her carefree life around after she takes in her estranged 11-year-old son. Rounding out 2008 was the bio-drama "Guerilla" (2008),  set in 1964, an Argentine revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara (Benicio del Toro) travels to New York City to address the United Nations.

Bratt returned to the television mini-series format starring in "The Andromeda Strain" (2008) along side Rick Schroder, where an entire town is killed by a mysterious organism brought to earth by a returning satellite. A search through the town reveals two survivors: a baby and an old man. Next up was "Mission Street Rhapsody" (2009), with Jeremy Ray Valdez and Max Rosenak.

 

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