Richard Samuel Benjamin (born May 22, 1938) is an American actor and director of film and television. He’s frequently worked with his wife Paula Prentiss, including the short lived sitcom He & She (1967), with Jack Cassidy, Hamilton Camp, and Kenneth Mars. He made his film debut as an actor in Larry Peerce’s Goodbye, Columbus (1969), with Ali MacGraw, Jack Klugman, and Nan Martin.
Films in the early 1970s include Mike Nichol’s Catch-22 (1970), with Alan Arkin, Bob Balaban, Martin Balsam, Olimpia Carlisi, Marcel Dalio, Art Garfunkel, Jack Gilford, Charles Grodin, Bob Newhart, Anthony Perkins, Austin Pendleton, Prentiss, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight, and Orson Welles; Frank Perry’s Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970), with Frank Langella and Carrie Snodgress; The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971), with Joanna Shimkus, Adam West, Elizabeth Ashley, Patricia Barry, and Tiffany Bolling; The Steagle (1971), with Chill Wills and Cloris Leachman; Portnoy’s Complaint (1972), with Karen Black, Lee Grant, Jeannie Berlin, and Jill Clayburgh; Herbert Ross’s The Last of Sheila (1973), with Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, Joan Hackett, James Mason, Ian McShane, and Raquel Welch; and Michael Crichton’s Westworld (1973), with Yul Brynner and James Brolin.
Films in the mid to late 1970s include The Sunshine Boys (1975), with George Burns, Walter Matthau, Lee Meredith, F. Murray Abraham, Rosetta LeNoire, Howard Hesseman, and Ron Rifkin; TV movie No Room to Run (1977), with Prentiss, Barry Sullivan, Noel Ferrier, Ray Barrett, and Anne Haddy; Howard Zieff’s House Calls (1978), with Matthau, Glenda Jackson, and Art Carney; and Michael Schultz’s Scavenger Hunt (1979), with James Coco, Scatman Crothers, Ruth Gordon, Leachman, Cleavon Little, Roddy McDowall, Robert Morley, Richard Mulligan, Tony Randall, Dirk Benedict, Willie Aames, Stephanie Faracy, Stephen Furst, Richard Masur, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meat Loaf, and Vincent Price.
Films in the 1980s include Gilbert Cates’s The Last Married Couple in America (1980), with George Segal, Natalie Wood, Valerie Harper, Dom DeLuise, and Bob Dishy; How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980), with Jane Curtin, Susan Saint James, Jessica Lange, Dabney Coleman, Fred Willard, Eddie Albert, Scott Elliott, Cathryn Damon, and Garrett Morris; Witches’ Brew (1980), with Teri Garr, and Lana Turner; Buck Henry’s First Family (1980), with Bob Newhart, Madeline Kahn, Gilda Radner, Bob Dishy, Harvey Korman, Willard, Rip Torn, and Austin Pendleton; Saturday the 14th (1981), with Prentiss, Severn Darden, Jeffrey Tambor, and Kari Michaelsen; and TV movie Pickin’ It In (1983), with Prentiss, Tony Roberts, and Molly Ringwald.
Later films include Deconstructing Harry (1997), with Woody Allen (who also directed), Caroline Aaron, Kirstie Alley, Bob Balaban, Eric Bogosian, Billy Crystal, Judy Davis, Hazelle Goodman, Mariel Hemingway, Amy Irving, Julie Kavner, Eric Lloyd, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobey Maguire, Demi Moore, Elisabeth Shue, Stanley Tucci, and Robin Williams; Keeping Up with the Steins (2006), with Daryl Sabara, Jami Gertz, Jeremy Piven, Larry Miller, Garry Marshall, and Daryl Hannah; and Henry Poole Is Here (2008), with Luke Wilson, Adriana Barraza, Radha Mitchell, Morgan Lily, Cheryl Hines, and George Lopez.
Benjamin found secondary success as a filmmaker, making his directorial debut with My Favorite Year (1982), with Peter O’Toole, Mark Linn-Baker, Jessica Harper, and Joseph Bologna. Other films in the 1980s include Racing the Moon (1984), with Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, Nicolas Cage, and Crispin Glover; City Heat (1984), Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Jane Alexander, Kahn, Torn, Irene Cara, Richard Roundtree, and Tony Lo Bianco; The Money Pit (1986), with Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, Alexander Godunov, and Maureen Stapleton; Little Nikita (1988), with Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, Richard Bradford, and Richard Lynch; and My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988), with Dan Aykroyd, Kim Basinger, Jon Lovitz, Alyson Hannigan, and Seth Green.
Films in the 1990s include Downtown (1990), with Anthony Edwards, Forest Whitaker, Penelope Ann Miller, and Joe Pantoliano; Mermaids (1990), with Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder, Michael Schoeffling, and Christina Ricci; Made in America (1993), with Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Danson, Nia Long, Jennifer Tilly, and Will Smith; Milk Money (1994), with Melanie Griffith, Ed Harris, Malcolm McDowell, and Anne Heche; Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), with Shirley MacLaine, Ricki Lake, and Brendan Fraser; TV movie The Pentagon Wars (1998), with Kelsey Grammer, Cary Elwes, Viola Davis, John C. McGinley, and Olympia Dukakis; and TV movie Tourist Trap (1998), with Daniel Stern, Julie Hagerty, Paul Giamatti, and Ryan Reynolds.
Films in the 2000s include The Sports Page (2001), with Grammer, Newhart, John Kapelos, and Eugene Levy; TV movie Laughter on the 23rd Floor (2001), with Nathan Lane, Mark Linn-Baker, Saul Rubinek, and Dan Castellaneta; The Shrink Is In (2001), with Courteney Cox, David Arquette, David James Elliott, Carol Kane, Jon Polito, and Viola Davis; Marci X (2003), with Lisa Kudrow, Damon Wayans, Jane Krakowski, Christine Baranski, and Paula Garcés; TV movie The Goodbye Girl (2004), with Patricia Heaton, Jeff Daniels, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, and Alan Cumming; and TV movie A Little Thing Called Murder (2006), with Davis, Jonathan Jackson, Chelcie Ross, and Cynthia Stevenson.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Goodbye, Columbus (1969) – directed by Larry Peerce
- Catch-22 (1970) – directed by Mike Nichols
- Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970) – directed by Frank Perry
- The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971) – directed by Lawrence Turman
- The Steagle (1971) – directed by Paul Sylbert
- Portnoy’s Complaint (1972) – directed by Ernest Lehman
- The Last of Sheila (1973) – directed by Herbert Ross
- Westworld (1973) – directed by Michael Crichton
- The Sunshine Boys (1975) – directed by Herbert Ross
- No Room to Run (1976) – directed by Robert Michael Lewis – TV movie
- House Calls (1978) – directed by Howard Zieff
- Fame (1978) – directed by Marc Daniels – TV movie
- Love at First Bite (1979) – directed by Stan Dragoti
- Scavenger Hunt (1979) – directed by Michael Schultz
- Where’s Poppa? (1979) – director only – TV movie
- The Last Married Couple in America (1980) – directed by Gilbert Cates
- How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980) – directed by Robert Scheerer
- Witches’ Brew (1980) – directed by Richard Shorr
- First Family (1980) – directed by Buck Henry
- Saturday the 14th (1981) – directed by Howard R. Cohen
- My Favorite Year (1982) – director only
- Packin’ It In (1983) – directed by Jud Taylor – TV movie
- Racing with the Moon (1984) – director only
- City Heat (1984) – director only
- The Money Pit (1986) – director only
- Little Nikita (1988) – director only
- My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988) – director only
- Downtown (1990) – director only
- Mermaids (1990) – director only
- Lift (1992) – directed by Salomé Breziner – short
- Made in America (1993)* – director only
- Milk Money (1994) – director only
- Mrs. Winterbourne (1996) – director only
- Deconstructing Harry (1997) – directed by Woody Allen
- The Pentagon Wars (1998) – also director – TV movie
- Tourist Trap (1998) – director only – TV movie
- The Sports Pages (2001) – director only – TV movie
- Laughter on the 23rd Floor (2001) – director only – TV movie
- The Shrink Is In (2001) – uncredited – also director
- Marci X (2003) – also director
- The Goodbye Girl (2004) – also director – TV movie
- A Little Thing Called Murder (2006) – director only – TV movie
- Keeping Up with the Steins (2006) – directed by Scott Marshall
- Henry Poole Is Here (2008) – directed by Mark Pellington
- Pablo (2012) – directed by Richard Goldgewicht – himself – documentary