Benjamin McKenzie...the real Ryan Atwood
After graduating from UVA in 1991, Benjamin decided to follow a different dream and focus on his acting career. This change may have been provoked by the success of his paternal grandparents, both actors. His uncle is is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, so its obvious that success runs in the family.
He moved to New York and had some minor roles in off-broadway productions. While in New York, Ben waited tables to get by and shared a cramped apartment with several roommates. In 2002 he had a slump in job opportunities and decided he would move to LA to try to make it big. It was here in LA that he got is break and auditioned for The OC. He has been a lead role since then and the show has given him the most success. In fact, Benjamin averages between $15,000 - $25,000 an episode. This may not seem like a lot compared to the million that FRIENDS show stars were averaging each episode but imagine yourself in that position. Benjamin isn't actually that much older than us and considering there are about 19 episodes per season, he has it pretty good. He recently bought an apartment in Santa Monica, CA can be seen driving around town in his new Infiniti G35...quite a change from his lifestyle in New York.