Birthday: March 25, 1967
Age: 53 Years, 53 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Benjamin Frederick Mankiewicz
Born in: Washington, D.C., United States
Famous as: Journalist, Film Critic
Spouse/Ex-: Contessa Kellogg, Lee Russo
father: Frank Mankiewicz
mother: Holly Jolley Reynolds
siblings: Josh Mankiewicz
U.S. State: Washington
education: Columbia University, Tufts University
Ben Mankiewicz is an American journalist, film critic, and television personality who is best known as a host on 'Turner Classic Movies'. A descendant of a prestigious Hollywood family, he started his career as a producer at WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. He then went on to work as a reporter for WCSC-TV in Charleston, South Carolina and also served as an anchor of 'The Times' on WAMI in Miami, Florida in 1998. He was named the 'Best TV News Anchor in South Florida' by the 'New Times' newspaper both in 1999 and 2000. However, he got his big break in 2003 when he was selected as the second host for 'Turner Classic Movies', along with the network's prime host Robert Osborne. His responsibilities include hosting screenings of classic films, interviewing Hollywood stars, and speaking on TCM cruises. He was a presenter on the television series 'At the Movies' from 2008 to 2009. He also acted as a co-host and commentator on the shows 'The Young Turks' and 'What the Flick?!' on the TYT Network.
The Meteoric Rise to Stardom
Ben Mankiewicz, who was brought up detached from the Hollywood culture of his family, became interested in films only after he took a film class while doing his history major at Tufts University. He learned to appreciate the old classic films, including his grandfather's 'Citizen Kane', as well as the historical contexts the movies were set in. Following his brother Josh, who is a TV reporter, he started his television career as a sports reporter on the program 'The George Michael Sports Machine'. He spent two back-to-back summers working under George Michael and Glenn Brenner. After working as a reporter and an anchor in Charleston and Miami for a few years, in September 2003, he became a host for 'Turner Classic Movies', which, in his own words, is "the second-best job in television". He was only the second host in the network's history after Robert Osborne. Ben, who stayed under Osborne's shadows for the first three or four years, became a star in his own right with time, and was trusted with more and more responsibilities, which he considers a wonderful opportunity.
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Controversies & Scandals
Ben Mankiewicz had a rough road ahead of him after he got the marvelous opportunity to host TCM for the first time. Many of the fans saw him as a replacement for veteran film critic Robert Osborne, who was considered as the heart and soul of TCM. The producers also wanted to emphasize the differences between the two, which made things even worse for him. He was asked to grow a goatee, his scripts were less reverential, and he was given a set in a downtown loft. Fans of the show immediately started to criticize his appearance, attitude, and even his worth as a film critic. However, as the fans realized that his role was to complement Osborne, not to replace him, they started to admire his approach to hosting the show.
Benjamin Frederick "Ben" Mankiewicz was born on March 25, 1967, in Washington, D.C., to Holly and Frank Mankiewicz. He comes from a family of prominent screenwriters who are considered among the Hollywood royalty. His grandfather, Herman J. Mankiewicz, was an Academy Award winning screenwriter, who co-wrote 'Citizen Kane' (1941), which ranks on the top of American Film Institute’s '100 Greatest American Movies of All Time'. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who won the Academy Award twice for both 'Best Director' and 'Best Writing, Screenplay' for 'A Letter to Three Wives' (1949) and 'All About Eve' (1950), is his great-uncle. His brother, Josh, is an NBC News reporter, while screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz and producer-filmmaker Nick Davis are his cousins.
His father, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, joined politics after the war ended, serving as the press secretary to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the presidential campaign manager for Sen. George S. McGovern. His grandfather, who had grown wary of his own profession by then, readily supported his father's decision to become a politician. As a result, Ben grew up in a political environment, away from Hollywood.
He attended Georgetown Day School and later graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Tufts University. Ben, who was the co-captain of the basketball team at his school, is a huge fan of the former Oakland A's star Mitchell Page. He is also a fan of singer and musician Bruce Springsteen and travels often to see the performances of his band the 'E Street Band'. He was married to Contessa Kellogg from 2005 to 2009. He later married Lee Russo in 2013 on the TCM Cruise. They currently live in Santa Monica, California, with their daughter Josie and three pet dogs.