Who is Benjamin Bratt?
Benjamin Bratt is an American television and film actor who gained fame for playing the role of the NYPD Detective Reynaldo Curtis on the NBC drama series 'Law & Order'. He has portrayed many characters that were involved in law enforcement, including his debut film 'Juarez' and the two television series 'Knightwatch' and 'Nasty Boys'. However, the role of Rey Curtis brought him widespread attention and critical acclaim. He has appeared in a number of feature films, including 'Miss Congeniality', 'Traffic', 'Catwoman', 'Ride Along 2' and 'Doctor Strange', working with stars like Sandra Bullock, Michael Douglas, Halle Berry and Benedict Cumberbatch among others. Bratt, who was accustomed to "blind casting", casting anyone for any part, was surprised to find that in Hollywood, he was mainly getting stereotypical Hispanic roles initially. However, proud of his roots, he was happy to portray a Tlicho Indian in the film 'The Lesser Blessed'. He himself is involved in many charitable works to support Native Indian causes such as the American Indian College Fund. He is currently one of the main casts of the television series 'Star'.
Childhood & Early Life
Benjamin Bratt was born on December 16, 1963, in San Francisco, California. His mother, Eldy, worked as a nurse, while his father, Peter Bratt, Sr., was a sheet-metal worker. His parents divorced in 1968, when he was only four years old.
His mother, who moved from Lima, Peru, to the United States at the age of 14, comes from Peruvian Quechua ethnic group and is a Native American activist. His father has English, German, and Austrian ancestry. His grandfather, George Cleveland Bratt, was a Broadway actor.
When he was around five years old, he and his four siblings had to move frequently between California and Alcatraz with his mother, who was involved in the Alcatraz prison takeover. He was very much influenced by this early experience.
While attending Lowell High School in San Francisco, he was part of the prestigious speech and debate team, 'Lowell Forensic Society'. He was a member of the 'Lambda Chi Alpha' fraternity at the University of California, from where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1986.
During his teenage years, he decided to live with his father, who encouraged him to participate in a high school play, which led him to take up acting courses at college. After graduation, he was accepted into the M.F.A. program at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, but had to quit before earning a degree when he was offered his first acting role.
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Benjamin Bratt was cast in a television series in 1987, but after a failed pilot, the series was cancelled and the telefilm 'Juarez' was made, in which he played a young Mexican-American lawman. He soon landed major roles in two short-lived drama series, 'Knightwatch' and 'Nasty Boys'.
The next few years, he appeared in many feature films, as well as made-for-television films, including 'Chains of Gold' (1991), 'Demolition Man' (1993), 'Blood In Blood Out' (1993) and 'Texas' (1994). He received critical acclaim for playing the role of a Native American ranger in 'The River Wild' (1994).
During the filming of 'Nasty Boys', he developed a friendship with producer Dick Wolf, who later created the series 'Law & Order', and offer him a major role in its sixth season in 1994. His portrayal of Detective Reynaldo Curtis earned him accolades from critics, but he decided to leave the show in 1999 to spend more time with his family.
He has helped his filmmaker brother Peter Bratt, Jr. in the production of his films. In 1996, he acted under his brother's direction in the film 'Follow Me Home', starring Salma Hayek. He also appeared in Peter's independent film 'La Mission' in 2009.
He acted alongside Madonna in the 2000 film 'The Next Best Thing' and was a part of the ensemble cast movie 'Traffic'. The same year, he was cast opposite his 'Demolition Man' co-star and friend Sandra Bullock in the film 'Miss Congeniality'.
In 2004, he got a major role in the superhero film, 'Catwoman', which also starred Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. However, the movie failed at the box office. The next year, he was cast as Jim Tisnewski in the Pentagon drama 'E-Ring'.
He starred as William Banks in the series 'The Cleaner' in 2008-09. He reprised his role of Rey Curtis in an episode of 'Law & Order' in 2009. He made guest appearance in five episodes of the TV series 'Modern Family'.
He had voice roles in the two parts of the animated movie 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' in 2009 and 2013. He also lent his voice to the character of Eduardo Perez in 'Despicable Me 2'.
In 2011, he was cast in the guest role of Dr. Jake Reilly on the series 'Private Practice', and reprised his role as a main character in the next two seasons of the show.
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He starred in the limited event television series '24: Live Another Day' in 2014. In 2016, he appeared in films like 'Ride Along 2', 'The Infiltrator', and 'Doctor Strange'.
Benjamin Bratt's portrayal of Detective Rey Curtis in the crime drama 'Law & Order' became his best known onscreen character. He reprised the role in telefims based on the series and made guest appearance even after leaving the series.
Awards & Achievements
In 1999, Benjamin Bratt was nominated for the 'Primetime Emmy Award' for 'Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series' for his role in 'Law & Order'.
He has won four 'ALMA Awards' for 'Outstanding Actor' for the films and television series he has worked on. He also shared a 'Screen Actors Guild Award' with his co-stars from the film 'Traffic'.
Personal Life & Legacy
Benjamin Bratt dated documentary filmmaker Monika McClure from 1990 to 1996. He then had a short-lived relationship with Jennifer Esposito, who made guest appearance on his TV show 'Law & Order' in 1996.
He started dating award winning actress Julia Roberts in 1998. However, the high-profile couple broke up four months after appearing together at the 2001 'Academy Awards' ceremony.
Bratt, who reportedly wanted to settle down, surprised everyone when he married his pregnant girlfriend, actress Talisa Soto, on April 13, 2002 in San Francisco. They first met during the audition of 'Blood In Blood Out' in the early 1990s, and started dating on the sets of 'Piñero' in 2001. The couple has a daughter named Sophia Rosalinda Bratt and a son named Mateo Bravery Bratt.
He is proud of his Indigenous American heritage and actively supports various causes like raising funds for education and healthcare for Native Americans. He also narrated Native history in the 5-part mini-series 'We Shall Remain', from the award-winning PBS series 'American Experience'.
Benjamin Bratt's daughter Sophia suffered a brain injury during her birth, which resulted in physical disabilities. Bratt, a family man, makes sure to take up projects that allow him to spend more time at home, taking care of his daughter.