Angels in America
Ben Shenkman is widely recognized for his standout performance as Louis Ironson, a neurotic gay Jewish man who is unable to cope with his lover being infected with AIDS, in the HBO award winning miniseries adapted from the critically acclaimed play by Tony Kushner, "Angels in America" (2003). He has also worked on stage and received a 2001 Tony Award nomination for Best Actor (Featured Role – Play) for his portrayal of Harold 'Hal' Dobbs in the David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play "Proof" (2000-2001), opposite "Angels in America" costar Mary-Louise Parker.
TV viewers could catch him playing recurring roles on "Ed" and "Law & Order," and costarring in the short lived CBS/VH1 drama "Love Monkey.” He now plays Julianna Margulies' partner, Russell Krauss, on FOX’s series "Canterbury's Law," which premiered on March 10, 2008, as a mid season replacement.
As for his stage work, the New York native who holds a MFA degree from New York University made his Broadway debut in 1998 in a revival of Terence Rattigan's 1952 critically acclaimed play "Deep Blue Sea," portraying Philip Welch. After a brilliant performance in "Proof" (2000-2001), he returned to Broadway in 2004 to play Jonathan Waxman in the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) production of Donald Marguiles' play, "Sight Unseen," opposite Laura Linney.
"When I was doing a four character, intimate, realistic play on Broadway, I thought, 'Wow, count your blessings. This'll never happen again.' And unbelievably, it has. It's an incredible privilege to be able to do this kind of play in a big theater in New York." Ben Shenkman
Meanwhile, moviegoers could watch him acting in such films as "Quiz Show" (1994), "Eraser" (1996), "Pi" (1998), "The Siege" (1998), "Joe Gould's Secret" (2000), "Requiem for a Dream" (2000), "Waking Dreams" (2004), "Must Love Dogs" (2005), "Just Like Heaven" (2005), "Americanese" (2006), "Breakfast with Scot" (2007), and "Then She Found Me" (2007). He will next be seen in the upcoming films "Love Shack" and "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men."
The 6' 3" thespian has been married since 2005.
Childhood and Family:
In New York, Ben Shenkman was born on September 26, 1968. He attended Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, and received a Masters of Fine Arts degree from New York University in 1993.
Shenkman has been married to Lauren Greilsheimer since September 17, 2005.
With an MFA degree under his belt, Ben Shenkman soon began his acting career and divided his time between regional stage and the big and small screen. He made his TV debut in November 1993 in an episode of the NBC legal drama television series “Law & Order,” and made his film appearance debut in director/producer Robert Redford's Academy Award nominated, fact-based film "Quiz Show," which was adapted from Richard N. Goodwin's book "Remembering America.” He also appeared in Charles Russell's action movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vanessa Williams, "Eraser" (1996), and Herbert Beigel's independent comedy, "Camp Stories" (1997), starring Elliott Gould and Jerry Stiller. He appeared on television with a guest role in a February 1996 episode of FOX’s hit drama series "New York Undercover."
The talented actor made his Broadway debut in 1998 in a revival of Terence Rattigan's play "Deep Blue Sea," in which he portrayed the role of Philip Welch. The play was staged at the Roundabout Theater in New York City from Mar 26 to May 10, 1998.
Shenkman subsequently returned to the big screen and starred as Lenny Meyer in Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller, "π" (1998). The film won awards at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay, and the Gotham Open Palm Awards.
During the rest of the 1990s, Shenkman supported Alec Baldwin, Andre Braugher, and Michael Jai White in Scott Sanders' film version of Patrick Quinn's novel, "Thick as Thieves" (1998), and shared the screen with Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Bruce Willis, and Tony Shalhoub in Edward Zwick's film about terrorist attacks on New York City, "The Siege" (1998). He was also cast alongside Billy Crudup and Samantha Morton in Alison Maclean's award winning film adapted from a collection of short stories by Denis Johnson, "Jesus' Son" (1999), and starred as Jordan Trainer, who has a whirlwind romance with a woman (played by Arija Bareikis) he met on a blind date, in Aaron Harnick's independent romantic comedy, "30 Days" (1999). Additionally, he returned to the NBC drama show “Law & Order,” this time as Nick Margolis. He would stay on the show from 1999 to 2005.
Entering the new millennium, Shenkman returned to Broadway and had a featured role opposite Mary-Louise Parker in the David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play "Proof," which ran from October 10, 2000, to September 9, 2001. For his brilliant portrayal of Harold 'Hal' Dobbs, Shenkman was nominated for Broadway's 2001 Tony Award for Best Actor (Featured Role – Play). During this time, Shenkman also continued to add to his resume by acting in the films "Table One," a comedy by Michael Bregman, "Joe Gould's Secret" (starring Ian Holm in the title role), Stanley Tucci's film adaptation of the 1965 true story-based book by Joseph Mitchell, and "Requiem for a Dream," Darren Aronofsky's Academy Award nominated film adaptation of a 1978 novel of the same name by Hubert Selby, Jr. He also costarred with Jeff Daniels and Emily Bergl in writer/director Michael Walker's psychological thriller "Chasing Sleep," and starred in Johanna Lee's 13-minute short film, "Bed." On the small screen, he could be seen guest starring in an April 2000 episode of NBC’s "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
From 2001 to 2003, Shenkman was featured in multiple episodes of NBC’s comedy series starring Tom Cavanagh, "Ed." Meanwhile, he also costarred with Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey, and Fairuza Balk in Rebecca Miller's independent film version of her own book, "Personal Velocity: Three Portraits" (2002), and was cast with Campbell Scott and Jesse Eisenberg in writer/director Dylan Kidd's comedy, "Roger Dodger" (2002). He also appeared in Daniel Algrant's film starring Al Pacino, Kim Basinger, and Téa Leoni, "People I Know" (2002; as voice of radio announcer) and in the comedic video about the three man comedy troupe from New York City, "Stella Shorts 1998-2002" (2002).
2003 proved to be Shenkman's landmark year as a television actor. He was cast in the Mike Nichols-directed production of the HBO award winning miniseries adapted from the critically acclaimed play by Tony Kushner, "Angels in America," in which “Proof” costar Mary-Louise Parker was also cast. Portraying Louis Ironson, Shenkman received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.
"There were a lot of big things for me about doing it [Angels in America]. One of them was that I had been involved with the play as a student and as a younger actor. It was kind of a culmination of a history that I had already had with the play that was very much part of my growing up and becoming an actor." Ben Shenkman
In the following years, Shenkman starred in John Daschbach's short drama film “Waking Dreams” (2004), supported Diane Lane and John Cusack in Gary David Goldberg's take on Claire Cook's novel, the romantic comedy "Must Love Dogs" (2005), and acted opposite Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo in Mark Waters' box office hit romantic comedy, "Just Like Heaven" (2005), which was based on the novel "If Only It Were True" by Marc Levy. He was also spotted as a guest in a dual episode of NBC’s series "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" and in an episode of Comedy Central's comedy program "Stella."
Shenkman returned to Broadway in 2004 in the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) production of Donald Marguiles' play, "Sight Unseen," which was helmed by “Proof” director Daniel Sullivan. In the play that ran from May 25 to July 25, 2004, Shenkman starred as Jonathan Waxman, opposite Laura Linney.
2006 saw Shenkman become Judy Greer's boss and boyfriend in the short-lived CBS/VH1 drama series based on the book by Kyle Smith, "Love Monkey." That same year, he filmed "Americanese," Eric Byler's independent film adaptation of Shawn Wong's novel "American Knees.” He also starred in a TV series pilot called "Twenty Questions."
In 2007, Shenkman supported Jack Davenport in Peter Himmelstein's thriller "The Key Man" and teamed up with Thomas Cavanagh for Laurie Lynd's Canadian comedy film adapted from the novel by Tufts University professor Michael Downing, "Breakfast with Scot." He also filmed "Then She Found Me," the film version of Elinor Lipman's 1990 novel, which was directed by and starred Helen Hunt. He also guest starred in an episode of "Wainy Days," an internet series starring David Wain.
Shenkman now plays Julianna Margulies' partner, Russell Krauss, on FOX’s legal drama series "Canterbury's Law," which premiered on March 10, 2008, as a mid-season replacement. He recently wrapped up "Love Shack," an upcoming comedy movie by writers/directors Gregg Sacon and Michael B. Silver, and will soon complete "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men," starring Julianne Nicholson and directed by John Krasinski, which is an adaptation of a collection of twenty-three short stories of the same name by David Foster Wallace.