How Old Is Ben Mckenzie From ‘The O.C.’ and How Old Was He When He Filmed the Show?

Ben McKenzie, better known as Ryan Atwood, is all grown up. 

The actor, who first rose to fame on Fox’s TV show, The O.C., as the kid from Chino, Calif., taken in and eventually adopted by the wealthy Cohen family in Orange County, Calif., is now a husband, father, actor, writer, and director. Ahead, find out more about McKenzie, his personal life, and his career in the entertainment industry. 

Ben McKenzie is 41 years old 

McKenzie’s birthday is Sept. 12, 1978, which makes him 41 years old. According to IMDb, he was born Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan in Austin, Texas, to his poet mother, Mary Frances, and father, Pieter Meade Schenkkan, an attorney.

His uncle on his father’s side is Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Robert Schenkkan. Schenkkan is known for works such as the 2016 film, Hacksaw Ridge and his award-winning plays The Kentucky Cycle (1992) and All The Way (2014).

Ben McKenzie at Build Series on Nov. 7, 2019
Ben McKenzie at Build Series on Nov. 7, 2019 | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

He landed a role on ‘The O.C.’ in his early twenties

The debut episode of The O.C. premiered on Aug. 5, 2003, on Fox. So, when the pilot aired McKenzie had been a little more than a month away from his 25th birthday.

His costars including Adam Brody (Seth Cohen), Mischa Barton (Marissa Cooper), and Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts) were 23, 17 and 21 years old when The O.C. began. The series ran for four seasons before ending in Feb. 2007, meaning McKenzie ended the show seven months before his 29th birthday. 

Adam Brody, Mischa Barton, Ben McKenzie, and Rachel Bilson at the 2003 Billboard Music Awards
Adam Brody, Mischa Barton, Ben McKenzie, and Rachel Bilson at the 2003 Billboard Music Awards | KMazur/WireImage

Ben McKenzie has a net worth of $13 million

Since his breakout role on The O.C., McKenzie has continued working in film and TV, giving him a sizeable net worth of approximately $13 million. After The O.C. wrapped, he landed roles in films such as Johnny Got His Gun (2008), Adventures in the Sin Bin (2013), and Decoding Annie Parker (2013). He continued getting parts but none as successful as his run as The O.C.’s Ryan Atwood. 

He’s played a member of law enforcement twice

In 2009, McKenzie returned to TV as Officer Ben Sherman on the critically acclaimed series, Southland. He starred in the show opposite Emmy and Academy Award-winning actress Regina King. Southland ran for five seasons before ending in April 2013. 

Following a few one-off roles, McKenzie found yet another more longterm role on TV playing a member of law enforcement a year after he said goodbye to Southland. In 2014, he began playing James Gordon in the Fox series, Gotham, where he would go on to meet his wife, Morena Baccarin.

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The two went public with their relationship in 2015 before welcoming a  daughter, Frances Laiz Setta Schenkkan, in March 2016, according to Brides. In 2017, the couple married on Baccarin’s birthday, June 2, because the venue they wanted only had that particular date available. 

Not only did McKenzie meet his future wife while on Gotham, but he also got to flex his muscles as a director and writer. He tried his hand at directing three times while trying his skills at writing twice before the series ended in 2019.

Ben McKenzie is now a Broadway star

McKenzie doesn’t seem to be slowing down. After Gotham ended he moved from TV to Broadway. The actor made his Broadway debut in Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons. The play officially opened in Jan. 2020, according to Variety.