Professor of Practice,
Dept. of Telecommunications
Radio-TV Center, Room 319
robenson 'at' indiana.edu
Robby Benson, Professor of Practice joins IU in the fall of 2013. Benson's multi-hyphenate career in the arts spans four and a half decades. As an actor, his Broadway credits include Zelda, The Rothschilds, and Pirates of Penzance where he met his wife of 32 years Karla DeVito.
His writing career includes the Warner Brothers feature, One On One, Die Laughing (also producer), Modern Love (also writer, producer and director) and Betrayal of the Dove. Benson also penned the LA Times’ Best-Selling novel, Who Stole The Funny? (HarperCollins, 2007) and recently the multimedia, medical memoir I’m Not Dead...Yet! (An Apple ‘Best Multi-touch Book’).
A two time Golden Globe nominated actor, Benson has starred in the films Jory, Jeremy, Lucky Lady, Ode to Billie Joe, Ice Castles, Walk Proud, The End, Tribute, The Chosen, Running Brave, Harry and Son, among others.
He directed White Hot, the first HD feature shot in North America. An in demand director for every major network, he shot over 100 episodes and pilots for television - single camera, multi-camera, both film and video - Some of his work includes: Friends, Ellen, Evening Shade, Naked Truth, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Thunder Alley, Two Guys and a Girl, Common Law, Baby Bob, Bob Patterson, Eight Simple Rules, Jesse, Jersey, The Lee Evans Project, Complete Savages, I'm With Her, My Brother's Keeper, Game Night, Chris Elliott Project, Bringing Up Jack, Style and Substance, Pearl, Meant for Each Other, Dharma and Greg, George Wendt Show, Muddling Through, Good Advice, Family Album, and he exec. produced and directed The Huntress, and was nominated for a Cable Ace Award for directing on Kaufman/Bright/Crane's first HBO series Dream On.
He is the voice of Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film ever to receive a Best Picture Academy Award nomination. Starring roles for television films include The Last of Mrs. Lincoln, Death Be Not Proud, The Death of Richie, Two of a Kind, and California Girls. (He also performed on The Ed Sullivan Show!) He received an honorary doctorate from the University of South Carolina (1988) where he taught for two years, including a year long course in filmmaking where he produced the feature film Modern Love with his filmmaking students. Most recently, he Executive Produced the upcoming feature film Straight Outta Tompkins (2013), written, starring and directed by his son Zephyr Benson. Many of his former NYU students worked on the film.
His 24 year teaching career also includes, UCLA, University of Utah, Cal-Arts, and most recently at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television where he was nominated for both New York University's Distinguished Teaching Award (2006) and the David Payne-Carter Award for Teaching Excellence (2010).
Benson is a lifetime member of the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, Equity, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. A studio musician since age 14, Benson belongs to the American Federation of Musicians - NY local 802, and is an Emeritus on The Board of the Western Council of The Actor’s Fund of America. As a songwriter and composer scoring films, television, and theater (his musical Open Heart debuted in NYC 2004) he has received two RIAA Gold Records for songwriting, most notably for We Are Not Alone in John Hughes iconic film The Breakfast Club.