Benjamin Bratt (born December 16, 1963) is an American actor who has worked in film and on television. He is most known for playing Paco Aguilar in Blood In, Blood Out. He has also had supporting film roles in the 1990s in Demolition Man (1993), Clear and Present Danger (1994), and The River Wild (1994). From 1995 to 1999, he starred as New York City Police Department (NYPD) Detective Rey Curtis on the NBC drama series Law & Order.

Benjamin Bratt
Bratt in 2013
Born (1963-12-16) December 16, 1963 (age 60)
EducationUniversity of California, Santa Barbara (BFA)
American Conservatory Theater
Years active1987–present
(m. 2002)

In the 2000s, Bratt appeared in Miss Congeniality (2000), Traffic (2000), Piñero (2001), Catwoman (2004), and Trucker (2008), Despicable Me 2 (2013), Snitch (2013), Coco (2017), among other films. On television, Bratt has portrayed Dr. Jake Reilly on ABC's Private Practice (2011–2013), Steve Navarro on 24: Live Another Day (2014), and Jahil Rivera on Star (2016–2018). He has also done voice acting in animated feature films.

Bratt produced the film Dolores (2017), which explores the life of Dolores Huerta, an American labor leader and civil rights activist. The film received critical acclaim and several awards.

Bratt has received a Screen Actors Guild Award and been nominated for two others. He has received four ALMA Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award. He is an activist in the American Indian Movement.

Early life edit

Bratt was born on December 16, 1963,[1] the third of five children of Eldy (née Banda), a nurse and political activist, and Peter Bratt Sr., a sheet metal worker.[2] His mother was born in Lima, Peru, and is of Quechua descent. She moved to the United States with her family at age 14.[3] His father is American, and his paternal grandfather, George, was a Broadway actor.[4]

An activist for Native American rights, his mother took Bratt (age 6) and her other children to participate in the 1969 Native American occupation of Alcatraz. Led by young people from San Francisco, it raised national awareness of issues facing Native Americans, and attracted participants from across the country.[5] Bratt attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, where he was a member of the Lowell Forensic Society. Bratt earned a B.F.A. at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1986, where he joined the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.[6] Enrolled in the M.F.A. program at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, he left before receiving his degree in order to star in the 1987 television film Juarez.[5]

Career edit

Early work edit

He started his professional acting career at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, where he starred in the television film Juarez (1987). This received much critical acclaim, and he landed a supporting role in the television film Police Story: Gladiator School (1988). Also, he played his first film role as Esteban in Lovers, Partners & Spies (1988), which did not perform well at the box office. Bratt worked extensively in television, with roles in the Knightwatch and Nasty Boys series. In 1989, he starred in the film Nasty Boys, based on the television series.

Hollywood breakthrough and success edit

After several low-budget films and television films, including One Good Cop and Shadowhunter, in 1993, Bratt appeared in two Hollywood films. He portrayed a gang member turned LAPD officer named Paco Aguilar in Blood In, Blood Out, and Officer Alfredo Garcia from the year 2032 in Demolition Man.

The following year, he played supporting roles in the popular films of The River Wild, Clear and Present Danger, and James A. Michener's Texas.

Returning to television, he played Detective Reynaldo Curtis in the popular series Law & Order replacing Chris Noth, which gained him international recognition. Bratt appeared in 95 episodes over 5 seasons, 14 years, and 2 stints on the NBC show. For his role, in 1999 he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. In 1998 and 1999 he received ALMA awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series from American Latino Media Arts for this role on Law & Order.[5]

In 1999, Bratt decided to leave Law & Order. "I've felt like it was time to get back home to my family," Bratt said. "How do you walk away from the best job in the world and a group of people that you've grown to love? It's not easy, and it was an extremely difficult decision that I had to make."[7][8] On May 26, 1999, Bratt's final episode was aired. In 2009, Bratt returned as the now-retired Curtis on Law & Order, where he was reunited with his former boss, Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson), in the episode that aired on December 11, 2009. He returned to his film career that same year.

Later work edit

In 2000, Bratt co-starred with Madonna and Rupert Everett in The Next Best Thing. That same year, he played opposite Sandra Bullock in the romantic comedy Miss Congeniality and had a small role in the ensemble work Traffic, which included Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In 2004, the actor co-starred in Catwoman with Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. Bratt often portrays Hispanic characters, especially in his later work. Bratt said, "I've played 'Latin-looking spiv, third from the right so many times I can't count." In 2001, he starred in the biopic film Piñero, for which he received an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor. He played Puerto Rican actor and poet Miguel Piñero. Piñero was bisexual and when talking about Bratt having to portray his bisexuality, Bratt stated that this was "certainly something I wasn't afraid of." He went on to say, "Whether you're talking about Miguel's sexuality or his time spent in jail or his petty crime or his drug addiction, each one of those things is a component that makes up the entirety of the man."[9]

Bratt on the red carpet at the premiere of The Great Raid in Washington

He produced the 2009 film La Mission, directed by his brother, Peter Bratt. Peter Bratt also directed Follow Me Home, which Bratt produced and starred in.

In 2017, Bratt served as a Consulting Producer for the documentary film Dolores, directed by Peter Bratt; they supported the American Indian Movement. The film received critical acclaim and many awards. In 2009, Bratt performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Bratt was passionate about his opportunity to play a Tlicho Indian in the film The Lesser Blessed, which he valued because of his own Native background.

Bratt has appeared in several television shows since 2000, including starring as Jahil Rivera on Star and William Banks in The Cleaner. He played Dr. Jake Reilly in 36 episodes of Private Practice. He also appeared in such notable series as Frasier, 24: Live Another Day and E-Ring. Bratt appeared in Exiled: A Law & Order Movie and Homicide: Life on the Street as Rey Curtis, his role in Law & Order. His later popular films include The Woodsman, Snitch, Trucker, Thumbsucker, The Great Raid, Ride Along 2, and The Infiltrator.

Bratt has featured in five animated feature films, which include El Macho, the main antagonist, in Despicable Me 2. He played Manny the cameraman in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and reprised his role in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Also, in 2015, he voiced Superman in Justice League: Gods and Monsters. In the 2017 film Coco, Bratt voiced Ernesto de la Cruz, the main antagonist who was a Mexican folk legend and main character Miguel's idol. Bratt sings "Remember Me", a popular song in the film that is sung by many other characters throughout. "Remember Me" won Best Original Song at the 2018 Academy Awards; Coco won Best Animated Feature.

In 2016, Bratt played Jonathan Pangborn, a former paraplegic who uses magic to regain the full use of his body, in Doctor Strange. Bratt starred opposite Nicolas Cage in the 2019 action-thriller film A Score to Settle, directed by Shawn Ku.

In 2023, he had a recurring role in the Peacock series Poker Face.

Activism and philanthropy edit

Bratt at San Francisco Memorial Day parade Grand Master, in 2010

He has been active in the American Indian Movement and supports such causes as the American Indian College Fund.[5]

He narrated We Shall Remain (2009), a PBS mini-series about Native Americans, and part of its American Experience.[10]

Bratt has for years supported and served as a board member of the San Francisco Bay Area's Friendship House Association of American Indians and the Native American Health Center.[11] Bratt also has supported area organizations such as the Tribal Athletics Program, and United Indian Nations.[5]

In 2002, he and Priscilla López received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA).[12] In 2023 he co-executive produced Wings of Dust, a documentary about contamination of water in the Peruvian community of Espinar.

Personal life edit

In 1998, Bratt began dating actress Julia Roberts. They can be seen together in Marc Anthony's Live at Madison Square Garden concert. In 2001, they announced they were no longer a couple.[13]

In 2002, he began dating actress and former Bond girl Talisa Soto; they married on April 13 in San Francisco. The two had met ten years earlier during a casting audition. During the filming of Piñero (2001) they began to develop a relationship. Their first child, daughter Sophia Rosalinda Bratt, was born on December 6, 2002; their second child, son Mateo Bravery Bratt, was born on October 3, 2005.[14][15]

His brother, Peter Bratt, wrote and directed the film Follow Me Home (1996), featuring Benjamin as Abel.

Additionally, Peter wrote and directed the independent film La Mission (2009), starring Benjamin as Che Rivera, an inhabitant of the Mission District.

Filmography edit

Film edit

Year Film Role Notes
1988 Lovers, Partners & Spies Esteban
1989 Nasty Boys Eduardo Cruz
1990 Bright Angel Claude
1991 One Good Cop Detective Felix
Chains of Gold Carlos
1993 Blood In Blood Out Paco Aguilar
Demolition Man Officer Alfredo Garcia
1994 Clear and Present Danger Captain Ramírez
The River Wild Ranger Johnny
1996 Follow Me Home Abel Producer
2000 The Next Best Thing Ben Cooper
The Last Producer Damon Black
Red Planet Lieutenant Ted Santen
Miss Congeniality FBI Agent Eric Matthews
Traffic Juan Obregón
2001 Piñero Miguel Piñero
2002 Abandon Detective Wade Handler
2004 The Woodsman Carlos
Catwoman Detective Tom Lone
2005 Thumbsucker Matt Schramm
The Great Raid Lieutenant Colonel Henry Mucci
2007 Love in the Time of Cholera Dr. Juvenal Urbino
2008 Trucker Leonard 'Len' Bonner
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Manny Voice
The People Speak Himself
La Mission Che Rivera Producer
2013 Snitch Juan Carlos 'El Topo' Pintera
The Lesser Blessed Jed
Despicable Me 2 Eduardo Perez / El Macho Voice
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Manny
2015 Justice League: Gods and Monsters Lor-Zod / Hernan Guerra / Superman
2016 Ride Along 2 Antonio Pope
Special Correspondents John Baker
The Infiltrator Roberto Alcaino
Doctor Strange Jonathan Pangborn
2017 Shot Caller Sheriff Sanchez
Coco Ernesto de la Cruz Voice
Dolores Consulting producer
2019 A Score to Settle 'Q'
2020 Best Summer Ever Daphne's Dad
2022 Dead for a Dollar Tiberio Vargas
2024 Mother of the Bride Will Post-production

Television edit

Year Film Role Notes
1987 Juarez Sergeant Rosendo Juarez Television film
1988 Police Story: Gladiator School Officer Dave Ramirez Television film
1988–1989 Knightwatch Tony Maldonado 9 episodes
1989–1990 Nasty Boys Eduardo Cruz 13 episodes
1990 Capital News Carlos Torres Episode: "Pilot"
1993 Shadowhunter Nakai Twobear Television film
1994 Texas Benito Garza Television film
1995–2009 Law & Order Detective Rey Curtis 95 episodes, main role (S6-S9), guest (S20, Ep11)
1996–1999 Homicide: Life on the Street Detective Rey Curtis 3 episodes
1996 Woman Undone Jim Mercer Television film
1998 Exiled: A Law & Order Movie Detective Rey Curtis Television film
2001 After the Storm Arno Television film
2003 Frasier Kevin, The Caller Episode: "The Doctor Is Out"
2005–2006 E-Ring Lieutenant Colonel Jim Tisnewski 23 episodes
2008 The Andromeda Strain Dr. Jeremy Stone 2 episodes
2008–2009 The Cleaner William Banks 26 episodes
2009 American Experience Narrator 3 episodes
2010–2020 Modern Family Javier Delgado 6 episodes
2011–2013 Private Practice Dr. Jake Reilly 36 episodes
2014 24: Live Another Day Steve Navarro 10 episodes
2016–2018 Star Jahil Rivera Main cast
2022 DMZ Parco Delgado Main cast, miniseries
2023 Poker Face Cliff LeGrand Recurring cast
2023 Skull Island Cap Voice
2024 Andor TBA [16] [17]

Awards and nominations edit

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
1996 NCLR Bravo Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Law & Order Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
OFTA Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
ALMA Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Won
Outstanding Actor in Made-for-Television Movie or Mini-Series Exiled: A Law & Order Movie
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Law & Order Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
2001 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Traffic Won
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Screen Combo The Next Best Thing (with Madonna) Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actor – Comedy Miss Congeniality Won
2002 ALMA Awards Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Piñero
HOLA Awards Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence Himself
2005 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Screen Combo Catwoman (with Halle Berry) Nominated
2009 PRISM Awards Outstanding Performance in a Drama Multi-Episode Storyline The Cleaner Won
ALMA Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Imagen Awards Best Actor – Television Nominated
2010 Best Actor – Film La Mission Won
Audie Awards Audiobook of the Year Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales Won [18][19]
Multi-Voiced Performance
2012 ALMA Awards Favorite TV Actor Private Practice Nominated
2013 Imagen Awards Best Actor – Television
2020 Audie Awards Multi-Voiced Performance Daisy Jones & The Six Nominated [20]

References edit

  1. ^ Last, Eugenia (December 16, 2023). "Horoscopes Dec. 16, 2023: Benjamin Bratt, trust your instincts". The Mercury News. San Jose, California. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  2. ^ Vanity Fair. 2002 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "How Hollywood Gave 'Cholera' a Delicate Treatment". The Washington Post. November 11, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  4. ^ Encyclopaedia of Latino Popular Culture, vol. 1, Cordelia Candelaria, Peter J. Garcia, Arturo J. Aldama, Greenwood Press, 2004, p. 90
  5. ^ a b c d e "Benjamin Bratt". Native Networks. December 2, 2001. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  6. ^ "Law and Order Comes to UCSB". Coastlines. Summer 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Anderson, Hayley (February 17, 2022). "Law and Order exit: Why did Benjamin Bratt leave Law and Order as Rey Curtis?". Express. ProQuest 2629526033. In a statement via the New York Post, Bratt said: "After four years I've felt like it was time to get back home to my family. "How do you walk away from the best job in the world, and a group of people you've grown to love?" He said it was an "extremely difficult decision" and hoped he would be able to work with his Law and Order co-stars again.
  8. ^ "Bratt leaving Law & Order". The StarPhoenix. Associated Press. May 4, 1999. p. D2. ProQuest 348451137. Benjamin Bratt is leaving the show at the end of the season to be replaced by Jesse L. Martin, who plays Calista Flockhart's doctor- boyfriend on Ally McBeal, producer Dick Wolf said. "How do you walk away from the best job in the world and a group of people that you've grown to love?" Bratt said. "It's not easy, and it was an extremely difficult decision that I had to make."
  9. ^ Graham, Bob. "Bratt's break / S.F. actor takes challenging turn as addict poet in 'Pinero'". SFGATE. Retrieved February 21, 2024.
  10. ^ "We Shall Remain". PBS. April 13, 2009. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  11. ^ "Friendship House". Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  12. ^ "HOLA Awards 2003". Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (July 11, 2001). "Julia Roberts Lays It on the Line – David Letterman, Julia Roberts". People. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  14. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (December 17, 2002). "New Bratt in the House for Ben, Talisa". Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  15. ^ "Benjamin Bratt & Wife Have a Boy". October 7, 2005. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  16. ^ "Los actores y técnicos de 'Andor' ya están en Valencia a la espera de Diego Luna". March 17, 2023.
  17. ^ "El equipo de rodaje de Star Wars visita El Mercado de La Imprenta - Restaurantes en".
  18. ^ "2010 audie-awards".
  19. ^ "Mandelas Favorite Folktales – Performers". August 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "2020 audie-awards".

External links edit