Sep 05

The Man Behind The Beast: Robby Benson

robby-benson-600In 1991, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast roared “GET OUT!” to a scared, yet quizzical Belle as she wandered into the west wing, the only part of the castle that the Beast told her to stay out of. As a result, Robby Benson became a house hold name.

However, young girls of the 80s may also remember Robby from his movies such as One on One, Ice Castles and Jeremy. Going in and out of the spotlight over the past thirty years, Robby Benson is one of the most diverse actors I’ve ever seen. Not only an actor, but also a singer, author, and director and most recently, and the thing that has re-launched him back into the spotlight: a 4 time open heart surgery survivor.

When Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991, I was going through some medical issues of my own and was instantly drawn to it. Even to this day, this movie has a lot of sentimental attachments and memories associated with it for me. Robby’s name became household to me as I listened to his voice on the movie over and over and day in and day out.

It wasn’t until this year, when I picked up his new book I’m not dead…yet!, that I discovered how deep of a person, and how disciplined of an actor and writer he was. Through reading his book, I identified with the medical issues (though mine were not heart related). I identified with the fear he had, with the moment he looked at his scar for the first time and really studied it, and all the ups and downs in between of being a patient in the hospital where you really have no control over what happens to you.

But, I learned more about being an actor, it was like reading a master class. Discipline that I didn’t think anyone else had, I found Robby did (like showing up to a casting office way before call and sleeping in the hallway until they’re ready, or getting the material ahead of time so you can prepare, and to never complain about the circumstances-no matter how bad they are, but to stand up for what you know is right).

Today, Robby is more than a voice to me. He is someone I champion, and someone with whom I would love to sit down and talk with.

Photo via People

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