Appearing in plays "Measure for Measure" and "Zoo Story" during his first few years studying at the University of Virginia, Benjamin McKenzie continued starring in a handful of stage and TV features after graduating in 2001 and moving to New York. In the beginning of pursuing acting career, he appeared in off-Broadways "Life Is a Dream" at the Soho Rep, and "Street Scene" and "The Blue Bird" at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
After relocating to Los Angeles in 2002, he landed guest roles on shows such as "JAG" and "The District". He was later on chosen to play the lead role of Ryan Atwood in the Fox series "The O.C." Not only the series quickly became breakout hit of the season, but also it helped launch McKenzie to stardom. The series ran on the network from 2003 to 2007, during when the actor also starred in big screen flicks "Junebug" (2005) and "88 Minutes" (2007). For his part in "The O.C." he earned four Teen Choice Award nominations for the categories of Choice Breakout TV Star – Male, Choice TV Actor – Drama/Action Adventure, Choice TV Actor: Drama, and Choice TV Chemistry tied with co-star Mischa Barton.
Beginning from 2009, he appeared on drama series "Southland" which featured him as rookie Officer Ben Sherman. The show lasted until 2013, after which he landed the leading male part of detective James Gordon on FOX's crime series "Gotham".
McKenzie was born Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan on September 12, 1978 in Austin, Texas.