Published on June 22, 2012 by Amy
Benjamin Bratt (born December 16, 1963) is an American actor. He is most famous for his role as Rey Curtis on the TV series Law & Order; and his appearances in the movies Miss Congeniality, Demolition Man, Blood in Blood Out, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Traffic, and Piñero.
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Bratt was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Eldy (née Banda), a nurse, and Peter Bratt, Sr., a sheet metal worker. Bratt’s mother is a Peruvian Indigenous activist of the Quechua ethnic group; born in Peru, she moved to the U.S. at age nine. His father was an American of German and English descent. They married December 30, 1960, in San Francisco, but divorced in September 1967. Bratt’s paternal grandfather, George Cleveland Bratt (March 5, 1893 – March 29, 1984), was a Broadway actor who married his grandmother Wiltrude Hildner on August 6, 1920, in Detroit, Michigan.
As a child, Bratt went with his mother and siblings to participate in the 1969 Native American occupation of Alcatraz. Today Bratt is an active supporter of such Native American causes as the American Indian College Fund and We Shall Remain, a mini-series and multi-media project, narrated by Bratt, that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history from PBS’ acclaimed series American Experience.
His brother, Peter Bratt, wrote and directed the 1996 film Follow Me Home, casting Benjamin as Abel. In 2009 Peter wrote and directed the independent film La Mission also starring Benjamin as Che Rivera, an inhabitant of the Mission District.
Bratt has for years been a strong supporter and board member of San Francisco Bay Area’s Friendship House Association of American Indians and Native American Health Center.
In San Francisco, Bratt attended Lowell High School, where he developed his dramatic and oratory skills as a member of the Lowell Forensic Society. Bratt earned a B.F.A. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he also joined the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Although accepted into the M.F.A. program at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, he left before receiving his degree to star in the television series Juarez.
Bratt’s best-known role has been that of Detective Reynaldo Curtis on the television show Law & Order. In 1999, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work on the series. His more popular films include Miss Congeniality, Blood in Blood out and Traffic. On June 23, 2009, Bratt appeared on The View to promote The Cleaner.
On October 23, 2009, it was announced that Bratt will return as Detective Curtis on Law & Order. Curtis reunited with his former boss, Lt. Anita van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson), which aired on December 11, 2009. He left the show that same year to continue his film career.
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.
In 1998, he began dating actress Julia Roberts. He escorted her to the March 25, 2001, Academy Awards ceremony, at which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Three months later, in June 2001, they announced that they were no longer a couple.
In 2002, he (along with Priscilla López) received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA).
Less than a year later, he married his pregnant girlfriend, actress Talisa Soto, on April 13, 2002, in San Francisco. The two met ten years earlier during the casting audition of Blood In Blood Out and afterwards off and on they saw each other. It was not until while filming Piñero that 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, in Los Angeles.