Wes Bentley

Wesley Cook Bentley (born September 4, 1978)[1] is an American actor known for blockbusters and independent films.

Wes Bentley
Bentley in March 2012
Wesley Cook Bentley

(1978-09-04) September 4, 1978
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S
EducationJuilliard School
Years active1995–present
Home townLittle Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
Jennifer Quanz
(m. 2001; div. 2009)

Jacqui Swedberg (m. 2010)

Bentley is best known for his roles as Ricky Fitts in American Beauty (1999), which earned him a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Supporting Actor, Seneca Crane in The Hunger Games (2012), Doyle in Interstellar (2014) and Erik in Mission: Impossible - Fallout. He was one of four subjects in the documentary My Big Break (2009), which covered his fame after American Beauty and struggles with substance abuse. Rebuilding his career, he starred in the premiere of Venus in Fur by David Ives in the off-Broadway production in 2010. His other film roles include The Four Feathers (2002), Ghost Rider (2007), P2 (2007), and Pete's Dragon (2016).

He began appearing in the FX anthology series American Horror Story in 2014, playing Edward Mordrake in Freak Show. In 2015, he starred as Detective John Lowe in Hotel, for which he received a Critics' Choice Television Award nomination. The following year, he played Dylan (the actor who plays Ambrose White in My Roanoke Nightmare) in the series' sixth cycle, subtitled Roanoke.

Early life

Bentley was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and raised in Little Rock,[2][3] born the third of four boys for Cherie Baker and David Bentley. His father is a minister, and his mother is a chaplain and ordained elder in the Arkansas Conference, both in the United Methodist denomination.[1][4][5] He is of German, Scottish and English descent.[6]

In 1996, he graduated from Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas.[7] He attended the Juilliard School's Drama Division as part of its Group 29 (1996–2000)[8] but left the school after one year to pursue his acting career.[9]


Bentley has starred in several films, including the Oscar-winning film American Beauty, The Four Feathers, P2, and Ghost Rider. He starred in the thriller Dolan's Cadillac,[10] based on the short story by Stephen King,[11] and There Be Dragons by director Roland Joffé. Bentley is one of the main subjects in the documentary My Big Break, directed by Tony Zierra, which follows Bentley and three of his former roommates, Chad Lindberg, Brad Rowe and Greg Fawcett, as they pursue their dream to become successful actors in Hollywood.

In the 2007 film Ghost Rider, Bentley played Blackheart, a demonic being that was the main antagonist.

In 2010, he starred opposite Nina Arianda in the premiere of the David Ives play Venus in Fur at the Classic Stage Company in New York City.[12][13][14][15]

In March 2012, Bentley had a supporting role in the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games, playing gamemaker Seneca Crane.

In 2012, Bentley also starred with Amber Tamblyn and Vincent Piazza in the indie feature 3 Nights in the Desert, directed by Gabriel Cowan and written by award-winning playwright Adam Chanzit.[16]

In June 2013, Bentley was selected to star in Ryan Murphy's HBO production, titled Open, along with Scott Speedman.[17]

After guest-starring in American Horror Story: Freak Show in 2014, Bentley was promoted to main cast for the fifth season of American Horror Story, entitled Hotel, starring as Detective John Lowe. In 2016, he played a main role in the sixth season, Roanoke.

Personal life

Bentley was married to actress Jennifer Quanz from 2001 to 2009. They divorced in 2009 due to his substance abuse. He married producer Jacqui Swedberg in 2010. They have a son born in late 2010[18] and a daughter born in 2014.

In a New York Times article on February 8, 2010, he described his descent into drug addiction that began almost immediately after his success in American Beauty. He said he hid his addiction from his wife; they separated in 2006, and he moved to an apartment where he began doing drugs full-time. During this time he worked sporadically, just enough to pay bills and buy drugs. His addiction started to cause problems on the sets of the films P2 and Weirdsville and in 2008 he was arrested and ordered into counseling and 12-step programs. He relapsed, however, and "continued using heroin until he was broke".[12]

In July 2009, he said, he confessed to a friend, "I’m a drug addict, and an alcoholic, and I need help. I need help or I’m going to die".[19] He again entered a 12-step program and, while clean since then, considers himself on the path to recovery.

The documentary My Big Break (2009) captures Bentley's early life as an unknown actor, his sudden fame after American Beauty, his subsequent emotional struggle with fame, and his admission years later that he was recovering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol.[12] He began to rebuild his career by starring in the Off-Broadway premiere of the play Venus in Fur by David Ives.



1995Serendipity LaneLonnieShort film
1998Three Below ZeroJulian Flincher
1998BelovedSchoolteacher's Nephew
1999American BeautyRicky Fitts
1999The White River KidWhite River Kid
2000The ClaimDonald Daglish
2001Carving Out Our NameHimself
2001Soul SurvivorsMatt
2002The Four FeathersJack Durrance
2005The Game of Their LivesWalter Bahr
2007Ghost RiderBlackheart / Legion
2007The UngodlyMickey Gravatski
2008The Last WordEvan
2009The TombJohnathan
2009Dolan's CadillacRobinson
2009The GreimsDonnie GreimsShort film
2010Jonah HexAdleman Lusk
2011Rites of PassageBenny
2011There Be DragonsManolo Torres
2011After-School SpecialManShort film
2012Underworld: AwakeningDr. Edward VronskiUncredited
2012GonePeter Hood
2012The Hunger GamesSeneca Crane
2012Stars in ShortsMan
2012The Time BeingDaniel
2012Hidden MoonVictor Brighton
2013Cesar ChavezJerry Cohen
2014After the FallBill Scanlon
2014The Better AngelsMr. Crawford
2014Welcome to MeGabe
2014Final GirlWilliam
2015Knight of CupsBarry
2015We Are Your FriendsJames
2016Pete's DragonJack
2016Broken VowsPatrick
2018Mission: Impossible – FalloutErik
2019The Best of EnemiesFloyd Kelly


2011Tilda N/ATelevision film
2014OpenEvan FosterUnsold TV pilot
2014–15American Horror Story: Freak ShowEdward Mordrake3 episodes
2015–16American Horror Story: HotelDet. John Lowe11 episodes
2016American Horror Story: RoanokeAmbrose White5 episodes
Dylan3 episodes
2018–presentYellowstoneJamie Dutton9 episodes


2010Venus in FurThomasEast 13th Street/CSC Theatre

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1999National Board of ReviewBest Male Breakthrough PerformanceAmerican BeautyWon
2000BAFTA AwardsBest Actor in a Supporting RoleNominated
Blockbuster Entertainment AwardsFavorite Supporting Actor – DramaNominated
Chicago Film Critics Association AwardsMost Promising ActorWon
MTV Movie AwardsBreakthrough Male PerformanceNominated
Online Film Critics Society AwardsBest Supporting ActorNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureWon
Teen Choice AwardsChoice Movie Breakout PerformanceNominated
2007Fright Meter AwardsBest ActorP2Nominated
2016Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actor in a Movie or Limited SeriesAmerican Horror Story: HotelNominated
2017MTV Movie & TV AwardsBest VillainAmerican Horror Story: RoanokeNominated


  1. "Wes Bentley Biography (1978–)". FilmReference.com.
  2. "Wes Bentley Talks Past Drug Use, Loss Of "Brother" Heath Ledger - Larry King Show".
  3. "American Beauty's Wes Bentley".
  4. "Wes Bentley star bio". Tribute.ca.
  5. http://www.arumc.org/n_arkansas-born_actor_reconnects_with_god_on_film_se.php
  6. "Wes Bentley Wiki: Young, Photos, Ethnicity & Gay or Straight » Entertainmentwise". entertainmentwise.com. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  7. Bennett, Tara (March 21, 2012). "The 'Hunger Games' Cast Before They Were Famous: Wes Bentley, Senior Year at Sylvan Hills High School, Sherwood, Arkansas (1996)". Snakkle.com. Pontiac Digital Media.
  8. "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. March 2010. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  9. Daly, Steve (October 8, 1999). "Wes Bentley of 'American Beauty'". People.
  10. Christian Slater and Wes Bentley Join 'Dolan's Cadillac', Cinematical, April 25, 2008
  11. Stephen King's DOLAN'S CADILLAC Filming in Canada!, May 29, 2008
  12. Healy, Patrick (February 8, 2010). "Back From the Depths, Rebuilding a Career". The New York Times. p. 1.
  13. Run Extended for ‘Venus in Fur’, Patrick Healey, February 3, 2010, NY Times
  14. Charles Isherwood, "One Object of Desire, Delivered", New York Times, January 28, 2010
  15. "Nina Arianda: A Star Is Born", Playbill
  16. Mike Fleming Jr. "Indie Feature '3 Nights In The Desert' Gets Underway". Deadline Hollywood.
  17. Goldberg, Lesley (June 13, 2013). "Wes Bentley to Star in Ryan Murphy's HBO Sexuality Drama 'Open'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. Oliver Jones (June 13, 2011). "Wes Bentley: 'I Felt Myself Dying'". People magazine. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  19. "The Hunger Games Star Wes Bentley Fights Back From Homelessness, Bankruptcy". Radar Online. March 29, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
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