Wes Bentley
Bentley in 2012
Born (1978-09-04) September 4, 1978 (age 45)
EducationJuilliard School (no degree)
Years active1995–present
Jennifer Quanz
(m. 2001; div. 2009)
Jacqui Swedberg
(m. 2010)

Wes Bentley (born September 4, 1978) is an American actor.[1] He is best known for his roles as Ricky Fitts in American Beauty (1999), which earned him a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Supporting Actor; Seneca Crane in The Hunger Games (2012); Doyle in Interstellar (2014); Erik in Mission: Impossible – Fallout; and Jamie Dutton in Yellowstone. He was one of four subjects in the documentary My Big Break (2009), which covered his fame after American Beauty and his subsequent 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. 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. In 2018, Bentley began starring in the Paramount Network original television series Yellowstone.

Early life

Bentley was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and raised in Little Rock,[2][3] the third of four sons of 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.[4][5] His grandfather was an evangelical minister.[6] He is of German, Scottish, and English descent.[7]

In 1996, he graduated from Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas.[8] He attended the Juilliard School's Drama Division as part of its Group 29 (1996–2000)[9] but left the school after one year to pursue his acting career.[10]


Bentley has starred in several films, including the Oscar-winning American Beauty, The Four Feathers, P2, and Ghost Rider. He starred in the thriller Dolan's Cadillac,[11] based on the short story by Stephen King,[12] 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 Ghost Rider (2007), Bentley played Blackheart, a demonic being that served as the main antagonist.

In 2010, he starred opposite Nina Arianda in the premiere of the David Ives play Venus in Fur off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company in New York City. The production later moved to Broadway, with Hugh Dancy in the role debuted by Bentley.[13][14][15][16]

In March 2012, Bentley had a supporting role in the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games, playing gamemaker Seneca Crane. In 2012, Bentley starred in the indie feature 3 Nights in the Desert, directed by Gabriel Cowan.[17]

Bentley and Scott Speedman starred in a pilot episode for a planned HBO series created by Ryan Murphy, Open,[18] but the series was not picked up. The following year, Bentley guest starred in Murphy's FX series American Horror Story for its fourth season, Freak Show. In 2015, he was promoted to the main cast for the fifth season, Hotel, starring as Detective John Lowe. In 2016, he played a main role in the sixth season, Roanoke. Since 2018, he has played Jamie Dutton on Paramount Network's Yellowstone.[6]

On Jimmy Kimmel Live! on December 9, 2022, Bentley said he turned down the role of Spider-Man, a role later offered to Tobey Maguire.[6]

Personal life

Bentley was married to actress Jennifer Quanz from 2001 to 2009. They divorced in 2009, reportedly due to his substance abuse. He married producer Jacqui Swedberg in 2010, and their son was born in 2010[19] and their daughter in 2014.

In a New York Times article on February 8, 2010,[20] 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 began to cause problems on the sets of the films P2 and Weirdsville. In 2008, he was arrested and ordered into counseling and 12-step programs. He relapsed, however, and "continued using heroin until he was broke".[13]

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".[21] He again entered a 12-step program and, while clean since then, considers himself on the path to recovery.[citation needed]

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.[13] He began to rebuild his career by starring in the Off-Broadway premiere of the play Venus in Fur by David Ives.



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Serendipity Lane Lonnie Short film
1998 Three Below Zero Julian Flincher
1998 Beloved Schoolteacher's Nephew
1999 American Beauty Ricky Fitts
1999 The White River Kid White River Kid
2000 The Claim Donald Daglish
2001 Carving Out Our Name Himself
2001 Soul Survivors Matt
2002 The Four Feathers Jack Durrance
2005 The Game of Their Lives Walter Bahr
2007 Weirdsville Royce
2007 Ghost Rider Blackheart / Legion
2007 The Ungodly Mickey Gravatski
2007 P2 Thomas Barclay
2008 The Last Word Evan
2009 The Tomb Johnathan Merrick
2009 Dolan's Cadillac Tom Robinson
2009 The Greims Donnie Greims Short film
2010 Jonah Hex Adleman Lusk
2011 Rites of Passage Benny
2011 Hirokin Hirokin
2011 There Be Dragons Manolo Torres
2011 After-School Special Man Short film
2012 Underworld: Awakening Dr. Edward Vronski Uncredited; credited as Antigen Scientist
2012 Gone Peter Hood
2012 The Hunger Games Seneca Crane
2012 Stars in Shorts Man
2012 The Time Being Daniel
2012 Hidden Moon Victor Brighton
2012 Hirokin: The Last Samurai Hirokin
2013 Lovelace Thomas
2013 Pioneer Mike
2013 Cesar Chavez Jerry Cohen
2014 3 Nights in the Desert Travis
2014 After the Fall Bill Scanlon
2014 The Better Angels Mr. Crawford
2014 Interstellar Doyle
2014 Welcome to Me Gabe Ruskin
2014 Final Girl William
2015 Knight of Cups Barry
2015 We Are Your Friends James Reed
2015 Amnesiac Man
2016 Pete's Dragon Jack Magary
2016 Broken Vows Patrick
2018 Mission: Impossible – Fallout Erik
2019 The Best of Enemies Floyd Kelly


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Tilda Television film
2014 Open Evan Foster Unsold TV pilot
2014–15 American Horror Story: Freak Show Edward Mordrake 3 episodes
2015–16 American Horror Story: Hotel Det. John Lowe 11 episodes
2016 American Horror Story: Roanoke Ambrose White 5 episodes
Dylan 3 episodes
2018–present Yellowstone Jamie Dutton 36 episodes
2021–2022 Blade Runner: Black Lotus Niander Wallace, Jr. (voice) 13 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Venus in Fur Thomas East 13th Street/CSC Theatre

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1999 National Board of Review Best Male Breakthrough Performance American Beauty Won
2000 BAFTA Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actor – Drama Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Most Promising Actor Won
MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Male Performance Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Breakout Performance Nominated
2007 Fright Meter Awards Best Actor P2 Nominated
2016 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Movie or Limited Series American Horror Story: Hotel Nominated
2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Villain American Horror Story: Roanoke Nominated
2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Yellowstone Nominated


  1. ^ "Celebrity Birthdays for the Week of Sept. 4–10". The Associated Press. August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  2. ^ "Wes Bentley Talks Past Drug Use, Loss Of 'Brother' Heath Ledger". The Larry King Show. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ "American Beauty's Wes Bentley". The Guardian. January 23, 2000.
  4. ^ "Wes Bentley star bio". Tribute.ca.
  5. ^ "Arkansas-born Actor Reconnects With God on Film". arumc.org.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b c Wes Bentley on Yellowstone Success, Turning Down Spider-Man & Being Cast in American Beauty, youtube.com. Accessed May 31, 2023.
  7. ^ "Wes Bentley Wiki: Young, Photos, Ethnicity & Gay or Straight". entertainmentwise.com. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. March 2010. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  10. ^ Daly, Steve (October 8, 1999). "Wes Bentley of 'American Beauty'". People. Archived from the original on October 23, 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  11. ^ Christian Slater and Wes Bentley Join 'Dolan's Cadillac', Cinematical, April 25, 2008
  12. ^ Stephen King's DOLAN'S CADILLAC Filming in Canada!, May 29, 2008
  13. ^ a b c Healy, Patrick (February 8, 2010). Kahn, Joseph; Dean, Baquet; Monica, Drake; Meghan, Louttit; Philip B., Corbett; Kathleen, Kingsbury; Tracie, Lee; Rebecca, Blumenstein; Steve, Duenes; Matthew, Purdy; Sam, Dolnick; Mara, Gay; Sam, Sifton (eds.). "Back from the depths, rebuilding a career". Arts. New York Times (Online). Vol. CLIX, no. 31. New York City: The New York Times Company. p. C1. ISSN 1553-8095. Retrieved February 7, 2021.((cite news)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  14. ^ "Run Extended for 'Venus in Fur'", February 3, 2010, New York Times.
  15. ^ Charles Isherwood, "One Object of Desire, Delivered", New York Times, January 28, 2010.
  16. ^ "Nina Arianda: A Star Is Born", Playbill. Accessed May 31, 2023.
  17. ^ Mike Fleming Jr (November 29, 2011). "Indie Feature '3 Nights In The Desert' Gets Underway". Deadline Hollywood.
  18. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (June 13, 2013). "Wes Bentley to Star in Ryan Murphy's HBO Sexuality Drama 'Open'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  19. ^ Oliver Jones (June 13, 2011). "Wes Bentley: 'I Felt Myself Dying'". People magazine. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  20. ^ Healy, Patrick (February 7, 2010). "Back From the Depths, Rebuilding a Career". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  21. ^ "The Hunger Games Star Wes Bentley Fights Back From Homelessness, Bankruptcy". Radar Online. March 29, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2012.