Emmy-nominated actor Benjamin Bratt was born on December 16, 1963 in San Francisco, California. The son of a German-American father and a Native American born in Peru, he was exposed to performance as a child, especially through his grandfather, Broadway actor George Cleveland Bratt. He later developed his dramatic and oratory skills as member of the Lowell Forensic Society during his stay at Lowell High School. He later earned his fine arts degree from the University of California–Sta. Barbara, before entering the American Conservatory Theater to pursue an MFA degree. He left before graduating, to star in the television series Juarez, which unfortunately never made it to air.
After a recurring role on the television series Knightwatch, Bratt began appearing in several movies, including One Good Cop, Bound by Honor, Demolition Man and Clear and Present Danger. In 1995, he took his most well-known role yet, as two-dimensional homicide detective Rey Curtis, in the crime series Law & Order. He was part of the series for four seasons, but was nevertheless rewarded well: he earned his only Emmy nomination in 1999 for his role in the series.
After he left the series, Bratt continued taking on numerous movie roles, appearing in features such as The Next Best Thing, Miss Congeniality, Traffic and Catwoman. In 2005 he joined the military drama E-Ring, as Lieut. Col. James Tisnewksi; the series struggled in the ratings amidst bigger competition and was cancelled after the first season. In 2008, he took on another starring role, this time in the drama series The Cleaner, as former drug addict turned counselor William Banks.
Off screen, Bratt is an active supporter of Native American causes, influenced by her mother who fought for similar causes during his childhood. Exposed to this when he was brought to the Native American occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, he has since espoused the welfare of Native Americans across the country.