Oct. 10th, 1969
Manu Bennett's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Jonathan Manu Bennett (born October 10, 1969), is an Australian-New Zealand actor. He is known for his portrayal as the Gallic gladiator Crixus in the Starz television series Spartacus. He has also appeared as the orc commander Azog the Defiler in Peter Jackson's three-part film adaptation based on The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, as supervillain Slade Wilson/Deathstroke in The CW TV series Arrow and as Allanon in the MTV series The Shannara Chronicles, based on the Shannara novel series by Terry Brooks.
Born in New Zealand, Bennett's mother was an Australian bikini model, his father a New Zealand singer. The family moved to Australia when Bennett was a few months old. On his father's side, Bennett is of Māori (specifically Te Arawa and Ngāti Kahungunu) and Irish descent. His mother is of Scottish descent. He was raised mostly between Sydney and Newcastle in Australia, where he attended Merewether High School. In 1986, Bennett returned to New Zealand to attend Te Aute College, where he played for the 1st XV. Upon returning to Australia, Bennett was chosen in the New South Wales Schoolboys Rugby Union Team. Interested in modern dancing, classical ballet and piano, Bennett quit rugby to attend university to study dance and drama, then traveled to Los Angeles on a scholarship to attend the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. In an interview, Bennett talked about the car accident that killed his mother and brother and put him in a two-week coma. He cites that because of his girlfriend, who was a ballet dancer, he got into acting and found it to be the medium to which direct his emotions saying, "Acting was my route to survival".
During high school, Bennett played representative rugby, studied classical ballet & piano before attending university to study Drama. His acting career began in 1993 on Paradise Beach. Bennett then appeared on various TV dramas before landing his first feature film, Lantana (1999), opposite Anthony La Paglia, then traveled to Japan to film Tomoko (2000) opposite award-winning Japanese actress Rumiko Koyangi. Bennett returned to New Zealand to star in Shortland Steet, Street Legal, Mataku, Creature Quest & Going Straight (2001/05).
Bennett was then cast opposite Robert Patrick in The Marine (2006), then alongside Vinnie Jones & Stone Cold Steve Austin in The Condemned (2007). In 30 Days Of Night (2007), Bennett played a supporting role alongside Josh Hartnett and Melissa George.
Manu Bennett and Israeli Karin Horen have three daughters together.
In September 2015, Bennett was arrested for misdemeanor assault in San Antonio, Texas, after he had punched a man while drunk at a hotel party.
- Mother was a Queensland beauty queen, father, an entertainer in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
- Offered ballet scholarship in New York after finishing high school, but chose to travel Europe and the US instead.
- Has an uncle who played piano for Elvis Presley.
- His family immigrated to Australia when he was just a few months old.
- Credited as 'Manu' Bennett in his role as Jack Hewitt on Shortland Street.