Benjamin Orr

Birth Name: Benjamin Orzechowski

Date of Birth: September 8, 1947

Place of Birth: Lakewood, Ohio, U.S.

Date of Death: October 4, 2000

Place of Death: Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

Ethnicity: Polish, Rusyn

Benjamin Orr was an American musician. He was the co-lead vocalist and bassist, and a co-founder, of rock band the Cars. He sang lead vocals on their hit songs “Just What I Needed,” “Moving in Stereo,” “Let’s Go,” and “Drive.” He also released the successful solo single “Stay the Night.” Elliot Easton and Ric Ocasek were/are also members of The Cars.

He was the son of Alzbeta/Elizabeth “Betty” (Bemova/Benn/Ben) and Charles Orzechowski. His father was born in Kiev, now Ukraine, and was likely of Polish descent. His mother was from Slovakia, and is listed as being of Rusyn origin on documents.

Benjamin’s paternal grandfather was named Jakub/Jacob Orzechowski.

Benjamin’s maternal grandfather was named Jos Ben.

Benjamin’s maternal grandmother was named Mary/Marie Leska/Lesko.

Sources: Benjamin’s paternal grandfather, Jakub/Jacob Orzechowski, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

New York passenger list record of Benjamin’s mother –

New York passenger list record of Benjamin’s maternal grandmother, Mary/Marie (Leska/Lesko) Bemova –


Curious about ethnicity

6 Responses

  1. tomoyo says:

    I would agree that Charles Orzechowski was Polish, not Russian. He was born in Kiev, and his father, Jakub/Jacob, spoke Polish on the 1930 census.

    Benjamin’s mother seems to have been Rusyn. She was originally from Slovakia. In 1924, she and her mother were called Rusyn at Ellis Island.

  2. madman says:

    Betty —> Elizabeth “Betty”

    His maternal grandparents were Jos Ben Mary/Marie Leska/Lesko.

    Possibly his father?:

  3. follers says:

    Ethnic, is there a picture, please?

  4. madman says:

    He is the son of Betty (Benn/Ben) and Charles Orzechowski.

  5. Hanka says:

    Orzechowski is Polish surname.

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