Robby Benson

Benson in 2010, photo by s_bukley/

Birth Name: Robin Devid Segal

Place of Birth: Dallas, Texas, U.S.

Date of Birth: January 21, 1956

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Robby Benson is an American actor, singer, composer, teacher, and filmmaker. He was a ’70s/’80s teen idol, as the star of several hit coming-of-age films. His roles include the films Jory, Jeremy (1973), Lucky Lady, Ode to Billy Joe, One on One, which he co-wrote with his father; The End (1978), Ice Castles, Walk Proud, Die Laughing, which he and his father also co-wrote; Tribute (1980), The Chosen (1981), Movie Madness, Running Brave, Harry & Son, City Limits, Rent-a-Cop, MXP: Most Xtreme Primate, and as the voice of Beast in Beauty and the Beast (1991), and many follow-ups. He played a Mexican-American character in Walk Proud and real life Oglala Lakota track and field runner Billy Mills in Running Brave. He has directed the films Modern Love, which he also wrote and starred in; and Billy: The Early Years; and episodes of the series Family Album, Evening Shade, Monty, Muddling Through, Good Advice, Thunder Alley, Ellen, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996); Friends, The Naked Truth, Jesse, Two Guys and a Girl, The Huntress, 8 Simple Rules, I’m with Her, and Baby Bob. He is an activist for heart research.

Robby was born Robin David Segal, the son of Freida/Freda (Benson), who was a singer, actor, and business promotions manager, and Gerald Segal. His family is Jewish. All eight of his great-grandparents were Eastern European Jews; one from Romania, the other seven from Russia/Poland. He was raised mostly in New York City, New York.

Robby is married to actress Karla DeVito; Karla has Italian and English ancestry. Robby and Karla co-wrote the film Betrayal of the Dove. Their children, Zephyr Benson and Lyric Benson, have also acted.

Robby’s paternal grandfather was Samuel “Sam” Segal (the son of Abraham Theodore Segal and Tillie Shear). Samuel was born in Canada, to a Romanian Jewish father and a Russian Jewish mother.

Robby’s paternal grandmother was named Denie Weinstein. Denie was born in Texas, to Russian Jewish parents.

Robby’s maternal grandfather was Benes/Benjamin “Ben” Benenson/Benson (the son of Zalman Benenson/Benson and Freda/Frieda bat Yitzhak Yankel Klibanoff/Klibanova). Benjamin was a Russian Jewish emigrant, who was born in Borisov, Russia, likely now Barysaŭ, Minsk, Belarus.

Robby’s maternal grandmother was named Selma Schlachter (the daughter of Jake/Jakob Schlachter). Selma was born in Biala, Poland, to a Jewish family.


Genealogy of Robby Benson –

Robby’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Robby’s paternal grandfather, Samuel “Sam” Segal, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Robby’s maternal grandparents, Benes/Benjamin “Ben” Benenson/Benson and Selma Schlachter, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

1 Response

  1. transemacabre says:

    Selma Schlachter was born in Biala, Poland. Her father’s name was Jake (Jakob). The Houston Jewish Herald-Voice Index to Vitals and Family Events, 1908-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Texas, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1852-1991 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

    Her husband Ben Benson was born in Borisov, Russia in 1900 under the names Benes Benenson. This is probably Barysaŭ in Minsk region of present-day Belarus. His death certificate lists his father as Zalman Benson and his mother as Freda bat Yietzchac Yankef (this has to be Yitzhak Yankel). Texas, U.S., Death Certificates, 1903-1982 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

    Zalman and Freda (or Frieda) had another child, Ida, and on Ida’s death certificate Freda’s maiden name was Klibanoff (Klibanova?) New York, New York, U.S., Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT. USA: 2020.

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