Paula Prentiss was born in San Antonio, Texas, and studied acting at Northwestern University. While in a student production of A Hatful of Rain, she was discovered by a talent scout from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and was signed to a seven year contract. She starred in her first movie, Where the Boys Are, and then in other MGM films, including The Honeymoon Machine, Bachelor in Paradise, The Horizontal Lieutenant, and Follow the Boys. Howard Hanks directed her in Man’s Favorite Sport, opposite Rock Hudson. She starred in The World of Henry Orient with Peter Sellers, in In Harm’s Way with John Wayne, and in What’s New, Pussycat with Woody Allen. Ms. Prentiss also appeared in Catch-22, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Parallax View, Move, Crazy Joe, The Black Marble, The Stepford Wives, Buddy, Buddy, and Saturday the 14th opposite her husband Richard Benjamin. She appeared in a cameo as Nurse Ratched’s younger sister in her husband’s film, Mrs. Winterbourne.
On TV, Ms. Prentiss enjoyed critical acclaim with her husband in their CBS television series, He and She, and has appeared in several made-for-television movies, including Packin’ It In and M.A.D.D. The Candy Lightner Story.
Ms. Prentiss’ stage appearances include Rosalind in Joe Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival production of As You Like It, Marianna in the UCLA Theatre Group production of Measure for Measure, and two off-Broadway plays, Arf and The Great Airplane Snatch. Ms. Prentiss made her Broadway debut in The Norman Conquests opposite Mr. Benjamin. She appeared in the American Reparatory Theater production of Demons for Robert Brustein, then in the critically acclaimed Los Angeles premiere of Angel’s Share. In 1999, Ms. Prentiss stared in a four month run of Power Plays, by Elaine May and Alan Arkin, with her husband Richard Benjamin in New York City, where they received glowing reviews in the New York Times. Paula starred recently in the Cape Cod Playhouse production of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.
The Benjamins have two children pursuing careers in the theatre. Son, Ross, graduated from Harvard University, and daughter, Prentiss, graduated from Northwestern University, where her parents met in 1958. The apple does not fall far from the tree.