Dirk Benedict (born March 1, 1945) is a movie and television actor, perhaps best known for playing the characters "Face" in the The A-Team television series and "Starbuck" in the original Battlestar Galactica television series.
He was born Dirk Niewoehner, in Helena, Montana, USA. At Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Washington, Dirk became interested in acting. During his freshman year, he accepted a dare to audition for the Spring musical and won the lead role of Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat. He also joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity that year, which he credits with supporting his endeavors, and encouraging his development. The next three years were filled with many more musical productions. Upon graduation, Benedict began a two-year training program under John Fernald, who had headed London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London for fifteen years.
At that time he started to use the stage name 'Benedict'; supposedly, whilst searching for a catchier, more American name, he agreed to the suggestion of "Benedict" by his agent, who was inspired by Dirk eating Eggs Benedict for breakfast during their early morning conversation.
Benedict then played repertory theatre in Seattle and in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he played such roles as Edmund in King Lear, Tarleton in Misalliance, Ensign Pulver in Mister Roberts, and the lead in Neil Simon's Star-Spangled Girl. An agent sent him to an audition which resulted in a co-starring role with Diana Rigg and Keith Mitchell in Abelard and Heloise, first on Broadway, then in Los Angeles. Two weeks after the show closed on Broadway, he was winging across the Atlantic to Sweden for his first movie, Georgia, Georgia in which he co-starred with Diana Sands. This film about draft resisters, shot entirely in Sweden, was written by Maya Angelou.
On his return to New York, Benedict replaced Keir Dullea in Butterflies Are Free on Broadway where he worked with Gloria Swanson as his mother. When the New York run ended, he received an offer to repeat his performance in Hawaii, opposite Barbara Rush. While there, he appeared as a guest lead on Hawaii Five-O. The producers of a psycho-thriller called Sssssss saw Benedict's performance in Hawaii-Five-O and promptly cast him as the lead in that movie. He next played the psychotic wife-beating husband of Twiggy in her American film debut, W. Benedict starred in the television series, Chopper One, but his career break came when he appeared as Lieutenant Starbuck in the movie and television series Battlestar Galactica.
According to fellow A-Team actor and friend, Dwight Schultz, Benedict claims to have been diagnosed with prostate cancer by a psychic in Italy who discovered the cause of Benedict's ailment by examining a photograph of him.