Bentley was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the son of Cherie and David Bentley, who are United Methodist ministers. In 1996, he graduated from Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas. Bentley then attended the Juilliard School's Drama Division (Group 29: 1996–2000) but left the school after one year to pursue his acting career.
Bentley has starred in several films, including the Oscar-winning film American Beauty, The Four Feathers, P2, and Ghost Rider. He starred in the thriller Dolan's Cadillac, based on the short story by Stephen King, and There Be Dragons by director Roland Joffé. Bentley is one of the main subjects in the documentary My Big Break, directed by Tony Zierra, which follows Bentley and three of his former roommates, Chad Lindberg, Brad Rowe and Greg Fawcett, as they pursue their dream to become successful actors in Hollywood.
In March 2012, Bentley had a supporting role in the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games, playing gamemaker Seneca Crane. Also in 2012, Bentley also starred with Amber Tamblyn and Vincent Piazza in the indie feature 3 NIGHTS IN THE DESERT directed by Gabriel Cowan written by award winning playwright Adam Chanzit and produced by John Suits.
- Bentley was married to actress Jennifer Quanz from 2001 to 2009. They separated in 2006 due to his substance abuse. He married producer Jacqui Swedberg in 2010 and they have a son, Charles, born in late 2010.
- In a New York Times article on February 8, 2010, he described his descent into drug addiction that began almost immediately after his success in American Beauty. He said he hid his addiction from his wife; they separated in 2006, and he moved to an apartment where he began doing drugs full-time. During this time he worked sporadically, just enough to pay bills and buy drugs, and in 2008 was arrested and ordered into counseling and 12-step programs. He relapsed, however, and "continued using heroin until he was broke".
- In July 2009, he said, he confessed to a friend, "I’m a drug addict, and an alcoholic, and I need help. I need help or I’m going to die". He again entered a 12-step program and, while clean since then, considers himself on the path to recovery, and has begun to rebuild his career by starring in the Off-Broadway play Venus in Fur. The documentary My Big Break captures Bentley's early life as an unknown actor, his explosive career launch after American Beauty, his subsequent emotional struggle with fame, and his admission years later that he was recovering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
- ^ a b "Wes Bentley Biography (1978–)". FilmReference.com.
- ^ "Wes Bentley star bio". Tribute.ca.
- ^ Bennett, Tara (March 21, 2012). "The 'Hunger Games' Cast Before They Were Famous: Wes Bentley, Senior Year at Sylvan Hills High School, Sherwood, Arkansas (1996)". Snakkle.com. Pontiac Digital Media.
- ^ "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. March 2010. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- ^ Daly, Steve (October 8, 1999). "Wes Bentley of 'American Beauty'". People.
- ^ Christian Slater and Wes Bentley Join 'Dolan's Cadillac', Cinematical, April 25, 2008
- ^ Stephen King's DOLAN'S CADILLAC Filming in Canada!, May 29, 2008
- ^ a b c Healy, Patrick (8 February 2010). "Back From the Depths, Rebuilding a Career". The New York Times: p. 1.
- ^ Run Extended for ‘Venus in Fur’, Patrick Healey, Feb. 3, 2010, NY Times
- ^ One Object of Deisre, Delivered, Charles Isherwood, NY Times, Jan. 28, 2010
- ^ Nina Arianda: A Star Is Born
- ^ http://www.deadline.com/2011/11/indie-feature-3-nights-in-the-desert-gets-underway/
- ^ Oliver Jones (June 13, 2011). "Wes Bentley: 'I Felt Myself Dying'". People magazine. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- ^ "The Hunger Games Star Wes Bentley Fights Back From Homelessness, Bankruptcy". Radar Online. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- ^ http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/wes-bentley-and-brit-marling-join-green-blade-rises-58496