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 (1960), and then in other MGM films including The Honeymoon Machine (1961), Bachelor in Paradise (1961), The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962), and Follow the Boys (1963). Howard Hawks directed her in Man’s Favorite Sport? (1964) opposite Rock Hudson. She starred in THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT (1964) with Peter Sellers, In Harm’s Way (1965) with John Wayne, and What’s New Pussycat (1965) with Woody Allen. Ms. Prentiss also appeared in Catch-22 (1970), Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972), The Parallax View (1974), Move (1970), Crazy Joe (1974), The Black Marble (1980), The Stepford Wives (1975), Buddy Buddy (1981), and Saturday the 14th (1981), opposite her husband Richard Benjamin. She appeared in a cameo as Nurse Ratched’s younger sister in her husband’s film Mrs. Winterbourne (1996).
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 (1983) and M.A.D.D. — The Candy Lightner Story (1983).
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 Repertory Theater production of Demons for Robert Brustein, then in the critically acclaimed Los Angeles premiere of Angel’s Share. In 1999 Ms. Prentiss starred 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. Next, Paula starred in the Cape Cod Playhouse production of The Tale Of The Allergist’s Wife.
She then starred with her husband and son in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at the Shadowland Theater in Ellenville, New York. She opened the 2007 season at Boarshead Theatre in Lansing, Michigan with Mrs. Warren’s Profession co-starring her daughter, Prentiss Benjamin. Paula starred in the Los Angeles production of A Majority Of One with her son Ross. In May 2009 she again starred with Ross in the Boarshead acclaimed production of The Glass Menagerie.
Her 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.
Ross and his wife (Dr. Liz) presented Paula and Richard with their gorgeous granddaughter, Isabella, now two years and six months. Not to be outdone, daughter Prentiss and her husband, Max presented to Paula and Richard their brand new grandson, Tennessee Benjamin Shulman, three months old.