Who is Luke Benward?
Luke is an American actor and singer, who first gained prominence as a child actor in films such as “How to Eat Fried Worms” (2006) and “Minutemen” (2008). His breakthrough role was in the Disney Channel original movie “Girl vs. Monster” (2012), in which he played character Ryan Dean. His most notable TV series role is Bo in the Netflix series “Dumplin’“ (2018). In addition to his acting career, Luke has released several songs as a recording artist.
Early Life and Education
Luke Aaron Benward, was born on 12 May 1995, in Franklin, Tennessee. He grew up in a family deeply entrenched in the entertainment industry: his father Aaron was half of the country duo Blue County, while his mother Kenda was a model, actress and acting coach. Furthermore, he is the grandson of Jeoffrey Benward, a famous contemporary Christian music singer. This vibrant and creative family atmosphere heavily influenced Luke’s early interest in acting and music.
Luke received his early education in a Christian school in his hometown before he started homeschooling to accommodate his acting career. His artistic journey began at a young age when he landed roles in local theater productions, honing his acting skills while discovering a love for storytelling.
Roles in Movies
Luke made his film debut at the tender age of seven, in Martijn Heijne’s “We Were Soldiers” (2002), in which he played the role of David Moore. However, it was his performance in “How to Eat Fried Worms” (2006) that truly launched Luke into the spotlight. The film, based on Thomas Rockwell’s popular children’s book of the same name, saw Luke take on the role of Billy Forrester, the new kid in school who gets embroiled in a bet to eat 10 worms in one day. His portrayal of Billy’s struggle won over audiences and critics alike, and his performance earned him the Young Artist Award for Best Young Ensemble in a Feature Film.
In the Disney Channel original movie “Minutemen” (2008), Luke starred as Charlie Tuttle, a teenage scientific genius who invents a 10 minute time machine along with his two friends.
One of Luke’s first non-comedic roles came in the 2010 romantic drama “Dear John” (2010), based on the eponymous novel by Nicholas Sparks, and which starred Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried. Luke portrayed the younger version of Tatum’s character, John Tyree.
In 2012, Luke starred in another Disney Channel original movie, “Girl vs. Monster”, taking on the role of Ryan Dean, a popular high school student who is also a skilled guitarist. This role showcased his musical talent and natural charisma, making him a hit with the younger audience.
Two years later, he starred opposite Dove Cameron in the Disney sports comedy “Cloud 9”, playing the role of Will, a former snowboarding champion who becomes inspired to compete again by one of his students.
In the following years, Luke began taking on more series roles, starring in movies such as “Point of Honor” and “Field of Lost Shoes” both in 2015, and “Measure of a Man” (2018).
Perhaps his most notable role to date is his portrayal of Bo in the comedy-drama “Dumplin’“ (2018), the Netflix adaptation of Julie Murphy’s novel, which starred Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston. The story centers on Willowdean Dickson (played by Danielle), a plus-size teenage girl living in Texas, who’s the daughter of a former beauty queen. The narrative explores themes of self-confidence, body positivity, and the critique of societal beauty standards. Luke’s character, Bo is Willow’s love interest, who works with her in a fast-food restaurant.
In 2020, Luke took on a different kind of role in the horror “Wildcat”, playing a soldier trapped by terrorists in a deadly situation. His intense and gripping performance displayed a darker side to his acting capabilities, proving that he is more than capable of tackling various genres.
His latest film role was in the 2021 comedy-drama “Playing God”, written and directed by Scott Brignac, and which follows a pair of conmen who hire a man to play ‘God’ in hopes of tricking a billionaire into giving them a part of his fortune.
As of 2023, Luke is set to appear in several movies, including the thriller “Don’t Log Off”, written and directed by Brandon and Garett Baer, of which he’s also the producer.
Roles in TV Series
Luke made his television debut in 2002 with the comedy “Family Affair”, playing the role of Jody Davis. Though the series was short-lived, it set the stage for many more roles to come. In the following years, Luke primarily appeared in movies, so his TV series comeback wasn’t until 2012, with a minor role in the family comedy “See Dad Run”.
One of his more significant television roles came with the popular Disney Channel sitcom “Good Luck Charlie”, in which he portrayed Beau Landry, the love interest of Bridgit Mendler’s character, Teddy. Luke joined the series in its fourth and final season in 2013, quickly becoming a fan favorite. His character, Beau, was a charming and down-to-earth employee at Bob’s Bugs Be Gone, and Luke’s performance was a hit with the show’s audience.
— Ravenswood (@Ravenswood_Show) January 29, 2014
Simultaneously, Luke was making waves in the horror television series “Ravenswood”, (2013-2014) a spin-off from the popular crime drama “Pretty Little Liars”, in which he played Dillon, a recurring character with a mysterious and ominous demeanor.
In 2014, Luke made an appearance in the anthology series “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour”, playing the role of Ted in the season four episode “Near Mint Condition”. In the following years, Luke made episodic appearances in other popular shows, such as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, “Pitch”, and “Girl Meets World”.
In 2017, Luke appeared alongside the country music star Billy Ray Cyrus in the third season of the sitcom “Still the King”. Most recently, in 2022 and 2023, he appeared in two episodes of the long-running procedural drama “Criminal Minds”.
Luke’s talents extend beyond the acting world and into the realm of music. In January 2009, when just 14 years old, he released his first EP, “Let Your Love Out”, consisting of five tracks, including the titular song, “Everyday Hero”, and “Get Up”, featuring uplifting and catchy pop tunes that showcased his vocal abilities and his ability to connect with fans.
During this period, he also contributed to various movie soundtracks; notably, he performed a rendition of “Had Me @ Hello” for the Disney Channel Original Movie “Girl vs. Monster”, further cementing his status as a Disney star, and around the same time, Luke toured with the Christian pop group iShine. Following the brief US tour, he signed with Crowd Productions, who’ve been working with artists and bands such as Jonas Brothers, Death Cab for Cutie, and Hillary Duff.
Luke’s music career took a bit of a backseat as his acting career began to take off, but he never fully stepped away from music, and still enjoys singing and playing the guitar in his spare time.
Love Life and Relationships
While Luke generally keeps his personal life private, it’s known that he dated fellow actress Olivia Holt from 2012 to 2017. They met while working on the set of “Girl vs. Monster”, and their relationship received much attention from fans and the media.
After their break-up, Luke was briefly linked with the “Chronicles of Narnia” star Georgie Henley, after the two were spotted spending time together in New York City.
Since December 2019, Luke has been in a relationship with the actress Ariel Winter. They confirmed their relationship in January the following year, but have been keeping a low profile since then.
Hobbies and Interesting Facts
Aside from acting and singing, Luke has a deep love for the outdoors. He’s known to enjoy various physical activities, including soccer, basketball and snowboarding. In interviews, he’s spoken about his passion for fishing, a hobby he shares with his father.
Luke is also known for his culinary skills, and has a particular passion for barbecues. He often shares his creations on his social media platforms, showcasing his southern roots and culinary prowess.
Interestingly, despite his notable career in acting, Luke initially aspired to become a Navy SEAL, however, his path took a different turn, leading him into the world of acting and music.
As of July 2023, Luke’s net worth is estimated to be more than $2 million. This substantial sum is primarily accrued from his acting career in both film and on television, as well as his ventures in music. With his continual presence in the entertainment industry, Luke’s net worth could be expected to increase in the coming years.