Tyrone Benskin (born 29 December 1958) is an English-Canadian actor and politician. He was elected Member of Parliament in the Jeanne-Le Ber riding, in Montreal, Quebec, in the 2011 Canadian federal election and served as an MP until 2015.
Benskin was born in Bristol, England but moved to Canada in 1968 at age nine.
Having studied theatre at both CEGEP and university levels in Montreal, Benskin has become a significant presence in theatre, film, television and music. His theatre credits include features appearances on such celebrated stages as the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, the National Arts Centre and the Centaur Theatre in Montreal. His many acclaimed performances include Mr. M in the South African play My Children My Africa and the 71-year-old Nelson Williams Johns in the Black Theatre Workshop/Centaur productions of Wade in the Water.
In his years, Benskin has frequently made several appearances in film and television, including co-starring with Tori Spelling in the CTV/Lifetime TV movie Mind over Murder, The Wool Cap and the civil rights drama Deacons for Defence opposite Forrest Whitaker and Ossie Davis. Benskin can also be seen in the NBC mini-series 10.5: Apocalypse and as Karl Lubinsky in the hit sci-fi series Charlie Jade. Feature films include Jack Paradise and the blockbuster 300.
His voice is recognizable from both commercials and animation having played such characters as Kobalt in the 1996 animated series of Flash Gordon and Bo and Wimzie's father Rousso in the children's television series Wimzie's House. He is also a published songwriter, composer, director and writer.
Before assuming elected office, Benskin served two mandates as National Vice-President of for ACTRA, Canada's national film and television actors' union, and served as artistic director of the Black Theatre Workshop, Canada's oldest black theatre company.
On 30 January 2011, Benskin was announced as the federal New Democratic Party candidate in the Montreal-area riding of Jeanne-Le Ber in the 2011 federal election. During the election, his candidacy was seen as one of the NDP's better chances for a gain in Quebec, and NDP leader Jack Layton described him as having minister potential. On 2 May 2011, he was elected to the House of Commons of Canada with a substantial margin, defeating Bloc Québécois incumbent Thierry St-Cyr.
Benskin was named the Official Opposition's critic for Canadian Heritage, and later transferred to the Official Languages file as deputy critic. He was dropped from the shadow cabinet after party leader Tom Mulcair learned that Benskin owed the Quebec revenue agency $58,000 for unpaid taxes from 2007 to 2011. Benskin apologized, attributing the non-payment to having precarious employment as an artist prior to becoming an MP. Benskin did not stand as a candidate in the 2015 federal election.
- Can You Hear Me? (2020) - Hans
- Wimzie's House (1995-1996) - Rousso
- The Legend of Sarila (2013) - Itak
- Huckleberry Finn (1976) - Jim