|Birthdate||October 10, 1969|
Manu Bennett, is a New Zealand actor who portrayed Crixus, the Undefeated Gaul in the Spartacus franchise. He is also known for his roles as Azog in The Hobbit trilogy, and as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke on the television series Arrow.
Born in New Zealand, Bennett's father was a singer, while his mother was an Australian bikini model. His family moved to Australia when Bennett was only a few months old. On his father's side, Bennett is of Maori (specifically Te Arawa and Ngati Kahungunu) and Irish descent. His mother is of Scottish and Spanish ancestry. He was raised mostly between Sydney and Newcastle, Australia. In 1986, Bennett returned to New Zealand to attend Te Aute College, where he played for the 1st XV. Upon returning to Australia, Bennett was chosen in the New South Wales Schoolboys Rugby Union Team. Interested in modern dancing, classical ballet and piano, Bennett quit rugby to attend university to study dance and drama, then travelled to Los Angeles on a scholarship to attend the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute.
Bennett's professional acting career began in 1993 on the teen soap Paradise Beach. He then played guest roles in other TV dramas, including Water Rats, All Saints, and BeastMaster. Bennett then starred alongside Claudia Karvan in the mini series The Violent Earth, produced by French company Gaurmont. In 1996, Bennett participated in theater. In an open air production of Lady Chatterley's Lover, based on D.H. Lawrence's novel, directed by Australian film/theatre director Robert Chuter, he played the title role, the gamekeeper Oliver Mellors.
In 1999, Bennett landed his first leading role in a feature film, Tomoko, shot on location in Tokyo and staring opposite Rumiko Koyanagi. He then had a brief but memorable guest role as Mark Antony on Xena: Warrior Princess, followed by a role in the award-winning Australian film, Lantana.
In 2000, Bennett appeared in the popular television drama, Shortland Street, then went on to play a cop-turned-lawyer in Street Legal. He worked with his cousin, director Michael Bennett, on the Maori series, Mataku. In 2003, Bennett hosted Going Straight, a New Zealand reality show.
In 2006, Bennett was cast in The Marine, opposite WWE wrestling star John Cena and Robert Patrick. In 2007, he starred as one of ten convicts alongside Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones in The Condemned. Bennett also played opposite Josh Harnett in the film 30 Days of Night.
In 2010, Bennett starred as Crixus in the American television series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. He was the only series regular to appear in all three seasons, as well as the prequel. In 2012, he played the villain, Azog the Defiler,
Bennett and Israeli socialite Karin Horen have three daughters together (Huia, Mokoia and Pania).