Robby Benson was born Robin David Segal in Dallas, Texas. Benson was raised in New York City and took his mother’s maiden name as his stage name when he was 10.
Robby made his Broadway debut in The Rothschilds (1970). He had an early role on the CBS-TV daytime soap Search for Tomorrow (1971-72). As a film star, Benson was popular for roles of teens in coming−of–age films, such as in 1972′s Jory (his screen debut), in Jeremy (1973), and as Billy Joe McAllister in Ode to Billy Joe(1976).
Benson was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1976" in John Willis’ Screen World, and auditioned for the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars (1977), but lost the role to Mark Hamill. He received critical acclaim for his role as the hockey player, Nick Peterson, in Ice Castles (1978).