Fans of the late 1980s and early 1990s sitcom, ALF, will remember Benji Gregory for his role as the family’s son, Brian Tanner.
Though he has since left Hollywood, he still receives quite a bit of fan mail, according to his Facebook page.
Let’s keep reading to see what Benji Gregory has been up to since leaving Hollywood while having a nostalgic look back on his career as a child star.
About Benji Gregory
Benji, originally Benjamin Gregory Hertzberg, was born on May 26, 1978, in Los Angeles to Manny and Patti. He’s the middle sibling between older sister Becky and younger brother Matthew.
Hailing from an acting family, Benji’s father and uncle were child actors, and his late grandmother, his agent during his acting career, extended this legacy.
Little is known about his middle school years, but he later attended the Academy of Art University. Benji’s acting career began around thirteen months old with several commercials, including McDonald’s ads.
His early acting included about 50 commercials, and despite claims of an uncredited role in “Fantasy Island,” his first acknowledged role was as Eric in a 1984 “A-Team” episode at age six.
Following this, Benji had guest roles in shows like “T.J. Hooker,” “Punky Brewster,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “The Magical World of Disney” from 1984 to 1986. His breakout role was Brian Tanner in the 1986 TV series “ALF.”
To this day, Brian Tanner is the role Benji Gregory is most famous for. The sitcom, which aired on NBC between September 22, 1986, and March 24, 1990, followed an alien who crash-landed in the suburbs. According to Benji, he had 10 callbacks before booking the role.
Benji played the son, who just like real life, was the family’s middle child. His character was the one most bonded to the Alien Life Form (ALF) and the two usually shared many scenes. He appeared in a total of 101 episodes during the series’ four-season run.
Life After ALF
Though ALF was his most prominent role, his career didn’t slow down once the series ended.
Starting in 1986, he landed his first movie role as Harry Carlson Jr. in Jumpin’ Jack Flash and then as Kid Cameron in the 1987 TV movie, Alf Loves a Mystery, despite having already originated the role of Brian Tanner.
Once ALF ended in 1990, he starred in an episode of Murphy Brown, the TV movies, Never Forget and Lady Against the Odds, and 13 episodes of the cartoon Back to the Future in 1992.
His last acting role was voicing the character of Edgar in Once Upon a Forest in 1993. He would have been 15 years old at the time.
According to an interview he gave with the Splat From the Past podcast in 2022, he left Hollywood due to burnout.
Per Benji, he grew very tired of constantly having to drive out to Hollywood for interviews when, at the time, he wanted to focus on hanging out with his friends and skateboarding. After missing out on so much of his childhood, he wanted a return to normalcy during his teenage years.
About 10 years after leaving Hollywood – at about 25 years old – Benji enlisted in the United States Navy. He remembers being one of the older enlistees. After graduating in 2003, he went on to be an Aerographer’s mate.
As an Aerographer’s mate, Benji was responsible for collecting, recording, and interpreting oceanographic and meteorological data. He was also responsible for warning crewmen of severe and dangerous sea/weather conditions.
According to the interview on the Splat From the Past podcast, Benji had a decent military career. He said he enjoyed the shift he had as an Aerographer’s mate because it required him to work overnight, which made dealing with his insomnia more manageable.
However, after being transferred to the kitchen, his battle with insomnia and depression grew worse to the point where he started missing days because of how miserable he was. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2005 due to medical reasons, including a battle with depression and bipolar disorder.
What is Benji Gregory Doing Now?
As of today, Benji largely remains out of the public eye. He remains pretty active on his Facebook page, posting a lot of videos and static posts about his pug, artwork, and fan mail he receives.
According to his Facebook page, he lives alone in Arizona. When asked about the possibility of returning for an ALF reboot, he told Tommy “Throwback” Kovac from the Splat From the Past podcast that he would be open to reprising his role as Brian Tanner.
During this interview, Benji was very open about his mental health struggles, admitting that he still goes several days without sleeping. That being said, his mental health is being managed by the VA. He also admitted to doing some video work, however, he remained tight-lipped as to what that includes, and there is no information available online to explore it further.
Some websites state that Benji has been married to Sarah Gregory since 1999, however, according to his Facebook page, he is single.
Furthermore, there are no photos or references to being in a relationship on his social media accounts.