Robert Douglas Benton (born September 29, 1932) is an American screenwriter and film director. Benton was born in Waxahachie, Texas, the son of Dorothy (née Spaulding) and Ellery Douglass Benton, a telephone company employee. He attended the University of Texas and Columbia University. Benton has enjoyed a highly successful career in film, winning numerous prestigious awards for both writing and directing. He was also the art director at Esquire magazine in the early 1960s. In 2006, he appeared in the documentary Wanderlust, as did a number of other well-known people. Benton's family originally hailed from Northumberland in Great Britain, where the Bentons held a seat long before the Norman Conquest. Many family members settled in America, including Abigail and Isabel Benton, who settled in Virginia in 1642; George Benton, who settled in Barbados in 1669; and Robert Benton, who settled in Virginia in 1635. Benton was once a noble family, but they became commoners after the Norman invasion. Robert Benton still has relatives living in England who trace their origins to the seventeenth century. Other prominent Bentons include: Thomas Hart Benton and William Burnett Benton.