Benson made his Broadway debut in The Rothschilds. Benson had an early role on the 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). He was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1976" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 28.