Ben Chan was born to a U.S. Asian father, an engineer, and U.S. European mother. Ben grew up a Bruce Lee fan and often credits him with his inspiration. He first came to the spotlight as a child with a brief role in DMZ (1990). Following this appearance, he moved to Hong Kong with his family where he was discovered by a local talent scout. He began acting in various television situation comedies in Asia during the 'boom years' of Hong Kong cinema before returning the United States to pursue a college degree.