Stein began his career as a speech writer for United States President Richard Nixon. He eventually became a Hollywood consultant, helping liberal writers portray a conservative family on television. He then moved into acting and is most famous for playing an uptight economics teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Stein excelled at playing bland and unemotional characters, and he was subsequently typecast into these roles, mainly as a nerd.
In 1997 Stein was given his own game show by Comedy Central titled Win Ben Stein's Money. True to its name, the money that contestants won on the show was subtracted from the $5000 Ben earned (in addition to his salary). The show won two Emmy awards before ending its run in 2003.
Stein has written several books on several topics, including economics, and is a vocal supporter of the Republican Party. Despite having appeared in many "Hollywood" movies, he is a noted critic of many attitudes often associated with the film studio.