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Benedict Cumberbatch Biography – An English Actor famous as Doctor Strange

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch CBE is an English actor. Known for his roles on the screen and stage, he has received various accolades throughout his career, including a British Academy Television Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, a Critics' Choice Television Award and a Laurence Olivier Award.

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Real Name: Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch
Profession: English actor
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England
Spouse: Sophie Hunter
Age: 45 years

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch CBE (born 19 July 1976) is an English actor. Known for his roles on the screen and stage, he has received various accolades throughout his career, including a British Academy Television Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, a Critics’ Choice Television Award and a Laurence Olivier Award. He won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor for playing the title role in the five-part drama miniseries Patrick Melrose. Cumberbatch won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for Sherlock and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for Frankenstein. His performances in the dramas The Imitation Game (2014) and The Power of the Dog (2021) earned him nominations for an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe Award, all for Best Actor in a Leading Role. In 2014 Time magazine included him in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2015 he was appointed a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2015 Birthday Honours for services to the performing arts and to charity.

A graduate of the Victoria University of Manchester, Cumberbatch continued his training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, obtaining a Master of Arts in Classical Acting. He first performed at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park in Shakespearean productions and made his West End debut in Richard Eyre’s revival of Hedda Gabler in 2005. Since then, he has starred in the Royal National Theatre productions After the Dance (2010) and Frankenstein (2011). In 2015, he played the title role in Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre.

Benedict Cumberbatch Biography
Benedict Cumberbatch Biography

Cumberbatch’s television work includes his performance as Stephen Hawking in the television film Hawking in 2004. He gained worldwide recognition for his performance as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock from 2010 to 2017. He has also headlined Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Parade’s End (2012), The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (2016), Patrick Melrose (2018), and Brexit: The Uncivil War (2019).

Benedict Cumberbatch Biography
Born
Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch

19 July 1976 (age 45)

Hammersmith, London, England
Alma mater
  • University of Manchester
  • London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor
Years active 1998–present
Works
Performances
Spouse(s)
Sophie Hunter (m. 2015)
Children 3
Parent(s) Timothy Carlton
Wanda Ventham
Relatives
  • Henry Carlton Cumberbatch (grandfather)
  • Henry Arnold Cumberbatch (great-grandfather)
  • Robert William Cumberbatch (great-great-grandfather)
Awards Full list

Early life and education (Benedict Cumberbatch Biography)

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch was born on 19 July 1976 at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in the London district of Hammersmith, to actors Timothy Carlton (born Timothy Carlton Congdon Cumberbatch) and Wanda Ventham. He grew up in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea. He has a half-sister, Tracy Peacock, from his mother’s first marriage. His grandfather, Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, was a submarine officer of both World Wars, and a prominent figure in London high society. His great-grandfather, Henry Arnold Cumberbatch, was a diplomat who served as consul in Turkey and Lebanon, and his great-great-grandfather, Robert William Cumberbatch, also was a British consul in Turkey and the Russian Empire. His great-great-great-grandfather, Abraham Parry Cumberbatch, was a wealthy slave owner in Barbados, Jamaica. Cumberbatch is the third cousin 16 times removed of King Richard III, whom he portrayed in The Hollow Crown. He attended Richard III’s 2015 reburial and read a poem.

Cumberbatch attended boarding schools from the age of eight; he was educated at Brambletye School in West Sussex and was an arts scholar at Harrow School. He was a member of The Rattigan Society, Harrow’s principal club for the dramatic arts, which was named after Old Harrovian and playwright Terence Rattigan. He was involved in numerous Shakespearean works at school and made his acting debut as Titania, Queen of the Fairies, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was 12. Cumberbatch’s drama teacher, Martin Tyrell, called him “the best schoolboy actor” he had ever worked with. Despite his abilities, Cumberbatch’s drama teacher at Harrow warned him against a career in acting, calling it a “tough business”.

After leaving Harrow, Cumberbatch took a gap year to volunteer as an English teacher at a Tibetan monastery in Darjeeling, India. He then attended the Victoria University of Manchester, where he studied drama. He continued his training as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), graduating with an MA in classical acting. On 16 January 2018, Cumberbatch announced that Timothy West would succeed as president of LAMDA.

Career (Benedict Cumberbatch Biography)

Theatre

Since 2001, Cumberbatch has had major roles in a dozen classic plays at the Regent’s Park Open Air, Almeida, Royal Court and Royal National Theatres. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for his role as George Tesman in Hedda Gabler, which he performed at the Almeida Theatre on 16 March 2005 and at the Duke of York’s Theatre when it transferred to the West End on 19 May 2005. This transfer marked his first West End appearance.

In June 2010, Cumberbatch led the revival of Terence Rattigan’s After the Dance directed by Thea Sharrock at the Royal National Theatre. He played 1920s aristocrat David Scott-Fowler to commercial and critical success. The play won four Olivier Awards including Best Revival. He acted in Danny Boyle’s The Children’s Monologues, a theatrical charity event at London’s Old Vic Theatre on 14 November 2010 which was produced by Dramatic Need.

Benedict Cumberbatch Biography
Benedict Cumberbatch Biography

Television

Cumberbatch’s early television roles include two separate guest roles in Heartbeat (2000, 2004), Freddy in Tipping the Velvet (2002), Edward Hand in Cambridge Spies (2003) and Rory in the ITV comedy-drama series Fortysomething (2003). He was also featured in Spooks and Silent Witness. In 2004, he landed his first main part in television as Stephen Hawking Hawking. He was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor and won the Golden Nymph for Television Films – Best Performance by an Actor. He later provided Hawking’s voice in the first episode of the television series Curiosity. He also appeared in the BBC miniseries Dunkirk as Lieutenant Jimmy Langley.

In 2005, Cumberbatch portrayed protagonist Edmund Talbot in the miniseries To the Ends of the Earth, based on William Golding’s trilogy; during filming he experienced a terrifying carjacking in South Africa, managing to escape. He made brief appearances in the comedy sketch show Broken News and the Channel 4 sitcom Nathan Barley in 2005 and featured alongside Tom Hardy in the television adaptation of Stuart: A Life Backwards, which aired on the BBC in September 2007.

Film (Benedict Cumberbatch Biography)

In 2006, Cumberbatch played late 18th/early 19th-century British parliamentarian William Pitt the Younger in Amazing Grace, a role that garnered him a nomination for the London Film Critics Circle “British Breakthrough Acting Award”. In Atonement (2007), Cumberbatch played what The Guardian called one of his “small parts in big films”, and came to the attention of Sue Vertue and Stephen Moffat, who would later cast him in Sherlock. In 2008 he had a supporting role in The Other Boleyn Girl, and the next year he appeared in the Charles Darwin biographical film Creation as Darwin’s friend Joseph Hooker. In 2010, he appeared in The Whistleblower as well as Four Lions. He portrayed Peter Guillam, George Smiley’s right-hand man, in the 2011 adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The film was directed by Tomas Alfredson and featured Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. Cumberbatch played Major Jamie Stewart in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse in 2011.

In 2012, Cumberbatch provided the voice and motion capture for both Smaug the Dragon and the Necromancer in An Unexpected Journey, the first instalment of The Hobbit film series based on the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien. He reprised his roles as Smaug and the Necromancer for The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014). For the motion-capture aspect of the film, he used a suit and facial markers to highlight the dragon’s expressions and movements. Cumberbatch told Total Film “You just have to lose your shit on a carpeted floor, in a place that looks a little bit like a mundane government building. It was just me as well, with four static cameras and all the sensors.”

In 2013, Cumberbatch appeared in J. J. Abrams’ sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, as Khan, the film’s antagonist. Three of the four films he featured in during the second half of 2013 premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival: The Fifth Estate, in which he played WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 12 Years a Slave, in which he played William Prince Ford, a slave owner, and August: Osage County, in which he played Charles Aiken. For the official soundtrack of the latter film, he recorded a song titled “Can’t Keep It Inside”.

Radio

Cumberbatch has repeatedly expressed his affection for radio and has done numerous productions for the BBC. Among his best-known radio work is the adaptation of John Mortimer’s novel Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders in 2009. He played Young Rumpole and went on to play the part in nine more adaptations of Mortimer’s works. Between 2008 and 2014, he played Captain Martin Crieff in the BBC Radio 4’s sitcom Cabin Pressure, alongside Stephanie Cole, John Finnemore, and Roger Allam. He then went on to play the Angel Islington in the 2013 BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. In the same year, he led the BBC Radio 3 adaptation of Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen wherein he played theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg.

For the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, on 6 June 2014 Cumberbatch read the original BBC radio bulletins from June 1944 for BBC Radio 4.

Narration (Benedict Cumberbatch Biography)

Cumberbatch has narrated numerous documentaries for the National Geographic and Discovery channels. He has also read several audiobooks, including CasanovaThe TempestThe Making of MusicDeath in a White TieArtists in CrimeTom and Viv, and Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories. He has done voice-overs for several commercials, including for major names Jaguar, Sony, Pimms, and Google+, performing the Seven Ages of Man monologue. For the 2012 London Olympics, he featured in a short film on the history of London, which began the BBC coverage of the opening ceremony. He made appearances for two Cheltenham Festivals, in July 2012 for Music when he read World War I poetry and prose accompanied by piano pieces and in October 2012 for Literature when he discussed Sherlock and Parade’s End at The Centaur. In 2012, he lent his voice to a four-part, spoken-word track titled “Flat of Angles” for Late Night Tales based on a story written by author and poet Simon Cleary, the final instalment of which was released on 9 May 2014.

Music

On 28 September 2016, Cumberbatch appeared on stage with Pink Floyd member David Gilmour during one of the musician’s shows in London held at the Royal Albert Hall. He sang lead vocals on the song “Comfortably Numb”, singing the verse sections originally sung by Roger Waters.

Impressionist

Adept at impersonating others, Cumberbatch was referred to as the “New King of Celebrity Impressionists” by Vulture magazine. He has imitated celebrities on a number of chat shows, such as The Graham Norton Show on the BBC, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC, and in general interviews on channels such as MTV. His impersonations include Alan Rickman, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Tom Hiddleston, Michael Caine, Christopher Walken, Tom Holland, Bane, John Malkovich, Matthew McConaughey, Taylor Swift and Chewbacca.

Production company

Cumberbatch, Adam Ackland, writer-director Patrick Monroe, action coordinator Ben Dillon, and production manager Adam Selves launched a production company, SunnyMarch Ltd., in late 2013.

Their first project under the company’s banner was the £87,000 crowd-funded short film Little Favour, written and directed by Monroe with Cumberbatch in the lead role. The 30-minute action-thriller became internationally available on iTunes on 5 November 2013.

Public image (Benedict Cumberbatch Biography)

Cumberbatch achieved international recognition with the first series of Sherlock in 2010. He has since been called “The Thinking Woman’s Crumpet” and has been a mainstay in numerous “Sexiest Man Alive” lists including those of Empire and People.

Tatler listed Cumberbatch in the “Most Eligible Bachelors in the United Kingdom” in 2012. In the same year, Cumberbatch described a cyberstalking incident in which he discovered that someone had been live-tweeting his movements in his London home. Coming to terms with it, he said, is “an ongoing process. To think that somebody knew everything I’d done in a day and told the rest of the world in real-time!” His photograph taken at the Garrick Club by Derry Moore, 12th Earl of Drogheda was the cover of Moore’s 2012 book An English Room.

In 2013, Cumberbatch was ranked fifth in the Tatlers “Most Fascinating People in Britain” list, higher than the Duchess of Cambridge and just below Queen Elizabeth II. Entertainment Weekly identified Cumberbatch as one of the “50 Coolest and Most Creative Entertainers” in Hollywood. He has also appeared on the covers of GQTime and The Hollywood Reporters “New A-list” issue.

In 2014, Cumberbatch was included in The Sunday Times “100 Makers of the 21st Century”, cited as this generation’s Laurence Olivier.” Film critic Roger Friedman stated that “Cumberbatch may be the closest thing to a real descendant of Sir Laurence Olivier.” GQ identified him as one of the “100 Most Connected Men” in the UK in 2014. In the same year, Country Life magazine labelled him as one of its “Gentlemen of the Year”.

Charity

Cumberbatch is an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust. He is a supporter and patron of organisations focused on using the arts to help disadvantaged young people including Odd Arts, Anno’s Africa and Dramatic Need. Since portraying Stephen Hawking in 2004, he has been an ambassador, and in 2015 patron, for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and in 2014 did the Ice Bucket Challenge for the organisation. He also set up a recovery fund for the benefit of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association. Cumberbatch has donated artworks for charities and fundraisers including the Willow Foundation, and Thomas Coram Foundation for Children.

Together with Prince Philip, Cumberbatch presented 85 young people with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at St James’s Palace on 19 March 2014. “Our ambition is to extend this opportunity to hundreds of thousands across the UK”, Cumberbatch said on behalf of the youth awards programme.

In May 2014, he joined Prince William and Ralph Lauren at Windsor Castle for cancer awareness and fundraising gala for the benefit of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Cumberbatch stated, “Cancer isn’t a disease that needs much awareness, but it does need continued funding for research.” In September 2014, he participated in a video campaign for Stand Up To Cancer. Cumberbatch posed for photographer Jason Bell for an exhibition at Pall Mall, London from 16 to 20 September 2014 to mark 10 years of the “Give Up Clothes For Good” charity campaign, which has raised £17 million for Cancer Research UK. In 2014, Cumberbatch publicly backed “Hacked Off” and its campaign for UK press self-regulation by “safeguarding the press from political interference while also giving vital protection to the vulnerable.”

Politics

In 2003, Cumberbatch joined the Stop the War Coalition protest in London against the Iraq War. He addressed activists in a 2010 protest sponsored by the Trade Union Congress in Westminster on the suggested risks to the arts due to spending cuts expected in the Spending Review. In 2013, he protested against what he perceived were civil liberties violations by the UK government.

Cumberbatch is a supporter of LGBT+ rights and in July 2013 officiated at the same-sex marriage of friends. Through this ordination, he officiated the wedding of Robert Rinder, best known as Judge Rinder and his partner Seth Cummings. For International Women’s Day 2014, he was a signatory of Amnesty International’s letter to Prime Minister David Cameron regarding women’s rights in Afghanistan. Cumberbatch identifies as a feminist.

In 2016, Cumberbatch was one of over 280 figures from the art world who backed a vote for the United Kingdom to stay in the European Union with regard to the June 2016 referendum on that issue.

Personal life (Benedict Cumberbatch Biography)

While in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in 2005, Cumberbatch and two friends (Theo and Denise Black) were abducted, after bursting a tyre, and held at gunpoint by a group of locals. Eventually, their abductors drove them into the unsettled territory and set them free without explanation. Cumberbatch said of the incident: “It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It’s made me want to live a life less ordinary.” Before the burst tyre, they had been listening to “How to Disappear Completely” by Radiohead. Following this experience, whenever Cumberbatch hears the song it “reminds [him] of a sense of reality … [and] a reason for hope”.

Benedict Cumberbatch with his Wife
Benedict Cumberbatch with his Wife

He subscribes to Buddhist philosophy and has expressed an affinity for meditation and mindfulness. Cumberbatch also follows a vegan diet.

Cumberbatch is married to English theatre and opera director Sophie Hunter. After a seventeen-year friendship, their engagement was announced in the “Forthcoming Marriages” section of The Times on 5 November 2014. On 14 February 2015, the couple married at the 12th-century Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Mottistone on the Isle of Wight followed by a reception at Mottistone Manor. They have three sons.

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