Benedict Cumberbatch is a highly acclaimed English actor who has worked in almost every field of the entertainment industry. Benedict has been part of major theatre productions from his early days and became famous for playing the role of Titania at a very young age. He has worked in films, television, theatre, and radio. Benedict Cumberbatch is a highly talented person and has even voiced some iconic characters from popular works of fiction like ‘The Simpsons’ and the movie trilogy of ‘The Hobbit.’ He has been a part of major movie productions and has had significant influence on the television industry as well. His movie ‘Dr. Strange,’ which was produced by ‘Marvel Studios,’ became a huge hit worldwide. His portrayal of the iconic character Sherlock Holmes in the hit TV series ‘Sherlock’ was appreciated by critics around the world. Benedict Cumberbatch is married to the British Theatre and Opera director Sophie Hunter. The couple has two sons, namely Christopher Carlton Cumberbatch and Hal Auden Cumberbatch.
Childhood & Early Life
Benedict Cumberbatch was born on 19 July 1976, in London, England, to Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham.
Most of his early days were spent in boarding schools. He received his education from ‘Brambletye School’ in West Sussex and from ‘Harrow School.’
He was an arts scholar at ‘Harrow School’ and was a member of the ‘Rattigan Society,’ which was the foremost club of dramatic arts in his school at the time. Benedict Cumberbatch made his acting debut at the age of 12, starring as Titania in the famous play ‘A midsummer Night’s Dream.’
He continued his training at the ‘London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts’ and graduated with a MA degree in classical acting.
He has a half-sister named Tracy Peacock from his mother's first marriage.
Cumberbatch took a one-year break to volunteer as an English teacher at a Tibetan monastery in Darjeeling, India.
He studied drama at the ‘Victoria University of Manchester’ which is now known as the ‘University of Manchester.’
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Career in Theatre
Benedict Cumberbatch started his theatre career in 2001 and played major roles in several classic plays. In 2005, his performance as George Tesman in the play ‘Hedda Gabler’ was highly appreciated and he was nominated for ‘Olivier Award’ for ‘Best Performance in a Supporting Role.’
He became part of the revival of Terence Rattigan’s famous play ‘After the Dance.’ The play was directed by Thea Sharrock at the ‘Royal National Theater.’ The adaptation won four ‘Olivier Awards’ and was awarded ‘Best Revival’ as well.
Some of the other major plays that Cumberbatch was part of include, Danny Boyle's 'The Children's Monologues' (2010) and Danny Boyle's stage production of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' (2011). For his performance in 'Frankenstein,' he won ‘Critics’ Circle Theatre Award,’ ‘Evening Standard Award,’ and the ‘Oliver Award,’ achieving the ‘Triple Crown of London Theatre.’
In 2015, he acted in Shakespeare's ‘Hamlet’ at London's ‘Barbican Theatre’ and earned his third ‘Laurence Olivier Award’ nomination for his role.
Career in Television
Benedict Cumberbatch appeared on the TV show ‘Tipping the Velvet’ in 2002. He then played the role of Edward Han on the TV show ‘Cambridge Spies’ in 2003. In the same year, he also starred as Rory in the comedy drama series, ‘Fortysomething.’
He landed his first major role in television in the year 2004. He was selected to play the role of Stephen Hawking in the hit TV series ‘Hawking.’ Benedict was nominated for the ‘BAFTA TV Award’ for ‘Best Actor’ for his performance as Stephen Hawking. He also won the ‘Golden Nymph’ under the ‘Best Performance by an Actor’ category. Benedict Cumberbatch also voiced Stephen Hawking in the first episode of ‘Curiosity,’ a television drama series.
In 2005, he was offered the role of Edmund Talbot in the TV miniseries ‘To the Ends of the Earth,’ which he readily accepted. In the same year, he also made guest appearances in shows like ‘Broken news’ and ‘Nathan Barley.’
In 2007, Benedict Cumberbatch starred alongside Tom Hardy in the TV adaptation of ‘Stuart: A Life Backwards.’ The show aired on ‘BBC’ in September 2007.
In 2008, he played the lead role in the hit ‘BBC’ miniseries ‘The Last Enemy.’ His performance as the lead character earned him a ‘Satellite Award’ nomination for ‘Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film.’
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In 2009, Benedict Cumberbatch starred as Luke Fitzwilliam in the TV show ‘Maple: Murder is Easy.’ He also played the role of Bernard in the TV adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel ‘Small Island.’ His performance as Bernard earned him another ‘BAFTA Television Award’ nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actor.’
2010 was a significant year for Benedict Cumberbatch. He was cast to play the role of Vincent Van Gogh in the hit movie ‘Van Gogh: Painted with Words.’ His performance as Van Gogh was appreciated all around the world and is still revered as one of the best portrayals of the artist. In the same year, he was cast as Sherlock Holmes in the critically acclaimed TV series ‘Sherlock.’ The first season of the series was broadcast in 2010.
In 2012, Benedict Cumberbatch was cast in the ‘BBC’ and ‘HBO’ co-produced miniseries ‘Parade’s End.’ The miniseries was filmed for just five episodes and was directed by Susana White. His performance in the miniseries earned him his second ‘Emmy Award’ nomination for ‘Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV movie.’
In February 2017, Cumberbatch was cast to star in ‘Patrick Melrose,’ a miniseries adaptation of Edward St Aubyn’s novels.
He also appeared as British political strategist Dominic Cummings in ‘HBO’ and Channel 4's television film ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’ in 2019.
Career in Films
Benedict Cumberbatch appeared in ‘Atonement’ and ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ in supporting roles in the year 2007 and 2008 respectively. In 2009, he was cast as Joseph Hooker in Charles Darwin’s biopic ‘Creation.’ Joseph Hooker was Charles Darwin’s close friend.
In 2010, he was seen in two different films, ‘The Whistleblower’ and ‘Four Lions.’ ‘The Whistleblower’ is a Canadian-German-American biographical crime drama directed by Larysa Kondracki, while ‘Four Lions’ is a dark comedy directed by Chris Morris.
Benedict Cumberbatch was cast in the 2011 film ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ which is an adaptation of John le Carré’s novel. In the same year, he was cast in Steven Spielberg’s movie ‘War Horse.’
In 2012, Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Smaug and the Necromancer in the first instalment of the ‘Hobbit’ movie series: ‘An Unexpected Journey.’ He later reprised his role in the next two instalments of the trilogy, namely ‘Desolation of Smaug’ (2013) and ‘The Battle of Five Armies’ (2014).
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He played the antagonist in the movie ‘Star Trek into Darkness’ in the year 2013.
He played British cryptographer Alan Turing in the historical drama ‘Imitation Game.’ The movie released in November 2014 and earned Cumberbatch nominations at the ‘Golden Globe,’ ‘BAFTA,’ ‘SAG,’ and ‘Oscar.’ The same year, he also voiced a character in the animated movie ‘Penguins of Madagascar.’
In May 2014, he was cast in the film ‘Black Mass’ alongside Johnny Depp. In the month of August, he voiced a character named Shere Khan in the 2015 film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic, ‘The Jungle Book.’
He played the title role in the movie ‘Dr. Strange’ in the November of 2016. The movie went on to become a big hit.
He was cast as Thomas Edison in a movie titled ‘The Current War.’ Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, the movie stars Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, and Katherine Waterston in important roles. He was also cast as The Grinch for the 2018 remake of the classic story, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’
He starred as Doctor Strange in the eponymous film, which released in November 2016, and in the ‘Avengers’ franchise, such as ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018) and ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019).
His performance as Stephen Hawking in the hit TV series ‘Hawking’ was highly appreciated and earned him many awards.
His performance as Vincent Van Gogh in the hit movie ‘Van Gogh: Painted with Words’ is considered one of the best portrayals of the artist.
Awards & Achievements
Benedict Cumberbatch was awarded the 2012 ‘Olivier Award’ for ‘Best Actor’ for his performance in ‘Frankenstein.’
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Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie’ at the 2012 and 2013 ‘Emmy Awards.’ He won the award in 2013 for his exceptional performance in ‘Parade’s End.’
He was nominated for ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television’ at the 2013 ‘Golden Globe Award’ for his performance in the hit TV series ‘Sherlock.’
He was awarded the 2014 ‘Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie’ for his exceptional portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the TV series ‘Sherlock.’
Marriage & Love Life
Benedict Cumberbatch was in a relationship with Olivia Poulet for quite some time before calling it quits in 2011.
Benedict Cumberbatch announced his engagement to Sophie Hunter, an English theatre and Opera director, in November 2014. The engagement was a low-key affair. The two got married on 14 February 2015. The couple welcomed their first child in June 2015 and named him Christopher Carlton.
Benedict had a terrifying carjacking experience while filming in South Africa. He was filming for ‘To the Ends of the Earth’ (2005) when he and his fellow actors were kidnapped by a group of armed men in the wilderness. The actor was later let go by the group in a barren desert with no explanation whatsoever. Benedict Cumberbatch recited the full account for ‘The Prince’s Trust’ for which he is the brand ambassador.
He is a huge fan of Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr.
He has voiced two characters in the American TV show ‘The Simpsons.’ He voiced the UK prime minister as well as Alan Rickman for the special Valentine episode that aired in February 2013.
His real-life parents Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham played his on-screen parents in the hit TV series ‘Sherlock.’
His favorite filmmakers are Stanley Kubrick, Michael Winterbottom, Steven Soderbergh, John Hughes, and Alfred Hitchcock.
Benedict follows the Buddhist philosophy and has always expressed interest and love for the practice of meditation and mindfulness.