Benedict Cumberbatch Biography

Benedict Cumberbatch is a British screen actor, best known for his role on the BBC television show Sherlock.


Benedict Cumberbatch, born in London in 1976, is a British screen actor best known for his role in the BBC television show Sherlock. He has also appeared in Hollywood films such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Star Trek: Into the Darkness and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He has won several stage and screen acting awards and received both Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for his role in the acclaimed 2014 Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game.

Early Years

Hailing from London, Benedict Cumberbatch was born with theater in his blood. His parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, were well-known television actors when they had their son on July 19, 1976. Despite their success, they tried to steer young Benedict away from the stage and sent him to Harrow public school, where he had been awarded an arts scholarship.

At Harrow, he displayed an interest in rugby and painting, but it was theater that captured his imagination. Under the mentorship of Martin Tyrrell, Cumberbatch's first role was as Titania, Queen of the Faeries, in the William Shakespeare play A Midsummer's Night Dream. Cumberbatch left Harrow, spent a year teaching English in Tibet, and then returned to England to study drama at the University of Manchester. After graduation, he spent a year at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Professional Success

Cumberbatch began his career with roles in classic plays and small television shows. In 2004, he portrayed a young Stephen Hawking coping with the early stages of motor neuron disease. Cumberbatch's performance earned him a BAFTA nomination. His first film was the 2006 college comedy Starter for 10. A year later, he appeared in the film Atonement and played opposite Tom Hardy in the TV movie Stuart: A Life Backwards.

In 2010, the BBC aired a modern adaptation of the story of Sherlock Holmes, which won widespread praise and granted stardom to Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock. Martin Freeman plays Holmes's sidekick, Dr. Watson.

In 2011, Cumberbatch seemed locked in a Hollywood trajectory with roles in the Cold War thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Steven Spielberg's World War I drama, War Horse. But he continued to appear on the London stage, this time in Danny Boyle's Frankenstein. The role required him to alternate playing Victor Frankenstein and playing his monster on opposite nights, and earned him an Olivier Award for Best Actor jointly with his co-star Jonny Lee Miller.

In the 2012 film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Cumberbatch provided the voice for the Necromancer, and the dragon, Smaug. He also played the villain in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek sequel, Star Trek: Into the Darkness (2013). Cumberbatch's film career continued to thrive in 2013 with such films as Steve McQueen's true life drama 12 Years a Slave. He also stars in The Fifth Estate (2013), playing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

In 2014, Cumberbatch won his first Emmy after three nominations for his lead role in PBS' Sherlock, a modern take on the classic detective. The same year he starred in the WWII drama The Imitation Game as trailblazing mathematician Alan Turing. Cumberbatch earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for the role.

In 2016, Cumberbatch took on the role of Marvel comic book hero Dr. Stephen Strange, playing the lead role in the blockbuster hit Dr. Strange

Personal Life

Cumberbatch dated Olivia Poulet on and off for many years before calling it quits for good in 2011. The pair had met at the University of Manchester. 

In November 2014, Cumberbatch became engaged to director Sophie Hunter. The under-the-radar and understated announcement ran in England’s Times newspaper. The couple tied the knot on February 14, 2015, on the Isle of Wight and welcomed their first child, son Christopher Carlton, that June.

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