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Benedict Cumberbatch Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (45) | Personal Quotes (32)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 19 July 1976Hammersmith, London, England, UK
Birth NameBenedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch
Nickname Ben
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch was born and raised in London, England, UK. His parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton (Timothy Carlton Congdon Cumberbatch), are both actors. He is a grandson of submarine commander Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, and a great-grandson of diplomat Henry Arnold Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch attended Brambletye School and Harrow School. Whilst at Harrow, he had an arts scholarship and painted large oil canvases. It's also where he began acting. After he finished school, he took a year off to teach English in a Tibetan monastery. On his return, he studied drama at Manchester University. He continued his training with a one-year course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. By the time he had completed his studies, he already had an agent.

Benedict has worked in theatre, television, film and radio. His breakthrough on the big screen came in 2004 when he portrayed Stephen Hawking in the television movie Hawking (2004). He was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actor for his performance. In 2010, he became a household name as Sherlock Holmes in the British television series Sherlock (2010); receiving his third BAFTA nomination. In 2011, he appeared in two Oscar-nominated films - War Horse (2011) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). He followed this up with acclaimed roles in the science fiction action film Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and the dramas 12 Years a Slave (2013), The Fifth Estate (2013), and August: Osage County (2013), as well as starring as Alan Turing in 2014's The Imitation Game (2014).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Kad

Trade Mark (5)

Rich baritone voice
Piercing blue-green eyes
Sharp cheekbones
Often portrays posh upper-class figures
Usually plays highly-intelligent and gifted characters

Trivia (45)

Received his Master's degree in Classical Acting for the Professional Theatre at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), United Kingdom's oldest drama school.
Met Professor Stephen Hawking twice before filming Hawking (2004) to prepare for the role. He then subsequently provided the voice of the physicist in "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking" in 2010 and "Stephen Hawking's Grand Design" in 2012 which both aired in Discovery Channel.
Son of actor Timothy Carlton and actress Wanda Ventham.
Attended Harrow, one of the oldest, most-respected and expensive all-male boarding schools in the United Kingdom.
He experienced a terrifying carjacking in South Africa while he filmed To the Ends of the Earth (2005). He wrote about the experience in an article for The Prince's Trust.
His character Sherlock Holmes' warm relationship with Mrs. Hudson is influenced by Cumberbatch's own real-life relationship with Una Stubbs, as she is good friends with his mother and she has seen him grow up.
Is a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr. with whom he shares the iconic role of Sherlock Holmes.
Lost a notable amount of weight for his role as Sherlock Holmes, his goal being to portray Holmes as a character with such high intelligence that it manifests itself in a physical, "mind-over-matter" sort of way.
Good friends with Jonny Lee Miller, with whom he shared the central roles of Frankenstein and his creature in Danny Boyle's stage production National Theatre Live: Frankenstein (2011) in 2011. Coincidentally, Miller was cast as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary (2012) and Cumberbatch has been playing the legendary detective in Sherlock (2010) since July 2010.
One of his first ever acting roles was playing Titania, Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" when he was 13.
During his gap year, before studying Drama in Manchester University, he spent some time teaching English at a Tibetan monastery.
Painted oil canvases and was a member of the rugby team while he was studying at Harrow.
In 2012, he won a Laurence Olivier Award, London Evening Standard Award and Critics' Circle Award for his performance in Danny Boyle's stage production of "Frankenstein" at the Royal National Theatre wherein he played Victor Frankentein and his creature in alternating nights.
In 2005, he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing Jørgen Tesman in Henrik Ibesen's play entitled "Hedda Gabler".
Famous for his Alan Rickman impressions.
He received one of his earliest reviews when he played Nick Bottom in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The review says "Cumberbatch's 'Bottom' will be long remembered".
He accidentally got dual voice roles in The Simpsons (1989) when he visited Fox's studio for a completely unrelated appointment. He voiced the UK's Prime Minister (patterned from Hugh Grant's character in "Love, Actually") and did an Alan Rickman impression to voice Snape for the Special Valentine Episode that aired February 2013.
Became very good friends with Gary Oldman on the set of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).
His grandfather, Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, was a decorated submarine officer of both World Wars and a prominent figure of London high society.
His great-grandfather was Queen Victoria's Consul General in Turkey, Henry Arnold Cumberbatch who was a member of the Order of St. Michael and St. George for his services to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.
Has numerous connections outside the franchise to fellow Star Trek cast members. He played Stephen Hawking, who had previously played himself on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). He shares the role of Sherlock Holmes with both Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Plummer. Cast member Karl Urban appeared in the last two Lord of the Rings films, while Cumberbatch appears in the prequel trilogy based on The Hobbit.
Three of his roles have connections to Leonard Nimoy. Obviously, Nimoy originated the role of Mr. Spock. He also played Sherlock Holmes on stage, and in the 1970s, released a song called "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins".
According to ancestry.ca, he is related to famed astronaut Chris Hadfield.
He originally wanted to pursue law in university.
Has a condition called heterochromia iridis, the "groovy" mutation that his friend James McAvoy describes in X-Men: First Class (2011). There's a difference in coloration in his irises, each has a different combination of blue, green and gold.
In 2013, he was included in Entertainment Weekly's New Hollywood feature which listed the "Top 50 Coolest, Most Creative Entertainers Blowing Up TV, Movies, Music and Books".
His female fans were originally known as "Cumberbitches", but are now known as the "CumberCollective" because he objected to the original name.
Fond of extreme sports like skydiving, hot-air ballooning, scuba diving, skiing and high-speed motorcycling.
His voice has been creatively described by a journalist as a "jaguar hiding in a cello". According to a film critic, his voice is "so sepulchrally resonant, that it could have been synthesized from the combined timbres of Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Alan Rickman holding an elocution contest down a well". The "jaguar hiding in a cello" comparison apparently also clicked with the creative people at Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC. Cumberbatch voiced several commercials for Jaguar cars.
In 2013, he was ranked fifth place in the "Most Fascinating People in Britain" list of Tatler magazine, ranking higher than the Duchess of Cambridge and just below Queen Elizabeth II.
He was the cover star of The Hollywood Reporter's "New A-List" issue in September 2013.
Ranked #1 in Empire magazine's "100 Sexiest Movie Stars" in 2013.
Known for donating his own drawings and sketches for charities and fundraisers.
Graced the cover of Time magazine in October 2013.
His parents Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham also played his character's parents on Sherlock (2010).
Four out of five films in which he appeared in 2013 received Oscar nominations: 12 Years a Slave (2013), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), August: Osage County (2013) and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013).
As of 2014, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Atonement (2007), War Horse (2011) and 12 Years a Slave (2013), with the latter winning in the category.
In March 2014, Cumberbatch was included in The Sunday Times' "100 Makers of the 21st Century" list citing him as the "next Sir Laurence Olivier".
In April 2014, Time magazine included Cumberbatch in its annual TIME 100 as one of the "Most Influential People in the World".
In an interview, Julie Andrews named Cumberbatch as one of the actors she is fond of.
One of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. [April 2014]
Has played two villains named "Khan": Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and the voice of tiger Shere Khan in Jungle Book: Origins (2016).
Has mostly English ancestry, with small or distant amounts (to varying degrees) of Dutch, Cornish, French, German, Scottish, Swedish, Welsh and Swiss-French ancestry.
Posted a video of himself accepting the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to raise research funds for ALS, also known as "Lou Gerhig's Disease". Gerhig is not the only famous person to suffer from this disease: it also affects Stephen Hawking, whom Cumberbatch has played.

Personal Quotes (32)

On Stephen Hawking: He's such a presence and you have to really know what you want to say to him or ask him because it takes such a huge, phenomenal effort for him to communicate with you. You think, "I really don't want to waste this man's time." I was myself rather than thinking, "I'm a stupid actor; how on earth can I impress someone like this? I don't know what to say to make me feel worthy of playing this man.".
Cumberbatch - it sounds like a fart in a bath, doesn't it? What a fluffy old name. I can never say it on a Monday morning. When I became an actor, Mum wasn't keen on me keeping it.
I am very flattered. I have also become a verb as in "I have cumberbatched the UK audience" apparently. Who knows, by the end of the year I might become a swear word too! It's crazy and fun and very flattering.
It's the standard actors' joke - "What are you doing after this?" "Oh, if Spielberg doesn't call then I'm going to go on holiday." But a week after I'd said that, I got the call to say I had the job. It's one of those moments you never forget - I just fell off my chair. Which is not a good start to the horseriding.
[on being invited by Madonna to her London home to discuss playing Duke of Windsor (aka "Edward VIII") in W.E. (2011)] I'd whizzed round on my bike and thought we were going to have a read-through and a chat, but she wanted a full-on dress rehearsal... So I ended up in a suit and tie with Madonna operating the camera herself.
[on initially using his father's stage name "Carlton"] When I started, I just assumed I couldn't be called Benedict Cumberbatch... but then, one day, I told someone in the business what I was really called and they said, "That's great, that's something you can use to stand out.".
[on his Sherlock (2010) series] It's a rare challenge, both for the audience and an actor, to take part in something with this level of intelligence and wit. You have to really enjoy it. It's a form of mental and physical gymnastics.
I've been very lucky at what's happened in my career to date, but playing something as far from me as possible is an ambition of mine - anything from a mutated baddy in a comic book action thriller, to a detective. If anything, I'd like Gary Oldman's career: he's the perfect example of it. I've love to have a really broad sweep of characters - to be able to do something edgy, surprising and unfashionable. (May 2005)
[on Martin Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins] It was great. I got to hang out with him, and I kept a straight face for a bit and then I started giggling because I know Martin, I don't know Bilbo. For Martin to be sitting there playing Bilbo is amazing. He's going to be amazing, he's going to be fantastic in this film.
[on Sherlock (2010) fan-fiction] I suppose my bodily proportions are quite flattering. I'm ripped, doing something I wouldn't normally do with my body, or having done to it, involving Watson. So that's as far as I'll hit about that one, but it's all there on the Web if you want to find it. I was amazed at the level of artistry; people have spent hours doing it. And there's some really weird cross breeding stuff that goes on. The news got out that I was playing Smaug in "Hobbit" and suddenly there were lots of dragons with purple scarves flying around so it's crazy, it's crazy.
[on declining to reprise his much-acclaimed role in "After the Dance" on Broadway] I've never really made a head-over-heart decision like that before but there's a bit of momentum and I'd like to keep myself available for films. (September 2011)
I've seen and swam and climbed and lived and driven and filmed. Should it all end tomorrow, I can definitely say there would be no regrets. I am very lucky, and I know it. I really have lived 5,000 times over. (May 2013)
[on his role in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)] I don't really believe in good and evil. I don't really believe in heroes and villains. His reasons for what he does are quite profoundly persuasive. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and the fact that he's a shadow self of Kirk - same coin, different sides - is what makes him interesting to play.
[his advice from co-star Meryl Streep] I asked her how she approached the multiple layers of her part. And she said, "I don't know. I don't have a process. It changes with every job, doesn't it?" And I thought, "Oh, thank God, to hear her say it. This whole thing about technique or method? It's bullshit." People say, "Oh, you're so precise." But within that I work very hard to give every part a heartbeat. I learned a lot from just watching Meryl in repose. It was a bit like a Sherlock deduction actually.
[his would-be response to Julian Assange about movie portrayal of him] Well, somebody is going to do it, wouldn't you rather it's someone who has your ear, who could steer the film to a place that's more accurate or balanced? The tabloid image of him, what he fears is going to be promoted - that weird, white-haired guy wanted for rape - is so far from what we did.
[on his Hobbit character] It was publicized that I 'voice' Smaug, and I thought, "Fucking hell. My voice, my motions - I worked my arse off to create that dragon!".
I can tell you I'm a huge fan of Downton Abbey (2010) and what I said was quite, quite clearly - to most intelligent New York Times readers - a joke. [on the comments he made about Downton Abbey (2010) on the New York Times]
Sometimes as an actor you're looking for the infinite. If you can hold that, if you can remember that in the chaos, [it will] anchor you and give you grace and ease.
Worst thing about my profession? The press, obviously. Don't write that, eh?
[on Downton Abbey (2010), interviewed on "Reader's digest", 16 August 2012] We're remembering that there was a world before the First World War. We're living in a culture now that's revering, or having a nostalgia trip with, the beginning of the 1900s. Although Downton traded a lot on the sentiment in the last series... but we won't talk about that series because it was, in my opinion, f***ing atrocious.
[on being abducted in South Africa in 2005] 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 slightly less ordinary.
I don't live beyond my means. I enjoy luxury and I enjoy the privilege of it, when I can afford it, and I'm in the situation where it's been given to me, but I'm very conscious of what is wasteful.
I've always had an eye on longevity; I've got loads more goals to achieve. It's not like I've completely conquered the whole thing. That's a lifetime's objective, not an overnight thing.
[on delivering a successful performance] It's rather like a sportsman, where you hit a sweet spot and think, "Oh, that felt good." You don't necessarily know why it is. It's pretty fleeting, and I guess that's how it should be, because the minute you try to hold on to it, it's too precious, and you start to try to reinvigorate the ghost of what you've done rather than keep evolving it.
Every time I'm seen at a bar with a girl, I get photographed. Anyone who has a computer knows my entire dating history. I get it. Paparazzi is an inescapable, immovable obstacle.
The rule of law is being overrun so fast, eroding our civil liberties in a way that fundamentalists could possibly cherish. Yet there is a very real threat, for the other liberty that we could have taken away is our life, at any point, through the act of terrorism. I think intelligence services have really struggled post-Iraq with credibility, and I feel for them to a certain degree. They are trying to protect our right to exist.
I've never been an activist, but I've always been politically aware. I protested against budget cuts and cuts to education. I marched against the Iraq war. All that protesting was just swept aside to pave the way for an illegal war, and the results of that war were made very, very plain by those leaked war logs.
[on The Hobbit] Growing up, my dad read it to me, and it was a real treat, a feast for a child's imagination. He did an amazing Smaug, and hobbits, and Gandalf as well - it's the audiobook that will never exist.
The only thing that may unite all forms of acting in a sense is no matter what preparation you do, no matter what transformative process you go through, you are always yourself. You are always inside your own skin - you are who you are no matter what the actions of the movement or the effect. You have to have an essential element of you, and that is also what is in the present. Once you're in the present and you're not worried about the wig, or the special-effects suit, or the dialogue, or the accent, or the moral responsibility, when you are lost in the moment and you're in the present is when the stuff that's really good comes on screen. Until that point, you've put in a lot of hard work to then let go, and all of us experience moments - and they're rare in every job I find - where you feel free of any kind of self-consciousness.
[on Alan Turing's Royal Pardon] The only person that should be pardoning anybody is him. Hopefully, the film will bring to the fore what an extraordinary human being he was and how appalling (his treatment by the government was). It's a really shameful, disgraceful part of our history.
Hollywood-style stardom was never my goal, yet it seems to be happening due to particular projects. I don't seek. I don't avoid. I just follow my path, doing my best.
[on his look] It's the blessing of having a weird face - somewhere between an otter and something people find vaguely attractive.

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