Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch, born July 19, 1976, is an English actor who has performed in film, television, theater and radio. Cumberbatch graduated from the University of Manchester and continued his training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, obtaining a Master of Arts in Classical Acting. Take a look below for 30 fun and interesting facts about Benedict Cumberbatch.
1. He first performed at the Open Air Theater, Regent’s Park in Shakespearean productions and made his West End debut in Richard Eyre’s revival of Hedda Gabler in 2005.
2. Cumberbatch has starred in the Royal National Theater productions After the Dance and Frankenstein.
3. In 2015, he played William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Barbican Theater.
4. Cumberbatch’s television work includes appearances in Silent Witness and Fortysomething before playing Stephen Hawking in the television movie Hawking in 2004.
5. He has starred as Sherlock Holmes in the series Sherlock since 2010.
6. Cumberbatch has headlined Tom Stoppard’s adaption of Parade’s End and The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses.
7. In film, he has starred in Amazing Grace as William Pitt the Younger, Star Trek Into Darkness as Khan, 12 Years a Slave as William Prince Ford, The Fifth Estate as Julian Assange and the Imitation Game as Alan Turning.
8. From 2012 to 2014, through voice and motion capture, he played the characters of Smaug and the Necromancer in The Hobbit movie series.
10. Cumberbatch has received many awards and nominations for acting including three Laurence Olivier Award nominations, winning Best Actor in a Play for Frankenstein.
11. He has received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for Sherlock.
12. His performance in The Imitation Game earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
13. In 2014, Time Magazine included him in its annual Time 100 as one of the Most Influential People in the World.
14. He was born at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in the White City district of West London’s Hammersmith and Fulham borough, to actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham.
15. He has a half-sister, Tracy Peacock, from his mother’s first marriage.
16. His grandfather, Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, was a submarine officer of both World Wars, a prominent figure of London high society.
17. His great-grandfather, Henry Arnold Cumberbatch, was Queen Victoria’s consul general in Turkey and Lebanon.
18. Cumberbatch met professor Stephen Hawking twice before filming the Hawking movie 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.
19. He attended Harrow, one of the oldest, most-respected and expensive all-male boarding schools in the United Kingdom.
20. Cumberbatch experienced a terrifying carjacking in South Africa while filming To the Ends of the Earth. He wrote about the experience in an article for The Prince’s Trust for which he is ambassador.
21. His character Sherlock Holmes’ warm relationship with Mrs. Hudson is influenced by Cumberbatch’s own real-life relationship with Una Stubbs, as she’s good friends with his mother and she has seen him grow up.
22. He’s a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr., with whom he shares the iconic role of Sherlock Holmes.
23. He lost a notable amount of weight for his role as Sherlock Holmes, his goal being to portray Holes as a character with such high intelligence that it manifests itself in a physical, “mind-over-matter” sort of way.
24. One of his first ever acting roles was playing Titania, Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was 13 years old.
25. During his gap year, before studying Drama in Manchester University, he spent some time volunteering as an English teacher at a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Darjeeling, India. The pupils were mostly Tibetans.
26. He painted oil canvases and was a member of the rugby team while he was studying at Harrow.
27. He unexpectedly got dual voice roles on The Simpsons when he visited Fox’s studio for a completely unrelated appointment. He voiced the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister and did an Alan Rickman impression to voice Snape for the Special Valentine Episode that aired February 2013.
28. Cumberbatch always wanted to pursue acting, however, he entertained the idea of a law degree because of how hard his parents worked to give him an education. When he discovered that law was just as competitive, he decided to go with his passion.
29. He is fond of extreme sports like skydiving, hot-air ballooning, scuba diving and snowboarding.
30. On the day before filming the pilot of Sherlock, his hair turned green due to the dye used to turn his hair black. Thankfully, his hair was fixed and the filming went on as planned.