Benedict Cumberbatch is known for his work on screen and stage, receiving various accolades. The actor, whose full name is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch, was born on July 19, 1976, in London. His parents are actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham. Benedict’s ancestors acquired properties in Barbados in 1728 for at least 200 years, and they used enslaved people for labor. One of their plantations enslaved 250 people and was the main source of the Cumberbatch family’s considerable wealth at the time — they were one of the richest families in Britain.
There has been speculation that the Barbados National Task Force on Reparations might consider seeking reparations from families such as the Cumberbatches. The actor claims that by the time he was born, most of the family’s money has run out and that he grew up “definitely middle class.” Barbados′ officials have since rebuked those speculations and called them a “Campaign of deceptive and misleading British ‘yellow journalism’” (sensationalism over facts). Benedict has more ties with royalty, being King Richard III’s third cousin 16 times removed. Though it is a long way away from being closely related, the actor portrayed him in 2012’s The Hollow Crown series.
Benedict’s Work as an Actor
While in school, Benedict was involved in numerous Shakespearean works and made his acting debut as Titania, Queen of the Fairies, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was 12. His first leading role in theater was as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion. For ten years, starting in 2001, Cumberbatch was highly involved in award-winning theater productions and won many awards himself. In 2004, he landed his first main role in television as Stephen Hawking in Hawking. By 2010, he began portraying the role of Sherlock Holmes in the television series Sherlock to critical acclaim. Sherlock ran for two seasons.
Though the English actor has mostly been involved in British-produced works, he has also been a part of many critically acclaimed films. He’s played minor roles in the latter aughts in films like Atonement (2007), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and The Whistleblower (2010). Now, we know him for his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Doctor Strange. See below our picks for Benedict Cumberbatch’s five best films.