The name Benedict Cumberbatch is enough spark anyone’s attention. Whether you have seen him solely in Sherlock or claim yourself to his adoring fan club; the Cumbercollective as Cumberbatch likes to call them, it goes without saying that this British thespian is world-renowned, and quite charming. But what makes this 37-year old, seemingly normal British man suddenly an international phenom?
Let’s start from the beginning. Benedict Cumberbatch was born as the son of two actors: Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham. Growing up, he knew he wanted to act and Cumberbatch told the Washington Post, “I knew when I started out that I wanted something very different from what Mom and Dad had anyway, but I didn’t know quite what — I didn’t know how it would manifest — but even they look at it and go, ‘Whoa.’”
“It’s beyond everyone’s sort of expectation. But also the workload and everything, it’s different to their game.”
Throughout his professional career, Cumberbatch has juggled on-screen acting with theatre performances; something all British icons seem to be doing nowadays. From 2000-2005, Cumberbatch performed in countless plays at theaters such as the Royal Court Theatre as well as the Royal National Theater. At this same time, Cumberbatch was in a few television shows and movies including one of his most renowned in 2004, Hawking, where Cumberbatch portrayed Stephen Hawking, a role that would put him on the books and win him a Golden Nymph for Television Films – Best Performance by an Actor.
From 2005-2010, Cumberbatch was in many theatre productions as well as film roles but nothing stood out quite like his 2010 portrayal as Frankenstein in the Royal National Theater’s production of Frankenstein. Cumberbatch marks this as “the turning point when the phone started ringing. It hasn’t stopped.”
But then came the role that would change his life forever. In 2010, Cumberbatch premiered on BBC’s Sherlock as the newest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes. He was cast in the role after producers saw his performance on stage in Frankenstein. Sherlock seemed to be the “gateway” for Cumberbatch into Hollywood’s limelight. Cumberbatch went on to star in countless box office hits such as War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and his most recent re-occurring role in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. It seems as though the once infamous Benedict Cumberbatch is living the dream of any aspiring actor/actress.
But aside from his astounding acting skills and his deep, somewhat irresistible voice, Benedict Cumberbatch seems to leave a mark on everyone he speaks to as well as people he has never met, his fans.
I believe it is safe to say that Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the most intriguing actors of our time. While still in school, Cumberbatch took a gap year to spend time teaching English in a Tibetan monastery, something that most Hollywood actors cannot add to their resume. Cumberbatch is also involved in many charities including The Prince’s Trust that helps disadvantaged young people of the UK as well as the Motor Neuron Disease Association and many more where he can be found donating his own drawings frequently for charity auctions. Cumberbatch can be seen below participating in The Prince Trust marathon to raise money for charity.
So maybe it is his acting skills combined with his heart that his millions of fans adore so much about the actor and I would say the love is mutual. In speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Cumberbatch said this of his fans adoration; “It’s extraordinary, really, and a little unnerving. I do feel that it has to be acknowledged, and I know that feeds the whole thing, but I’m a human being, and I have to acknowledge that they are so devoted and committed, and by and large intelligent and, for the most part, normal.”
He also continues to please his fans with his charm and chivalry. Upon being asked about his preference on his fan club name, Cumberbatch stated, “Women need to take pride in their collective identity. I know it’s a silly fan name and I know it’s just for fun but you know the one I don’t like [Cumberbitches] because it’s counter productive to feminism in general. I prefer the idea of something softer like ‘Cumber Collective’.
From incredible acting and crowd pleasing, Benedict Cumberbatch encompasses the whole package of a successful actor and we cannot wait to see how the rest of his career unfolds but we are sure that he will continue to be a household name for years to come.
You can currently see Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock on PBS Masterpiece as the season 3 finale wraps up Sunday, February 2nd in the US or buy the season on DVD in the UK.
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