Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch (born 19 July 1976) is an English actor. A graduate of the Victoria University of Manchester, he continued his training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, obtaining a Master of Arts in Classical Acting. He first performed at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park in Shakespearean productions and made his West End debut in Richard Eyre’s revival of Hedda Gabler in 2005. Since then, he has starred in the Royal National Theatre productions After the Dance (2010) and Frankenstein (2011). In 2015, he played William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre.
Cumberbatch’s television work includes appearances in Silent Witness (2002) and Fortysomething (2003) before playing Stephen Hawking in the television film Hawking in 2004. He has starred as Sherlock Holmes in the series Sherlock since 2010. He has also headlined Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Parade’s End (2012), The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (2016) and Patrick Melrose (2018). In film, Cumberbatch has starred in Amazing Grace (2006) as William Pitt the Younger, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) as Khan, 12 Years a Slave (2013) as William Prince Ford, The Fifth Estate (2013) as Julian Assange and The Imitation Game (2014) as Alan Turing. From 2012 to 2014, through voice and motion capture, he played the characters of Smaug and the Necromancer in The Hobbit film series. In superhero films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has played Dr. Stephen Strange in Doctor Strange (2016), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Cumberbatch has received numerous accolades, including the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for Frankenstein and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for Sherlock. His performance in The Imitation Game earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. In 2014 Time magazine included him in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2015 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire.