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People in Film | Benedict Cumberbatch

Posted October 14, 2011 to photo album "People in Film | Benedict Cumberbatch"

From school plays to playing Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch has combined a shrewd intelligence with a sense of wonder and enthusiasm. These two qualities come together perfectly in his performance in TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.

Benedict Cumberbatch | The Inside Man
Benedict Cumberbatch | Early Stages
Benedict Cumberbatch | Small-Screen Sherlock
Benedict Cumberbatch | ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Benedict Cumberbatch | Early Stages

Benedict Cumberbatch | Early Stages

Cumberbatch at Harrow

London-born Benedict Cumberbatch is the son of actors Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton (who's real last name is Cumberbatch). From an early age, Cumberbatch was drawn to the theatre and to the spotlight. In an interview with London Theater, he recalled being “a very bossy Joseph in the Nativity play at primary school. Apparently I pushed Mary offstage because she was taking too long.” Hoping to provide him with alternatives to the stage, his parents sent him to the elite boarding school Harrow, with hopes he might pursue the law. "I got the idea of becoming a lawyer by watching Rumpole of the Bailey," he told USA Today. But real-life lawyers proved less romantic than his fictional models. "I started meeting people they throw at you to put you off — these worn, vampiric-looking creatures who hadn't seen daylight for a long time. I thought, 'Wow, I'm thinking of becoming a lawyer because it's more sensible?'" At all-male Harrow, he had to settle for playing female roles (he was Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Rosalind in As You Like It), yet it did little to dissuade him. After studying at Manchester University and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, he found an agent and quickly established himself as a gifted stage performer.