Today is the 19th of July, which means only one thing in the Cumbercollective: Benedict Cumberbatch’s birthday. For those outside the loop, Cumberbatch (now 37) stars as the eponymous character in the BBC hit show Sherlock and was the insanely relentless villain John Harrison in Star Trek Into Darkness. He is one of the biggest rising stars in the past 5 years and is set to take over our cinema, television and laptop screens in the near future. And with his growing legion of Cumberbabes, it won’t slow down any time soon.
To celebrate Benedict’s birthday here are 19 facts about Mr. Cumberbatch:
1. He was born on July 19th 1976 in London to actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham.
2. He was privately educated in Harrow School as a teenager which was mostly funded by his grandmother.
3. After school he took a gap year to teach English at a Tibetan monastery.
4. His debut acting performance was in a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Titianna Queen of the Fairies at the age of 13. His school drama teacher called him “the best schoolboy actor I’ve ever worked with”.
5. He studied drama at University of Manchester and London Acadamy of Music and Dramatic Art. Though many predicted he had academic potential in Oxford or Cambridge but apparently wasted it by discovering “Pot, girls and music” and “got lazy”
6. His first critically acclaimed role was his portrayal of the young Stephen Hawking getting to grips with the big bang theory and his motor neuron disease in Hawking of which he received his first BAFTA nomination in 2004.
7. One of his first reviews for his role as Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream saying that “Cumberbatch’s “Bottom” will be long remembered.”
8. In 2005, while filming To The Ends Of The Earth in South Africa, he experienced a terrifying car jacking experience, of which he wrote about for The Prince’s Trust charity.
9. Despite receiving support roles in Starter For Ten, The Other Boleyn Girl and Atonement, he received his big break in the modern BBC adaptation of Sherlock, based on the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, in 2010.
10. For his audition for the role of John Harrison in Star Trek Into Darkness, he filmed his screen test at his best friend’s kitchen using an iPhone and sent it to the director JJ Abrams via email.
11. He is an ambassador for the charity The Prince’s Trust, which aims to help disadvantaged young people in the UK, and is a supporter of Dramatic Need which promotes creative expression as a tool for conflict resolution, social development, gender empowerment, and the assimilation of health messages in underprivileged communities.
12. He has a condition called heterochromia which is a difference in colouration in his irises, each has a different combination of blue, green and gold.
13. Is friends with many actors that he has worked with including Martin Freeman, Tom Hardy, James McAvoy, Johnny Lee Miller, Tom Hiddleston and Gary Oldman.
14. He accidentally got a dual voice role for The Simpsons when he visited Fox studios for an unrelated reason. He voiced the UK prime minister (Hugh Grant from Love Actually style) and Severus Snape in the episode Love Is A Many Splintered Thing.
15. For the London 2012 Olympics, he did a short film on the history of London for the BBC coverage to kick off the opening ceremony.
16. He has done voiceover work for several commercials including Jaguar, Pedigree and Google+.
17. He has been the winner of an Olivier award and named GQ Actor of the Year 2011 as well as being nominated for 3 BAFTAs, an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
18. He has been voted “Sexiest Man Alive” in tabloid newspaper The Sun two years in a row. Not only that, he was 5th in Glamour magazine’s “Sexiest Men 2012” and 3rd in Total Film magazine’s 50 hottest actors 2013. And this is due to his loyal fanbase that he has named “The Cumbercollective”.
19. He originally planned to study law in college, to the advice of his parents. (Good thing he changed his mind)
(Credits: IMDB, Wikipedia, The Sun, Glamour Magazine)