Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch CBE (born 19 July 1976) is an English actor and film producer who has performed in film, television, theatre and radio. The son of actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, he graduated from the University of Manchester and 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 such as Love's Labour's Lost(2001), A Midsummer Night's Dream (2001), and Romeo and Juliet (2002). He also portrayed George Tesman in Richard Eyre's revival of Hedda Gabler in 2005 and since then has starred in the Royal National Theatre productions After the Dance (2010) andFrankenstein (2011).
Cumberbatch's television work includes appearances in Heartbeat (2000), Silent Witness (2002) and Fortysomething (2003) before starring as Stephen Hawking in the television film Hawking in 2004. He has played Sherlock Holmes in the series Sherlock since 2010. He has also starred in Tom Stoppard's adaptation of Parade's End (2012), as well as providing the voices of the British Prime Minister and Severus Snape on an episode of the animated series The Simpsons (2013).
Cumberbatch's first film appearance was in the 2003 film To Kill a King and he went on to appear in the films Atonement (2007),Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), and War Horse (2011). He has starred in the films Amazing Grace as William Pitt the Younger(2006), Star Trek Into Darkness as Khan (2013), 12 Years a Slave as William Prince Ford (2013), The Fifth Estate as Julian Assange(2013) and The Imitation Game as Alan Turing (2014). From 2012 to 2014, through voice and motion capture, he played the characters of Smaug and the Necromancer in The Hobbit film series.
Cumberbatch has received numerous awards and nominations for acting including two Laurence Olivier Award nominations, winningBest Actor in a Play for Frankenstein. He has also received three Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for Sherlock. His portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. In addition, he has received six British Academy of Film and Television Arts nominations, five Screen Actors Guild Award nominations and two Golden Globe Award nominations among others. In 2014, Time magazine included him in its annual Time 100 as one of the "Most Influential People in the World". He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in June 2015 for his services to the performing arts and to charity.