At 47 years old, Benedict Cumberbatch has this physical status:
Since 2001, Cumberbatch has had major roles in a dozen classic plays at the Regent's Park Open Air, Almeida, Royal Court and Royal National Theatres. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for his role as George Tesman in Hedda Gabler, which he performed at the Almeida Theatre on 16 March 2005 and at the Duke of York's Theatre when it transferred to the West End on 19 May 2005. This transfer marked his first West End appearance.
In June 2010, Cumberbatch led the revival of Sir Terence Rattigan's After the Dance directed by Thea Sharrock at the Royal National Theatre. He played 1920s aristocrat David Scott-Fowler to commercial and critical success. The play won four Olivier Awards including Best Revival. He acted in Danny Boyle's The Children's Monologues, a theatrical charity event at London's Old Vic Theatre on 14 November 2010 which was produced by Dramatic Need.
In February 2011, Cumberbatch began playing, on alternate nights, both Victor Frankenstein and his creature, opposite Jonny Lee Miller, in Boyle's stage production of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at the Royal National Theatre. Frankenstein was broadcast to cinemas as a part of National Theatre Live in March 2011.
Cumberbatch achieved the "Triple Crown of London Theatre" in 2011 when he received the Olivier Award, Evening Standard Award and Critics' Circle Theatre Award for his performance in Frankenstein.
Cumberbatch was a part of a cast featuring members of the Royal National Theatre Company in 50 Years on Stage, the Royal National Theatre's landmark event for its 50th anniversary on 2 November 2013. He played Rosencrantz in a selected scene from Sir Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The show was directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner and was broadcast on BBC Two and in cinemas worldwide as a part of National Theatre Live.
Cumberbatch returned to theatre to play Shakespeare's Hamlet at London's Barbican Theatre. The production was directed by Lyndsey Turner and produced by Sonia Friedman, which started its 12-week run in August 2015. The performance, co-starring Sian Brooke, was broadcast by the National Theatre Company by satellite internationally as Hamlet in Rehearsal. He earned his third Laurence Olivier Awards nomination for the role.
Cumberbatch's early television roles include two separate guest roles in Heartbeat (2000, 2004), Freddy in Tipping the Velvet (2002), Edward Hand in Cambridge Spies (2003) and Rory in the ITV comedy drama series Fortysomething (2003). He also featured in Spooks and Silent Witness. In 2004, he landed his first main part in television as Stephen Hawking in Hawking. He was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor and won the Golden Nymph for Television Films – Best Performance by an Actor. He later provided Hawking's voice in the first episode of the television series Curiosity. He also appeared in the BBC miniseries Dunkirk as Lieutenant Jimmy Langley.
In 2005, Cumberbatch portrayed protagonist Edmund Talbot in the miniseries To the Ends of the Earth, based on Sir William Golding's trilogy; during filming he experienced a terrifying carjacking in South Africa, managing to escape. He made brief appearances in the comedy sketch show Broken News and the Channel 4 sitcom Nathan Barley in 2005 and featured alongside Tom Hardy in the television adaptation of Stuart: A Life Backwards, which aired on the BBC in September 2007.
In 2008, Cumberbatch played the lead character in the BBC miniseries drama The Last Enemy, earning a Satellite Award nomination for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film. In 2009, he appeared in Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: Murder Is Easy as Luke Fitzwilliam. He played Bernard in the TV adaptation of Small Island, earning him a nomination for BAFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actor. Cumberbatch featured in Michael Dobbs' play, The Turning Point, which aired as one of a series of TV plays broadcast live on Sky Arts. The play depicted an October 1938 meeting between Soviet spy Guy Burgess, then a young man working for the BBC, and Winston Churchill. Cumberbatch portrayed Burgess; Churchill was played by Matthew Marsh, who had played a supporting role in Hawking. He narrated the 6-part series South Pacific (US title: Wild Pacific), which aired from May to June 2009 on BBC 2.
In 2010, Cumberbatch portrayed Vincent van Gogh in Van Gogh: Painted with Words. The Daily Telegraph called his performance "[a] treat ... vividly bringing Van Gogh to impassioned, blue-eyed life." In the same year, Cumberbatch began playing Sherlock Holmes in the joint BBC/PBS television series Sherlock, to critical acclaim. The second series began on New Year's Day 2012 in the United Kingdom and was broadcast on PBS in the United States in May 2012. The third series aired on PBS over a period of three weeks in January to February 2014. Cumberbatch won an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for the third episode of the third series of the show entitled His Last Vow. Cumberbatch has one of the most aggressive fanbases to date, part of the 'Big Three' fandoms on the social media site Tumblr, called SuperWhoLock. In April 2015, Cumberbatch was nominated for his sixth British Academy Television Award for Best Leading Actor for the third series of the Sherlock. In 2016, he was once again nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie, this time for Sherlock: The Abominable Bride.
In 2012, he led the BBC and HBO co-produced miniseries Parade's End with Rebecca Hall. An adaptation of the tetralogy of novels of the same name by Ford Madox Ford, it was filmed as five episodes, directed by Susanna White and adapted by Sir Tom Stoppard. His performance earned Cumberbatch his second Emmy Award nomination for Best Actor in Miniseries or TV Movie. In February 2014, Cumberbatch appeared with Sesame Street characters Murray and Count von Count for PBS. In April that same year, it was announced that Cumberbatch would portray Richard III in Shakespeare's play of the same name in the second series of films for The Hollow Crown which aired in both Britain and the United States. Cumberbatch has also been a brand ambassador for Dunlop and Jaguar luxury cars since 2014.
Cumberbatch was cast in February 2017 to star in Patrick Melrose, a miniseries adaptation of the Edward St Aubyn novels, which began airing on Showtime on 12 May 2018. In 2019 Cumberbatch appeared as British political strategist Dominic Cummings (who served as the campaign director of Vote Leave, the official campaign in favour of the UK leaving the European Union) in HBO and Channel 4's television film Brexit: The Uncivil War.
In 2006, Cumberbatch played late 18th/early 19th century British parliamentarian William Pitt the Younger in Amazing Grace, a role that garnered him a nomination for the London Film Critics Circle "British Breakthrough Acting Award". In Atonement (2007), Cumberbatch played what The Guardian called one of his "small parts in big films", and came to the attention of Sue Vertue and Stephen Moffat, who would later cast him in Sherlock. In 2008 he had a supporting role in The Other Boleyn Girl, and the next year he appeared in the Charles Darwin biographical film Creation as Darwin's friend Joseph Hooker. In 2010, he appeared in The Whistleblower as well as Four Lions. He portrayed Peter Guillam, George Smiley's right-hand man, in the 2011 adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The film was directed by Tomas Alfredson and featured Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. Cumberbatch played Major Jamie Stewart in Steven Spielberg's War Horse in 2011.
In 2012, Cumberbatch provided the voice and motion-capture for both Smaug the Dragon and the Necromancer in An Unexpected Journey, the first instalment of The Hobbit series based on the novel of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien. He reprised his roles as Smaug and the Necromancer for The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014). For the motion-capture aspect of the films, he used a suit and facial markers to highlight the dragon's expressions and movements. Cumberbatch told Total Film "You just have to lose your shit on a carpeted floor, in a place that looks a little bit like a mundane government building. It was just me as well, with four static cameras and all the sensors."
In 2013, Cumberbatch appeared in J. J. Abrams' sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, as Khan, the film's antagonist. Three of the four films he featured in during the second half of 2013 premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival: The Fifth Estate, in which he played WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 12 Years a Slave, in which he played William Prince Ford, a slave owner, and August: Osage County, in which he played Charles Aiken. For the official soundtrack of the latter film, he recorded a song titled "Can't Keep it Inside".
Cumberbatch had a voice role in DreamWorks Animation's feature film Penguins of Madagascar, which was released in November 2014. He then starred in the historical drama The Imitation Game as British cryptographer Alan Turing, also released in November 2014. The role earned him nominations for the Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Academy Award for Best Actor. In May 2014, he joined the cast of the film Black Mass opposite Johnny Depp which was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Cumberbatch starred as Doctor Strange in both the eponymous film released in November 2016, in Avengers: Infinity War in April 2018, and in Avengers: Endgame in April 2019. His depiction of Strange also appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022). He starred as electricity titan Thomas Edison in the film The Current War in September 2017. In 2018, Cumberbatch voiced the title character in the film The Grinch, and provided the voice and did performance capture for the tiger Shere Khan in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, Netflix's film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, starring alongside Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett. In 2019, he appeared briefly as British Colonel Mackenzie in Sam Mendes' World War I film 1917.
In 2021, Cumberbatch starred in the drama The Power of the Dog, written and directed by Jane Campion. His performance in the film was acclaimed, and he received nominations for the Academy Award, British Academy Film Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. The same year Cumberbatch played Louis Wain, an eccentric English artist known for drawing anthropomorphized large-eyed cats, in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.
Cumberbatch has repeatedly expressed his affection for radio and has done numerous productions for the BBC. Among his best-known radio work is the adaptation of John Mortimer's novel Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders in 2009. He played Young Rumpole, and went on to play the part in nine more adaptations of Mortimer's works. Between 2008 and 2014, he played Captain Martin Crieff in the BBC Radio 4's sitcom Cabin Pressure, alongside Stephanie Cole, John Finnemore, and Roger Allam. He then went on to play the Angel Islington in the 2013 BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. In the same year, he led the BBC Radio 3 adaptation of Michael Frayn's play Copenhagen wherein he played theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg.
For the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, on 6 June 2014 Cumberbatch read the original BBC radio bulletins from June 1944 for BBC Radio 4.
Cumberbatch has narrated numerous documentaries for the National Geographic and Discovery channels. He has also read for several audiobooks, including Casanova, The Tempest, The Making of Music, Death in a White Tie, Artists in Crime, Tom and Viv, and Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories. He has done voice-overs for several commercials, including for major names Jaguar, Sony, Pimms, and Google+, performing the Seven Ages of Man monologue. For the 2012 London Olympics, he featured in a short film on the history of London, which began the BBC coverage of the opening ceremony. He made appearances for two Cheltenham Festivals, in July 2012 for Music when he read World War I poetry and prose accompanied by piano pieces and in October 2012 for Literature when he discussed Sherlock and Parade's End at The Centaur. In 2012, he lent his voice to a four-part, spoken-word track titled "Flat of Angles" for Late Night Tales based on a story written by author and poet Simon Cleary, the final instalment of which was released on 9 May 2014.
In 2012, he provided the voice of Dante Alighieri in the documentary Girlfriend in a Coma. In 2013, Cumberbatch narrated the documentary film Jerusalem about the ancient city. It was distributed by National Geographic Cinema Ventures in IMAX 3D theatres worldwide. The same year, he appeared as a special guest in a recording of Gordon Getty's opera Usher House, where he voiced the role of "the visitor", recorded and released by PENTATONE.
He narrated the documentary Cristiano Ronaldo: The World at His Feet about the Portuguese footballer for Vimeo and Vision Films in 2014. In August 2014, he recorded the first ever unabridged audiobook of William Golding's 1964 novel, The Spire, for Canongate Books.
On 28 September 2016, Cumberbatch appeared on stage with Pink Floyd member David Gilmour during one of the musician's shows in London held at the Royal Albert Hall. He sang lead vocals on the song "Comfortably Numb", singing the verse sections originally sung by Roger Waters.
Adept at impersonating others, Cumberbatch was referred to as the "New King of Celebrity Impressionists" by Vulture magazine. He has imitated celebrities on a number of chat shows, such as The Graham Norton Show on the BBC, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC, and in general interviews on channels such as MTV. His impersonations include Alan Rickman, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Tom Hiddleston, Michael Caine, Christopher Walken, Tom Holland, Bane, John Malkovich, Matthew McConaughey, Taylor Swift and Chewbacca.
Cumberbatch, Adam Ackland, writer-director Patrick Monroe, action coordinator Ben Dillon, and production manager Adam Selves launched a production company, SunnyMarch Ltd., in late 2013.
Their first project under the company's banner was the £87,000 crowd-funded short film Little Favour, written and directed by Monroe with Cumberbatch in the lead role. The 30-minute action-thriller became internationally available on iTunes on 5 November 2013. In 2022 filming began on The End We Start From, an adaptation of the Megan Hunter novel of the same name, the rights to which the company had acquired in 2017.