Benedict Cumberbatch was a working actor in England when a perfect storm transformed him into a superstar. That perfect storm included star-making appearances in Star Trek Into Darkness, in which he portrayed John Harrison/Khan Noonien Singh; Sherlock Holmes, a BBC/PBS television series which cast him as Holmes opposite Martin Freeman as Watson; and two acclaimed Royal National Theatre plays, After the Dance and Frankenstein, the latter of which found him (and Jonny Lee Smith) rotating as Victor Frankenstein and his feared creature.

Cumberbatch, who was born in London to actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, studied at the University of Manchester and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before embarking on his professional career. Early film, stage and screen credits included A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hedda Gabler, Heartbeat, Hawking, Spooks, Stuart: A Life Backwards, Small Island, Van Gogh: Painted with Words and Parade's End. More recently, he's appeared in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War House, 12 Years a Slave, the Hobbit trilogy (as both Smaug and the Necromancer), The Simpsons, Penguins of Madagascar, The Fifth Estate and The Imitation Game. He earned his first Oscar nomination for his stirring performance as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Upcoming projects include Black Mass, with Johnny Depp, the animated feature Magik, and Jungle Book: Origins, with Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale.

Off-screen, Cumberbatch is deeply involved in numerous charities, including The Prince's Trust, and he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2015. On Valentine's Day that same year, Cumberbatch married theater and opera director Sophie Hunter, and in June 2015 they announced the birth of their first child, a boy.