I Only Just Realised Who Benedict Cumberbatch's Parents Are, And They're Pretty Famous

I had no idea...
Jun Sato via Getty Images

You might know Benedict Cumberbatch for his role in everything from Sherlock to The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.

But if you’re anything like me, you probably never knew that his mum and dad, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton Congdon Cumberbatch (who goes by Timothy Carlton), are pretty successful actors ― and even played Sherlock’s parents in the BBC TV series.

Born in Reading, his dad has appeared in countless TV shows, from Keeping Up Appearances to Next of Kin, where he played Hugh. His on-screen career began in the early ’60s.

Meanwhile, Wanda Vantham (the actor’s mother) starred in a wide range of shows from UFO to Doctor Who.

Turns out Benedict’s parents didn’t want him to become an actor (at first)

As if finding out who the Doctor Strange actor’s parents are wasn’t enough of a shock, it turns out that they were surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) far from keen on their son’s choice of career.

Speaking to Claire Foy for a 2018 episode of Variety’s Actors on Actors, Benedict said, “Dad was working nonstop partly to pay for an education to basically pull me into line with the idea that it was madness to be peripatetic, not being able to plan your family holidays, not knowing where your next income is going to come from.”

“All the uncertainty which was on display in their lives, our lives. And yet they managed to squirrel away enough for a ludicrously expensive education, that was purely to make me see sense and become a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, something of use to society,” he added.

But he noted that after having seen his son play Salieri in Amadeus while at university, Benedict’s dad told him, “You’re better at this than I ever was or ever will be. I can’t wait to watch you and support you in what I think is going to be a fantastic career.”



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