The year of 1976 in England forever marked the history with some very impressive athletic achievements–football fans had a good time, and the Brits were a grand success at the Olympics. British and Icelandic ships clashed in a Cod War, Princess Margaret had some second thoughts about her prolonged marriage, and Big Ben suffered an internal stroke that led it to a nine- month vocation.
But those things are not what that summer is most remembered for. The summer of 1976 was the hottest summer on record for more than 350 years! And in case you were wondering why, we have our suspicions. It was the midsummer when one family of actors became one baby happier, when London welcomed little Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch into the world.
Growing up in a family of actors, initially rooted in a British consul, related to a decorated submarine officer and even an astronaut, Benedict was destined for mingling in high societies with expectations of a promising future. He was educated in “the other place. Hogwarts, that’s right,” which everyone else simply calls the Harrow School, and he made his theatrical début in A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was only 13.
Apart from making one look like a “walking nob,” being “very weird” and “a privilege” (with floating candles and wizards), “Hogwarts” provided an immense foundation in Benedict’s career, as his drama teacher called him “the best schoolboy actor I’ve ever worked with.”
Being also involved in rugby and oil canvas painting, he was unexpectedly successful in his GCSE exams, but taking time for typical “teenage discoveries,” he took it easy during his final year at Harrow. Following a very serious year-long gap of teaching English in a Tibetan monastery, The University of Manchester and The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art hosted Benedict for his continuation of studies.
Starting from 2001, Benedict starred in more then a dozen world-renowned theatres like Royal National Theatre, Almeida Theatre, Open Air Theatre and The Royal Court. Some of his best known performances feature the role of Tesman in Hedda Gabler and (both) Victor Frankenstein and his creature in Frankenstein.
Benedict is perhaps best known for his work onscreen, like his recent role as John Harisson in Star Trek Into Darkness, Stephen Hawking in Hawking, Major Jamie Steward in Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse, and Vincent Van Gogh in Van Gogh: Painted with Words, not to mention the most fan-beloved BBC TV Series Sherlock, where he stars as Sherlock himself alongside “poor little Bilbo” as Doctor Watson.
In the series, Benedict managed (at the hand of director Steven Moffat) to transition Sherlock Holmes from the edge of the 19th and 20th centuries to our present 21st with utter brilliancy, having to memorize dozens of pages of the script to be delivered in Sherlock’s rapid fire speech.
After the beginning of his career on television he was showered by nominations for awards, winning the following for Best Actor: TV Choice Awards for Sherlock, Crime Thriller Awards for Sherlock, Critics Choice Television Awards for Frankenstein, Oliver Award and Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Frankenstein, Golden Nymph for Hawking, and many others, being nominated for Bafta, Primetime Emmy, and even the “Actor of The Year” by GQ UK Magazine.
Of course, fans await with anticipation the day when our Terrible Dragon puffs that first word out of his reptilian muzzle in a deep soothing voice of a “Cumbersmaug.”
The day may come when Samug The Terrible begins his conversation with The Hobbit, but it is not this day! And the day may come when he spreads his wings above Lake Town, but it is not this day! This day we celebrate our Dragon’s 37th birthday!