He is the voice of a dragon, plays genius detective Sherlock Holmes and has a fan following that would make his "Star Trek Into Darkness" character jealous and now, Benedict Cumberbatch has nabbed one of the most prestigious pop culture honors -- he has been named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People."
The list was revealed on April 23. The 37-year-old British actor joins the likes of fellow celebrities Beyonce, who graces the issue's cover, "SNL" star and NBC talk show host Seth Meyers, "House of Cards" actress and "The Princess Bride" alum Robin Wright and Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, Miley Cyrus and Steve McQueen, who directed Cumberbatch in the Oscar-winning movie "12 Years A Slave." (Watch a video of Benedict Cumberbatch walking the red carpet at the Oscars, below.) They are all listed in the "Artists" category.
Fellow British star Colin Firth, who won an Oscar for "The King's Speech," penned an article about Cumberbatch in Time, explaining why he deserves to be among this year's "100 Most Influential People." He calls Cumberbatch, who starred with him in the 2011 thriller " Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," an " alarmingly talented English star" and recalls working with the actor's parents, who were also actors, when he was 25 years old.
"Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton both embodied qualities which one is fogyishly tempted to look at with nostalgia," Firth said. "Along with very considerable talent, they had elegance, glamor, wit, kindness and decency. I didn't know at the time that they were married or that they had a son of about 10 who was quietly gestating all the same attributes. And now, 30 years later, the boy has been let loose. He has taken the form of Benedict Cumberbatch."
Cumberbatch, who was featured on the cover of Time magazine in 2013 (watch a behind-the-scenes video of his cover shoot, below), had told OTRC.com in an interview last year, in reponse to a question submitted by a fan on Twitter, that his parents were his biggest inspirations (check out the interview with Benedict Cumberbatch - includes videos).
Benedict Cumberbatch "must be stopped," Colin Firth jokes
Cumberbatch is the only child Ventham and Carlton share. His parents acted together on the British shows "A Family At War" and "The Lotus Eaters" in the 1970s and played their son's character's parents on the most recent season of "Sherlock." (See photo, below) Ventham and Firth both starred in the 1986 miniseries "Lost Empires" and Carlton appeared with him in the 1988 TV movie "Tumbledown."
"His parents' qualities are on rampant display, It's rare to the point of outlandish to find so many variables in one actor, including features which ought to be incompatible: vulnerability, a sense of danger, a clear intellect, honesty, courage -- and a rather alarming energy. I take no pleasure in feeling humbled, but there's no getting around it," Firth added about Cumberbatch, joking: He must be stopped."
Cumberbatch, who studied drama at the University of Manchester and also trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, made his onscreen debut in the BBC TV movie "Fields of Gold" in 2002. In addition to "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," he later starred in Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" and nabbed the ongoing role that made him famous internationally -- Sherlock Holmes in BBC's "Sherlock."
He also gained popularity in the United States after playing the villain Khan in J.J. Abram's 2013 summer hit "Star Trek Into Darkness" and provides the voice of Smaug the Dragon in the "Hobbit" movies -- a part he reprises in the new third film, whose name was recently changed to "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."
The second film, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," "Star Trek Into Darkness" and two other movies featuring Cumberbatch, "August: Osage County" and "12 Years A Slave," were all nominated for Oscars earlier this year. The latter film took home the award for Best Picture (see Benedict Cumberbatch and others reacting to the win in our Oscars 2014 - 17 Best Moments gallery).
It was announced in March that in 2015, Cumberbatch will play the title role in William Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" in his native London.
(Pictured above: Benedict Cumberbatch appears at the Oscars in Hollywood, California on March 2, 2014. / Colin Firth appears at the premiere of "The Railway Man" in New York on April 7, 2014. Credit: Lionel Hahn / AbacaUSA / Dave Allocca / Startraksphoto.com)