Benedict Cumberbatch’s Family Made Their Wealth From Slavery

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch is an English actor born in 1976.

He is famous for his acting performances and has been nominated and awarded various times for his incredible performances on screen and on stage.

Let us look at whether Benedict Cumberbatch was born rich. The actor has a ghost from his family’s past that constantly casts a shadow on his career.

Benedict Cumberbatch was born rich

He is from a privileged family since his parents are actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham.

Benedict went to the Harrow School, which charges more than $45,000 per year, and due to his posh upbringing, he confessed that directors were reluctant to cast him in roles that portrayed him as anything other than wealthy.

He admitted to being brought up in a privileged family and said this affected his conduct.

He stated that being a posh actor meant he could not run away from the class-typing.

He realized that even though he was not interested in making a class specialty from the roles he got, he acted in roles that made him appear asexual or sociopathic.

The Cumberbatch Family’s Dark History

The superstar once revealed he was horrified by his family’s dark past.

When filming Amazing Grace, he admitted he acted in the movie to sort of apologize on behalf of his ancestry for engaging in the slave trade.

When he acted in 12 Years of Slavery, a film about slave abolitionist William Wilberforce, he stated it showed how shameful he felt.

The actor also said that his mother told him not to use his real surname when he started acting since it would make him a target for reparation claims by the descendants of the slaves their family mistreated.

Even though he tries to avoid the subject, the matter usually reappears in unexpected situations.


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There was a time an African-American, Wanda Cumberbatch, was appointed transport commissioner of New York City and the press were quick to point out her unique surname.

She stated that she and the actor were related but not by blood since her ancestors adopted the name from their slave masters after they were freed.

Further investigations into the actor’s family history and one will find tales of swashbuckling slavery, greed, and cruelty.

A chapter in their history talks about a sex scandal in which one of his ancestors fathered a child after an affair with one of the female slaves.

Ironically, this was portrayed in 12 Years of Slavery when it detailed the abusive relationship between slave master Edwin Epps played by Michael Fassbender, and a slave known as Patsey, acted by Lupita Nyong’o.

Cumberbatch’s Family Ventured into Other Occupations After Slavery Was Abolished

As for the actor’s family line, they disposed of their ownership in Barbados island in the periods after the end of slavery.

They received £6,000 as compensation from the government for losing their ‘human property.’

By 1913 during a census of the place, the family did not own a single plantation. Benedict’s great grandfather, Robert, and his grandson, Henry, would shift their attention to a different part of the empire.

They became British consuls in Turkey.

Henry’s firstborn son, also known as Henry, became a naval commander, and his son, Timothy, is Benedict’s dad.

Whatever happens, the actor’s family history will always remain vivid in some of the areas of the island.

A walk into the island, particularly the property they owned, one will still find a map of the plantation that belonged to them on a farmhouse on the island.

Many locals are fascinated to know that one of the descendants of the slave owners is a high-profile actor who acted in movies about slavery.