Benedict Cumberbatch’s Mother Was Afraid of the MCU Star Using His Real Name: “Slaves were literally worked to death”

Benedict Cumberbatch's Mother Was Afraid of the MCU Star Using His Real Name: "Slaves were literally worked to death"
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Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the most entertaining celebrities, who has a significant fan following. The British actor has played a major role in many popular films and TV series such as The Imitation Game, Sherlock, Van Gogh: Painted with Words, and many more, including the MCU. Not only do the fans adore him for his versatility to play different roles, but also love him for his sharp and distinctive looks.

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Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch

The actor’s talent came naturally as he came from a family of actors, as both his father and mother practiced in the craft. However, despite being so talented, his mother, Wanda Ventham was worried that her son using his surname would affect his chances of being in the spotlight. While the War Horse actor almost went by an alias, he shares the reason why his parents advised their son to not use his real name.

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Benedict Cumberbatch’s Parents Advised Him To Use A Stage Name

Born to mother Wanda Ventham, and father Timothy Carlton in 1976, Benedict Cumberbatch came from a family of actors. Carlton’s resume consists of over 100 films, and some of his renowned works include Cold Comfort Farm in 1968, and Parting Shots in 1998While Ventham has over 130 films to her name, with her career beginning in 1956, and stretching all the way up to 2020. She is popular for her role in Doctor Who. 

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Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham

In the past, many prominent British families built their fortunes by exploiting slaves, and Cumberbatch’s bloodline was one of them. According to Jezebel, there is a sugarcane plantation property called Cleland Plantation in Barbados, which was owned by Abraham Cumberbatch, the great-great-great-great-great-grandfather of actor Benedict Cumberbatch, and remained in the family for about a hundred years. The plot is now a famous tourist spot, “but back in 1728, it was a prosperous sugar cane farm known for being a place of cruelty and brutality, where slaves were literally worked to death.”  

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Benedict Cumberbatch with his parents

While using an alias would not disconnect the relations or the history of the Cumberbatch family, the actor’s parents believed that it would be the best suitable option, to not get targeted by aggressors for their past. Since the actor’s parents prefer to use a stage name to introduce themselves professionally, turns out they had a very tainted past. Hence, they prefer to avoid using their surnames and even advised their son to do the same.

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Wanda Ventham Was Worried For Her Son Using His Real Name

During an interview with The New York Times, Benedict Cumberbatch shared that his mother urged him to use a stage name. In order to create a bit of padding and avoid getting confrontations from public personas for their legacy of terrors, he would be sued for his family’s actions in the past.

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“[Benedict Cumberbatch] said his mother had urged him not to use his real name professionally, fearing he could become a target for reparations suits by descendants of slaves.”

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A still from 12 Years A Slave

While Benedict Cumberbatch can not change the actions of his ancestors, he tends to repent their actions. According to Daily Mail, the Hawkings actor takes such roles so that he can “sort of apologise” for the actions of his ancestors.

“His role as a slave owner in [12 Years A Slave], as well as his part as William Pitt the Younger in Amazing Grace, a movie about slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce, attest to his sense of shame. Indeed, he said at the time of making Amazing Grace that the role was a ‘sort of apology’ for his ancestry.”

While the actor does not have to make a statement or apologize for the actions his ancestors did, there is no shame in making things right by taking up roles that can apologize to the descendants of the slaves, and help in making things right.

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Also Read: Harry Potter Star Daniel Radcliffe Enjoyed Making Japanese Schoolgirl Lose Her Consciousness: “You gotta enjoy that stuff”

Source: Jezebel

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Written by Tushar Auddy

Tushar Auddy, Junior Content Writer. He has been in the entertainment industry for 3 years and is always on the lookout for a captivating story. He is a student of Linguistics and currently pursuing his Master's degree in the same field. He has a passion for literature that runs deep and loves nothing more than getting lost in a novel for hours on end. When he isn't reading, you'll find him capturing the beauty of language.