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Surprise! 'Sherlock' Star Benedict Cumberbatch is Related to 'Sherlock Holmes' Author, Experts Reveal

Jan 04, 2017 01:20 PM EST
Benedict Cumberbatch
Experts said that John of Gaunt was Doyle's 15th great grandfather and Cumberbatch's 17th great grandfather, making the author and the actor 16th cousins twice removed.
(Photo : Anthony Devlin - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

What are the chances that the famous actor of BBC's hit TV series "Sherlock Holmes," Benedict Cumberbatch, is in fact, related to Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle? According experts from ancestry.com, the chances are high. 

Researchers from the American Ancestry company revealed that Doyle and Cumberbatch shared a common ancestor, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, fourth son of King Edward III and father of Henry IV, who died in 1339.

Tracing the family tree, the website said that John of Gaunt was Doyle's 15th great grandfather and Cumberbatch's 17th great grandfather, making the author and the actor 16th cousins twice removed.

"How rare that an actor in a major series has the chance to play a character created by a relative, especially one as iconic as Sherlock Holmes," Jennifer Utley, a family historian at Ancestry, told Reuters.

Sputnik News reports that this is not the first time that the "Sherlock" actor has been connected to the character he is portraying. Alan Turing, the famous scientist he portrayed in the movie "The Imitation Game" is also his relative.

Because of Cumberbatch's relation to the famous characters he portrayed, the researchers even joked, "What's next? Learning that Benedict Cumberbatch is the great-great-grandson of Sherlock Holmes? OK, Holmes is a fictional character, but at this rate, someone's bound to find a way."

The experts from the Ancestry website said that Cumberbatch did not send any request to trace his connection to Doyle. It was a voluntary effort from the staff as they were all fans of the "Sherlock Holmes" series.

"Making family history connections is similar to piecing together a mysterious puzzle, one that the great Sherlock Holmes himself would be intrigued to solve," Lisa Elzey, family historian at Ancestry.com, told The Hollywood Reporter.

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