Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Patrick Stewart (born July 13, 1940) is a famous British film and television actor best known for his roles in Shakespearean and science fiction productions. His bald head and classically trained vocal mannerisms are his trademarks. He was born in Mirfield, Yorkshire, England.
His first appearance on stage was at a local outdoor history pageant as Tom Of Towngate when he was 9 years old. At the age of 12, he entered the local Secondary Modern School where he continued to study drama. He has said that "the greatest thing that ever happened to me" was after he read Shylock aloud in front of his class and his teacher told him, "Stewart, you're good at this. You should do it for a living."
At 15, he dropped out of school and increased his participation in local theatre. He acquired a job as a news paper reporter, but after a year, his employer gave him an ultimatum to choose acting or journalism. He quit the job. His brother tells the story that Stewart would attend rehearsals during work time and then invent the stories he reported. Supposedly, this caught up with him the night of a large fire of which, when questioned by his boss, he knew nothing about.
At 16 he was a furniture salesman, and at 17, he registered in the Bristol Old Vic. He lost most of his hair by the age of 19 (alopecia runs in his family), but he successfully sold himself to theatre producers, after performing an audition with and without a wig, as "two actors for the price of one!". In 1964 he met the Old Vic's choreographer Sheila Falconer and they married in 1966 March 4. They were to have two children, Daniel Freedom Stewart and Sophie Alexandra Stewart, and divorce in 1990.
He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 and then the Royal National Theatre in the early 1980s. Over the years, Stewart took roles in many major television series without ever becoming a household name. He appeared as Sejanus in I, Claudius; Karla in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People; Claudius in a 1980 BBC adaptation of Hamlet and took the romantic male lead in the BBC adaptation of Mrs Gaskell's North and South (wearing a hairpiece).
Diehard fans will recognize him in a minor role as King Leondegrance in John Boorman's Excalibur (1981). He played the character Gurney Halleck in David Lynch's 1984 film version of Dune. Much of his part was cut from the original release of the film due to editing made to make the immensely long film shorter. Much of this footage was restored on the television broadcast of the film on Fox Television.
In 1987 Stewart went to Los Angeles to star as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994). From 1994 he also portrayed Picard in the movie spin-offs Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). In 1997 he was engaged to Voyager production assistant Wendy Neuss and they married in 2000 August 25, to later divorce in 2003 October 14. His life was substantially changed by Star Trek, and he has been quoted as saying:
- "It was almost entirely a blessing. It introduced me to a world I never expected to be a part of — celebrity, fame, financial success. It also gave me the chance to work with the finest group of people I've ever known."
The accolades included being called the "Sexiest Man on Television" one year in the 1990s, which considered an unusual distinction considering his age and his baldness. In an interview with Michael Parkinson, he expressed gratitude for Gene Roddenberry's riposte to a reporter who said, "surely they would have cured baldness by the 24th century":
- In the 24th century, they wouldn't care.
Stewart has said that at this point in time, another Star Trek film with the Next Generation cast is unlikely.
In 1991, he performed his one-man-play adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in which he performed the roles of all of the 40-plus characters himself. His radiant energy and marvelous performance was repeated the following year in 1992 and then 1993, 1994, 1996 and then again, to benefit September 11th charities in 2001. For his performances in this play, he has received the Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance in 1992 and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for Solo Performance in 1994.
Stewart has also starred in X-Men and X2 as Professor Charles Xavier and the film's success has appeared to have resulted in another lucrative regular role in the burgeoning superhero film series. Most recently, he has signed up to play the role of Professor Alan Hood, the lead character in the forthcoming ITV science-fiction thriller series The Eleventh Hour, created by Stephen Gallagher .
Although he has had a tremendous amount of success doing films, he loves the theatre more. He once said "Ingmar Bergman was once asked which he preferred and he said, 'I love making movies, but the theatre is my life.' That exactly sums it up for me, too."
Stewart is currently the chancellor of the University of Huddersfield. He is probably the most famous supporter of Huddersfield Town Football Club, following in the footsteps of former British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Stewart is a lifelong supporter of the British Labour Party.
Stewart was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2001 New Years' Honours list.
- PatrickStewart.org - The Patrick Stewart Network (official fan club).
- The stage as a safe haven An interview with Patrick Stewart by Richard Ouzounian, published by the Toronto Star on November 25, 2003.
- Picard has no time for space Globe and Mail piece in which Stewart says, "I would like to see us get this place right first before we have the arrogance to put significantly flawed civilizations out onto other planets — even though they may be utterly uninhabited."
- Trek star's space travel unease BBC interview
- German Tribute Page
- Interview with Sue Lawley onDesert Island Discs
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