|Sir Patrick Stewart
Stewart at the San Diego Comic-Con International, 20 July 2013
13 July 1940 |
Mirfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
|Occupation||Actor, voice actor|
'Star Trek: The Next Generation' film series (as Captain Jean-Luc Picard)
X-Men film series (as Professor Charles Xavier)
Royal Shakespeare Company
|Television||Star Trek: The Next Generation|
Sir Patrick Stewart OBE (born 13 July 1940) is an English film, television, and stage actor, who has had a distinguished career on stage and screen. He is most widely known for his roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its successor films, as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series, his prolific stage roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and his many voice acting roles.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Filmography, theatre performances and awards
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Patrick Stewart was born on 13 July 1940 in Mirfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. He is the son of Gladys (née Barrowclough), a weaver and textile worker, and Alfred Stewart, a Regimental Sergeant Major in the British Army. He has two older brothers, Geoffrey (b. 1925) and Trevor (b. 1935).
Stewart grew up in a poor household with domestic violence from his father, an experience which influenced his later political and ideological beliefs. Stewart's father served with the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was Regimental Sergeant Major of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment during the Second World War, having previously worked as a general labourer and as a postman. As a result of his wartime experience during the Dunkirk evacuation, his father suffered from what was then known as shell shock (post-traumatic stress disorder). In a 2008 interview, Stewart said, "My father was a very potent individual, a very powerful man who got what he wanted. It was said that when he strode onto the parade ground, birds stopped singing. It was many, many years before I realized how my father inserted himself into my work. I've grown a moustache for Macbeth. My father didn't have one, but when I looked in the mirror just before I went on stage I saw my father's face staring straight back at me."
Stewart attended Crowlees Church of England Junior and Infants School. He attributes his acting career to an English teacher named Cecil Dormand who "put a copy of Shakespeare in my hand [and] said, 'Now get up on your feet and perform'". In 1951, aged 11, he entered Mirfield Secondary Modern School, where he continued to study drama. At age 15, Stewart left school and increased his participation in local theatre. He acquired a job as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer at the Mirfield & District 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. Stewart also trained as a boxer. He lost his hair at the age of 18. The traumatic experience made Stewart timid, and he found that acting served as a means of self-expression.
Early acting career (1966–1987)
Following a period with Manchester's Library Theatre, he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966, staying with them until 1982. He was an Associate Artist of the company in 1968. He appeared next to actors such as Ben Kingsley and Ian Richardson. In January 1967, he made his debut TV appearance on Coronation Street as a Fire Officer. In 1969, he had a brief TV cameo role as Horatio, opposite Ian Richardson's Hamlet, in a performance of the gravedigger scene as part of episode six of Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation television series. He made his Broadway debut as Snout in Peter Brook's legendary production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, then moved to 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 Vladimir Lenin in Fall of Eagles; Sejanus in I, Claudius; Karla in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People; Claudius in a 1980 BBC adaptation of Hamlet. He even took the romantic male lead in the 1975 BBC adaptation of Mrs Gaskell's North and South (wearing a hairpiece). He also took the lead, playing Psychiatric Consultant Dr. Edward Roebuck in a BBC TV series called Maybury in 1981.
Stewart continued to play minor roles in several films, such as King Leondegrance in John Boorman's Excalibur (1981), the character Gurney Halleck in David Lynch's 1984 film version of Dune and Dr. Armstrong in Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce (1985).
While not wealthy, Stewart had a comfortable lifestyle as an actor; he found that despite a lengthy career, his reputation was not great enough to bring a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to West End theatre. Stewart thus in 1987 agreed to work in Hollywood, after Robert H. Justman, producer for a revival of a long-cancelled television show, saw him while attending a literary reading at UCLA. Stewart knew nothing about the original show, Star Trek, or its iconic status in American culture. He was reluctant to sign the standard contract of six years but did so as he, his agent, and others Stewart consulted with, all believed that the new show would quickly fail and he would return to his London stage career after making some money.
Film and TV career
Star Trek: The Next Generation
When Stewart began his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–94), the Los Angeles Times called him an "unknown British Shakespearean actor". Still living out of his suitcase because of his scepticism that the show would succeed, Stewart was unprepared for the long hours of television production. He initially experienced difficulty fitting in with his less-disciplined castmates, stating that his "spirits used to sink" when required to memorise and recite Treknobabble. Stewart eventually came to better understand the cultural differences between the stage and television, and his favourite technical line became "space-time continuum". He remained close friends with his fellow Star Trek actors and became their advocate with the producers when necessary. Marina Sirtis credited Stewart with "at least 50%, if not more" of the show's success because others imitated his professionalism and dedication to acting.
Stewart unexpectedly became wealthy because of the show's great success. In 1992, during a break in filming, Stewart calculated that he earned more during that break than from 10 weeks of Woolf in London. From 1994 to 2002, he also portrayed Picard in the films Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002); and in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's pilot episode "Emissary", and received a 1995 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for "Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series".
When asked in 2011 for the highlight of his career, he chose Star Trek: The Next Generation, "because it changed everything [for me]." He has also said he is very proud of his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation, for its social message and educational impact on young viewers. On being questioned about the significance of his role compared to his distinguished Shakespearean career, Stewart has said that: "The fact is all of those years in Royal Shakespeare Company – playing all those kings, emperors, princes and tragic heroes – were nothing but preparation for sitting in the captain's chair of the Enterprise." The accolades Stewart has received include the readers of TV Guide in 1992 choosing him with Cindy Crawford, of whom he had never heard, as television's "most bodacious" man and woman. 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," to which Roddenberry replied, "In the 24th century, they wouldn't care."
X-Men film series
The extreme success of the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV and film franchises, and his iconic role in the series, typecast Stewart as Picard to a point where obtaining other roles had become difficult. He also found difficulty re-entering the world of the stage due to his long departure. In an undated interview on the BBC website, Stewart commented that he would never have joined The Next Generation had he known that it would air for seven years: "No, no. NO. And looking back now it still frightens me a little bit to think that so much of my life was totally devoted to Star Trek and almost nothing else."
The main exception where Stewart broke out from the role of Picard came with the X-Men film series, a major superhero film series in which Stewart plays the pivotal character of Professor Charles Xavier, a character very similar to Picard and himself; "a grand, deep-voiced, bald English guy". He has also since voiced the same role in four video games including: X-Men Legends, X-Men Legends II, and X-Men: Next Dimension. Stewart reprised his role as Professor Charles Xavier, alongside Ian McKellen as Magneto, and both their younger counterparts (played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively), in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past; it was helmed by Bryan Singer, who directed the first and second films in the series.
In 2011, Stewart appeared in the feature length documentary The Captains alongside William Shatner (who played Star Trek Captain James Kirk) – Shatner also wrote and directed the film. In the film, Shatner interviews actors who have portrayed captains within the Star Trek franchise. The film pays a great deal of attention to Shatner's interviews with Stewart at his home in Oxfordshire as well as at a Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada; Stewart reveals the fear and personal failings that came along with his tenure as a Starfleet captain, but also the great triumphs he believes accompanied his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Other film and television
Stewart's other film and television roles include the flamboyantly gay Sterling in the 1995 film Jeffrey and King Henry II in The Lion in Winter, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance and an Emmy Award nomination for executive-producing the film. He portrayed Captain Ahab in the 1998 made-for-television film version of Moby Dick, receiving Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for his performance. He also starred as Scrooge in a 1999 television film version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his performance.
In late 2003, during the eleventh and final season of NBC's Frasier, Stewart appeared on the show as a gay Seattle socialite and opera director who mistakes Frasier for a potential lover. In July 2003, he appeared in Series 02 (Episode 09) of Top Gear in the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment, achieving a time of 1:50 in the Liana. In 2005, he was cast as Professor Ian Hood in an ITV thriller 4-episode series Eleventh Hour, created by Stephen Gallagher. The first episode was broadcast on 19 January 2006. He also, in 2005, played Captain Nemo in a two-part adaptation of The Mysterious Island. Stewart also appeared as a nudity obsessed caricature of himself in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's television series Extras, as a last-minute replacement for Jude Law.
After The Next Generation began, Stewart soon found that he missed acting on the stage. Although he remained associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the lengthy filming for the series had prevented him from participating in most other works, leaving a "gaping hole" of many years in his CV as a Shakespearean actor and causing him to miss opportunities to play such notable roles as Hamlet, Romeo, and Richard III. Instead, Stewart began writing one-man shows that he performed in California universities and acting schools. One of these—a version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol in which he portrayed all 40-plus characters—became ideal for him as an actor as well, because of its limited performing schedule. In 1991, Stewart performed it on Broadway, receiving a nomination for that year's Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show. He staged encore performances in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, again for the benefit of survivors and victims' families in the 11 September attacks, and a 23-day run in London's West End in December 2005. For his performances in this play, Stewart 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. He was also the co-producer of the show, through the company he set up for the purpose: Camm Lane Productions, a reference to his birthplace in Camm Lane, Mirfield.
Shakespeare roles during this period included Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest, on Broadway in 1995, a role he would reprise in Rupert Goold's 2006 production of The Tempest as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Complete Works Festival. In 1997, he took the role of Othello with the Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.) in a race-bending performance, in a "photo negative" production of a white Othello with an otherwise all-black cast. Stewart had wanted to play the title role since the age of 14, so he and director Jude Kelly inverted the play so Othello became a comment on a white man entering a black society.
He played Antony again opposite Harriet Walter's Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the Novello Theatre in London in 2007 to excellent reviews. During this period, Stewart also addressed the Durham Union Society on his life in film and theatre. When Stewart began playing Macbeth in the West End in 2007, some said that he was too old for the role; he and the show again received excellent reviews, with one critic calling Stewart "one of our finest Shakespearean actors". He was named as the next Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre based at St Catherine's College, Oxford in January 2007. In 2008, Stewart played King Claudius in Hamlet alongside David Tennant. He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor for the part. When collecting his award, he dedicated the award "in part" to Tennant and Tennant's understudy Edward Bennett, after Tennant's back injury and subsequent absence from four weeks of Hamlet disqualified him from an Olivier nomination.
In 2009, Stewart appeared alongside Ian McKellen as the lead duo of Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), in Waiting for Godot. Stewart had previously appeared only once alongside McKellen on stage, but the pair had developed a close friendship while waiting around on set filming the X-Men films. Stewart stated that performing in this play was the fulfilment of a 50-year ambition, having seen Peter O'Toole appear in it at the Bristol Old Vic while Stewart was just 17. Reviewers stated that his interpretation captured well the balance between humour and despair that characterises the work. Stewart has also expressed interest in appearing in Doctor Who.
Known for his strong and authoritative voice, Stewart has lent his voice to a number of projects. He has narrated recordings of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf (winning a Grammy), Vivaldi's The Four Seasons (which had also been narrated by William Shatner), C. S. Lewis's The Last Battle (conclusion of the series The Chronicles of Narnia), Rick Wakeman's Return to the Centre of the Earth; as well as numerous TV programmes such as High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman. Stewart provided the narration for Nine Worlds, an astronomical tour of the solar system and nature documentaries such as The Secret of Life on Earth and Mountain Gorilla. He is also heard as the voice of the Magic Mirror in Disneyland's live show, Snow White – An Enchanting Musical. He also was the narrator for the American release of Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real. He is narrator for two fulldome video shows produced and distributed by Loch Ness Productions, called MarsQuest and The Voyager Encounters.
He also was a voice actor on the animated films The Prince of Egypt, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Chicken Little, The Pagemaster, and on the English dubbings of the Japanese anime films Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki and Steamboy. He supported his home town of Dewsbury in West Yorkshire by lending his voice to a series of videos on the town in 1999. He voiced the pig Napoleon in a TV adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm and guest starred in the Simpsons episode "Homer the Great" as Number One. Patrick also narrated the prologue and epilogue for Disney's The Nightmare Before Christmas, which also appears on the film's soundtrack. He was originally going to do the voice for Jafar in Aladdin, but couldn't finish due to scheduling conflicts.
He played a recurring role as CIA Deputy Director Avery Bullock, lending his likeness as well as his voice on the animated series American Dad! as well as making (as of 6 August 2011) eight guest appearances on Family Guy in various roles: first in "Peter's Got Woods", second in "No Meals on Wheels" when Peter likens something to when he once swapped voices with him for a day, third in "Lois Kills Stewie" as his American Dad! character Bullock, fourth in "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven" as himself, fifth in "And Then There Were Fewer" as a cat that proclaims himself a professor, sixth in "Halloween on Spooner Street" as Dick Pump, seventh in "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair" as Susie Swanson and eighth in the DVD version of It's A Trap! as Captain Picard. Stewart also appears as narrator in McFarlane's 2012 film directorial debut, Ted. In 2006, Stewart voiced Bambi's father, the Great Prince of the Forest in Disney's direct-to-video sequel, Bambi II.
He lent his voice to the Activision-produced Star Trek computer games Star Trek: Armada, Armada II, Star Trek: Starfleet Command III, Star Trek: Invasion, Bridge Commander, and Elite Force II, all reprising his role as Captain Picard. Stewart reprised his role as Picard in Star Trek: Legacy for both PC and Xbox 360, along with the four other 'major' Starfleet captains from the different Star Trek series.
In addition to voicing his characters from Star Trek and X-Men in several related computer and video games, Stewart worked as a voice actor on games unrelated to both franchises, such as Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for which in 2006 he won a Spike TV Video Game Award for his work as Emperor Uriel Septim. He also lent his voice to several editions of the Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia.
His voice talents also appeared in a number of commercials including the UK TV adverts for the relaunch of TSB Bank, Domestos bleach and Moneysupermarket.com, an advertisement for Shell fuel and an American advertisement for the prescription drug Crestor. He also voiced the UK and Australian TV advertisements for the PAL version of Final Fantasy XII.
Stewart used his voice for Pontiac and Porsche cars and MasterCard Gold commercials in 1996, and Goodyear Assurance Tyres in 2004. He also did voice-overs for RCA televisions. He provided the voice of Max Winters in TMNT in March 2007. In 2008, he was also the voice of television advertisements for Currys and Stella Artois beer. Currently, he is heard during National Car Rental television spots.
He voiced the narrator of the Electronic Arts computer game, The Sims Medieval, for the game's introduction cinematic and trailer released on 22 March 2011. He also voiced the story plaques and trailer of the MMOG LEGO Universe.
Charity work and activism
In 2006, Stewart made a short video against domestic violence for Amnesty International, in which he recollected his father's physical attacks on his mother and the effect it had on him as a child. In the same year, he gave his name to a scholarship at the University of Huddersfield, where he is Chancellor, to fund post-graduate study into domestic violence. Stewart's childhood experience also led him to become a patron of Refuge, a UK charity for abused women. In October 2011, he presented a BBC Lifeline Appeal on behalf of Refuge, discussing his own experience of domestic violence and interviewing a woman whose daughter was murdered by her ex-husband.
Stewart supports the Armed Forces charity Combat Stress, after learning about his father's post-traumatic stress disorder when researching his family genealogy for the documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?. He is Patron of the United Nations Association – UK, and delivered a speech at UNA-UK's UN Forum 2012 on Saturday 14 July 2012, speaking of his father's experiences in World War Two, and how he believed that the UN was the best legacy of that period.
Relationships and children
Stewart and his first wife Sheila Falconer divorced in 1990 after 24 years of marriage. They have two children together, son Daniel and daughter Sophia. Daniel is a television actor, and has appeared alongside his father in the 1993 made-for-television film Death Train, and the 1992 Star Trek episode "The Inner Light", playing his son.[n 1]
In 1997, Stewart became engaged to Wendy Neuss, one of the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation. They married on 25 August 2000, and divorced three years later.[n 2] Four months before his divorce from Neuss, Stewart played opposite actress Lisa Dillon in a production of The Master Builder, and the two were romantically involved until 2007.
In 2008, Stewart began dating Sunny Ozell, a singer and songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York, whom Stewart met while performing in Macbeth at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Stewart purchased a home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in August 2012, and subsequently began living there with Ozell. In March 2013, it was reported that Stewart and Ozell were engaged, and they married in September 2013, Ian McKellen performing the wedding ceremony.
Beliefs, causes, and interests
Stewart's politics are rooted in his belief in fairness and equality. He considers himself a socialist and is a member of the Labour Party. He stated, "My father was a very strong trade unionist and those fundamental issues of Labour were ingrained into me." He has been critical of the Iraq War and UK government legislation in the area of civil liberties, in particular its plans to extend detention without charge to 42 days. He signed an open letter of objection to this proposal in March 2008. Stewart is a distinguished supporter of the British Humanist Association. He also identifies himself as a feminist. Additionally, he has publicly advocated the right to assisted suicide. In January 2011, Stewart became a patron for Dignity in Dying and campaigns for an assisted dying law in the UK.
Stewart is president of Huddersfield Town Academy, the local football club's project for identifying and developing young talent. He is a lifelong supporter of the club. In an interview with American Theatre, he stated that "From time to time, I have fantasies of becoming a concert pianist. I've been lucky enough through the years to work very closely with the great Emanuel Ax. I've said to him that if I could switch places with anyone it would be with him." Stewart is also an avid car enthusiast; he is regularly seen at Silverstone during British Grand Prix weekends, and on a 2003 appearance on Top Gear set a lap time of 1 min 50 secs on the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" feature. He holds an MSA Competition Licence and competed in the 2012 Silverstone Classic Celebrity Challenge race finishing ninth, 3m02.808s behind winner Kelvin Fletcher. During 2012, Stewart met his racing hero Stirling Moss for the BBC Two documentary Racing Legends.
Having lived in Los Angeles for many years, Stewart moved back to England in 2004, in part to return to work in the theatre. In the same year, Stewart was appointed Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield and subsequently as a Professor of Performing Arts in July 2008. In this role, Stewart regularly attends graduation ceremonies in the UK and Hong Kong and teaches master classes for drama students.
Stewart was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2001 New Year Honours list, and was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to drama.
In July 2012, Stewart carried the Olympic torch as part of the official relay for the 2012 Summer Olympics and stated it was an experience he will 'never forget', adding that it was better than any movie première.
Filmography, theatre performances and awards
- Patrick Stewart's regular Star Trek character Captain Picard had no children in the series (barring an impostor in the episode "Bloodlines"). In the episode "The Inner Light", Daniel Stewart played Batai, son of Kamin, an alternate persona which Picard had unknowingly taken on for the purposes of that single episode's plot.
- In William Shatner's 2011 film The Captains, Stewart stated: "I have two major regrets, and they're both to do with the failure of – my failure in – my marriages."
- TV Guide 17–23 April 1993. 1993. p. 32.
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- Wolf, Matt (7 May 2009). "McKellen and Stewart Deliver a ‘Godot’ With a Difference". New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2009. "...the two tramps suspended in the limbo that, broadly speaking, is life. But in my extensive experience of this play, I’ve never seen a staging as attuned to the presence of mortality that underpins even Beckett's jauntiest repartee."
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- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2009.
- It's a degree Jim but not as we know it. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
- Star Trek star Patrick Stewart receives Honorary Doctorate from the UEA. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- "Patrick Stewart carries Olympic Torch". London: Guardian. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- "Honorary graduates". leeds.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
- Schulman, Michael (15 November 2010). "The Talk of the Town: The Boards: Roommates". The New Yorker 86 (36): 36–?. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Patrick Stewart.|
- Patrick Stewart at the Internet Broadway Database
- Patrick Stewart at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Patrick Stewart at the Internet Movie Database
- Patrick Stewart at the TCM Movie Database
- Patrick Stewart at AllMovie
- Patrick Stewart on Twitter
- Trek star's space travel unease BBC interview
- Interview with Sue Lawley on Desert Island Discs
- "Hardtalk Sir Patrick Stewart". BBC. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
- "Family Detective" 12 January 2007 Daily Telegraph. A genealogy of Patrick Stewart's family from 1851
- Patrick Stewart interview (www.independent.co.uk)
- Patrick Stewart at Emmys.com