Wil Wheaton

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This article is about the actor and writer. For the musician, see Will Wheaton.
Wil Wheaton
6.29.13WilWheatonByLuigiNovi1.jpg
Wil Wheaton at the 2013 Wizard World New York Experience Comic Con in Manhattan
Born Richard William Wheaton III
(1972-07-29) July 29, 1972 (age 42)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, writer
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Anne Prince (m. 1999)
Children Two stepsons, one being legally adopted[1]
Website
www.wilwheaton.net

Richard William "Wil" Wheaton III (born July 29, 1972) is an American actor, blogger and writer, known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me, Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers, and for his recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Early life[edit]

Wheaton was born July 29, 1972 in Burbank, California, to Debbie (née O'Connor), an actress, and Richard William Wheaton, Jr., a medical specialist.[2][3] He has a brother, Jeremy, and a sister, Amy. Both appeared uncredited in the episode "When the Bough Breaks" of Star Trek: The Next Generation.[citation needed] Amy also appeared alongside her brother in The Curse.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Acting[edit]

Wheaton made his acting debut in the 1981 television film A Long Way Home, and his first cinema role was as Martin Brisby in the 1982 animated film The Secret of NIMH, the movie adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. He had a minor role in the 1984 movie The Last Starfighter as Louis' friend but it was cut.[citation needed] He first gained widespread attention in 1986 as Gordie Lachance in Stand by Me, the film adaptation of Stephen King's The Body.[citation needed]

Star Trek[edit]

From 1987 to 1990, he played Wesley Crusher in the first four seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This became a recurring role later in the series. Although his Star Trek character, and by extension Wheaton himself, was disliked by a vocal group of Trekkies during TNG's first run, he commented about his critics in an interview for WebTalk Radio:

Later, I determined that the people who were really, really cruel – like the Usenet weenies – really are a statistically insignificant number of people. And I know, just over the years from people who've e-mailed me at my web site and people who I've talked to since I started going to Star Trek conventions again in the last five years, that there are so many more people who really enjoyed everything about the show, including my performance, including the character.[4]

Wheaton's popularity among Star Trek fandom is covered in a number of web comics. ArcaneTimes of March 25, 2005 offers a sympathetic position.[5] Something Positive presents a range of opinions as part of the storyline Mike's Kid.[6] Abstruse Goose tries to distinguish between the character and the actor.[7]

Post-Star Trek[edit]

In 1991, he played Joey Trotta in the action film Toy Soldiers. After leaving Star Trek, Wheaton moved to Topeka, Kansas, to work for NewTek, where he helped to develop the Video Toaster 4000, doing product testing and quality control.[8][9] He later used his public profile to serve as a technology evangelist for the product.[10] Wheaton said this was a period of growth in his life, and living away from Los Angeles helped him deal with anger issues. He came back to Los Angeles, attended acting school for five years, then re-entered the acting world.[11][12] In the late 1990s, Wheaton appeared in several independent films, including the award-winning The Good Things, in which he portrays a frustrated Kansas tollbooth worker. It was selected Best Short Film at the 2002 Deauville Film Festival.[citation needed] He received the Best Actor award at the 2002 Melbourne Underground Film Festival for his performance in Jane White Is Sick & Twisted.[citation needed]

Voice work[edit]

Wheaton at W00tstock 2.4 in San Diego, July 2010.

He has worked as a voice actor in cartoons, video games, audiobooks, and anime, beginning with the role of young Martin Brisby in The Secret of NIMH at age 10. His most noteworthy credits include the roles of Aqualad in the cartoon Teen Titans, the voice of radio journalist Richard Burns in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Kyle in the Nickelodeon cartoon, Kyle + Rosemary, himself and various other characters on both Family Guy and Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, the second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, on Batman: The Brave and the Bold in the episode "Fall of the Blue Beetle!", Yakumo in Kurokami: The Animation, Menma in Naruto, Hans in Slayers Evolution-R and Aaron Terzieff in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. He appeared as himself in a skit on nerdcore rapper MC Frontalot's 2008 album Final Boss attempting to be a rapper, whose rhymes only involved shellfish. He later collaborated with Frontalot on "Your Friend Wil", a track from the 2010 album Zero Day on the subject of Wheaton's Law, which states "don't be a dick"[13][14] (the phrase was in use before Wheaton's blog post).[15] Wheaton and Frontalot have both appeared at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX). Wheaton has also narrated a number of bestselling audiobooks, mostly in the science-fiction and fantasy category, including Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Wheaton also exists in the novel's universe, described as being joint President, along with Cory Doctorow, of the virtual world Oasis, which is the setting for much of the book), Redshirts by John Scalzi, and books 6–10 of the Chronicles of Amber series by Roger Zelazny.

TV and web series guest appearances[edit]

He was a contestant on a 2001 episode of The Weakest Link featuring Star Trek actors attempting to win money for charity. Wheaton's had guest appearances on the November 23, 2007 episode of the TV series Numb3rs, and the October 22, 2008 episode of the series Criminal Minds. He has also appeared in Internet presentations, including a cameo in a comedy sketch ("Lock Out") for LoadingReadyRun[16] (and a reprise of the same the following year in CommodoreHustle 4), and the May 30, 2008 episode of the Internet series Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show. Wheaton appears in seasons three, four and five of the web series The Guild as Fawkes, the leader for a rival guild known as Axis of Anarchy.[17] He also appears in seasons two, three and four of the TV series Leverage, as rival computer hacker Colin "Chaos" Mason, antagonist to Leverage team hacker Alec Hardison. He makes regular appearances in many web productions for Geek & Sundry, including hosting Tabletop, a board game based show on the channel.

He appeared as a fictionalized version of himself in several episodes of situation comedy The Big Bang Theory, starting in the fifth episode of the third season "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary" (2009). On the show, Wheaton behaves in comically petty and manipulative ways towards main character Sheldon Cooper, who regards him an archenemy until the fifth season episode "The Russian Rocket Reaction", when they make amends and become friends.

Wheaton appears in twelve episodes in a recurring, guest-starring role on Eureka, playing Dr. Isaac Parrish, the head of the Non-Lethal Weapons Lab at Global Dynamics and a thorn in Fargo's side.[18]

Live shows[edit]

Wheaton has performed improvisational and sketch comedy at the ACME Comedy Theater in Hollywood. He has a traveling sketch comedy/improv troupe called "EarnestBorg9" that performs science fiction-related comedy at conventions. Wheaton is one of the three headline acts of the w00tstock shows, appearing in nearly all of them when his filming schedule has allowed[citation needed].

Hosting[edit]

From September 2006 to September 2007, he hosted a Revision3 syndicated video podcast called InDigital along with Jessica Corbin and veteran host Hahn Choi. Wheaton hosted a NASA video on the Mars Curiosity rover which landed on Monday August 6, 2012.[19] He has also hosted "2nd Watch," interviews with cast members and producers of the science-fiction series Falling Skies that appears on-line after each episode.[20]

On April 3, 2014, Wheaton announced on his blog that his new show called The Wil Wheaton Project would premiere on the SyFy network at 10pm on May 27 for an initial projected run of twelve episodes.[21][22]

Writing[edit]

Wheaton runs his own blog, Wil Wheaton Dot Net. Between 2001 and late 2004, he operated a message board, known as "The Soapbox" or "Paracosm", as part of the blog site. Two collections of writings taken from postings to the message board have been published, titled Boxer Shorts (ISBN 1-932461-00-0) and Boxer Shorts Redux (ISBN 1-932461-03-5). He contributes regularly to the Los Angeles-based Metroblogging site. In June 2005, he became that month's featured Tech writer for the SuicideGirls Newswire.[23] He had a monthly column, entitled "Wil Save," in the Dungeons & Dragons-based magazine Dungeon, until May 2005. From January 2005 to October 2006, he wrote a column for The Onion AV Club about early video games, called "Games of Our Lives." On December 12, 2008, he returned to his role as Geek in Review editor,[clarification needed] with his editorials being published every second Wednesday of the month.

Wil Wheaton (left) meets Tim O'Reilly at the 2003 booksigning of Dancing Barefoot at Powell's in Portland, Oregon.

In early 2003, he founded the independent publishing company Monolith Press and released a memoir entitled Dancing Barefoot. Monolith Press was "founded on the idea that publication should not be limited by opportunity."[24] Most of the entries are extended versions of his blog entries. Dancing Barefoot sold out three printings in four months. In winter 2003, Wheaton signed to publisher Tim O'Reilly with a three-book contract. O'Reilly acquired Dancing Barefoot, and published his extended memoirs, Just a Geek, in summer of 2004. He has since written about his bitterness regarding how the book was marketed, believing it was pitched as a Star Trek book when he intended it as more of a personal memoir.[25] Subsequently in 2007, his next book, "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" was again published by Monolith Press.

With the release of Sunken Treasure: Wil Wheaton's Hot Cocoa Box Sampler in February 2009, instead of using traditional publishing, Wheaton decided to self-publish using Lulu Publishing, releasing paperback and digital copies, something he has continued to do with all his publications since. As a chapbook, Sunken Treasure contains several small extracts of various different projects, including two short stories from Ficlets, an ACME comedy sketch, William's Tell and a Criminal Minds production diary. The production diary was later released as an audiobook. Later that same year, Wheaton released Memories of the Future: Volume 1, a humorous critique, as well as an account of Wheaton's own experiences with and memories, of the first thirteen episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Closing up 2009, Wheaton published a special edition of "The Happiest Days of Our Lives", which also included an afterword by his son, Ryan.

The Happiest Days of Our Lives and Sunken Treasure were also released on a Creative Commons license.

Politics[edit]

Wheaton described himself as a liberal in 2005.[26] In September 2006, he criticized George W. Bush's antiterrorism plan: "Shame on President Bush. Shame on his Republican allies in Congress, and shame on the spineless, cowardly Democrats who did not stand up to them."[27] In a column that he wrote for Salon.com in 2005, The Real War on Christmas, Wheaton attacked conservative commentators like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity for influencing the political views of his parents, with whom Wheaton found himself unable to have political discussions during family get-togethers on holidays like Christmas.[26] Wheaton's parents were very offended by the article, and he posted a lengthy apology on his site and an interview in which his parents clarified their political views.[28]

On August 24, 2007, he gave the keynote for the yearly Penny Arcade Expo, which was subsequently made available online.[29] He stepped in following a public battle between the formerly-scheduled keynote debate participants, noted anti-games activist Jack Thompson and Hal Halpin, the president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA). Much of Wheaton's address focused on the debate over violence in video games. He also gave the keynote at PAX East 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. He supported Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election[30] and opposed Proposition 8, calling it "nothing but hate and discrimination".[31]

Games[edit]

In 2003, Wheaton mentioned his love for the game of poker on his blog. The following year, he began writing more extensively about his poker-playing experiences, including stories about playing Texas hold 'em tournaments locally and in Las Vegas. Eventually, he worked up to regular play, including a run at the 2005 World Poker Tour Championships. On June 23, 2005, Wheaton accepted an invitation to join Team PokerStars.[32] He went on to play in that year's World Series of Poker and was the guest speaker for the 2005 BARGE Banquet. In June 2007, he announced he would no longer be on Team Pokerstars due to changes in the U.S. legal system that would cause poker sites to have to focus on European and Asian markets[33] and held a farewell Pokerstars tournament on June 5, 2007, which he titled So Long and Thanks for All the Chips.[34]

Wheaton is a Dungeons & Dragons player,[35] and played during the PAX 2010 event using the 4th edition rules. Wheaton, along with webcartoonists Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade, and Scott Kurtz of PvP, played in front of a live audience. The game was hosted and recorded by Wizards of the Coast with Chris Perkins as the dungeonmaster.[36] Wheaton also played D&D 4th edition at the PAX 2011 event using the 4th edition rules, and used the D&D Next play test rules at PAX Prime 2012. Wheaton also hosts the web series TableTop, where he explains how to play various card, board and dice games, then plays a round with celebrity guests.[37] Wheaton will also be starring in the forthcoming Kickstarter-funded game There Came an Echo by Iridium Studios.[38]

Comic book[edit]

Wheaton made a guest appearance as a fictionalized version of himself in the comic book PS 238, in which he harbors the power of telekinesis. Wheaton's debut comic book The Guild: Fawkes which he wrote alongside Felicia Day was released on May 23, 2012.[39]

Audiobooks[edit]

Wheaton has recorded several of his non-self-published books as downloadable audiobooks. These include Just a Geek, Dancing Barefoot, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, and his Criminal Minds diary from Sunken Treasure. He also released excerpts of Memories of The Future: Vol 1 as free podcasts. He has also narrated several audiobooks by other authors, including Ready Player One by Ernest Cline,[40] Masters of Doom by David Kushner,[41] Fuzzy Nation and Redshirts by John Scalzi[42] (and other Scalzi works), Peter and Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham,[43] and "Byways", part of METAtropolis: Cascadia by Tobias Buckell.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Wheaton was roommates with Chris Hardwick for some time at UCLA.[11][45] They met at a showing of Arachnophobia in Burbank, California.[11] Wheaton married Anne Prince on November 7, 1999[46] and lives in Arcadia, California with her and her two sons from a previous relationship.[47] When one son was 19, he asked Wheaton to legally adopt him, which he did.[1]

Wheaton is an aficionado of computers, the Internet and technology in general. He says he is drawn to alternatives like Linux because he is left-handed, though he ceased using Linux when he switched to Windows 2000.[47] Since at least 2003, his operating system of choice has been OS X, though he still runs Linux (Debian) in a virtual machine.[48] He also enjoys brewing his own beer at home,[49] and collaborated with Fark creator Drew Curtis and Stone Brewing Co. CEO Greg Koch to create a geek-themed stout beer called Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout.[50]

Wheaton is also a major longtime fan of the Los Angeles Kings ice hockey team and can often be found at the Staples Center at both regular season and playoff games.[51] Wheaton is also a "die-hard" fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers and has gone to many games at Dodger Stadium.[52]

Filmography and other mass media works[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

Internet videos[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2006–2007 Revision3 InDigital
2007 LoadingReadyRun
2008 Retarded Policeman #5: Writers Strike[54]
2009–2011 The Guild Fawkes, Axis of Anarchy leader
2012–present TableTop Self/Host
2013 Kris and Scott's Scott and Kris Show #10: Ties Kris's father

Video games[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wheaton, Wil. "Welcome new homebrewer, Wil Wheaton". Reddit. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Genealogy". Roots Web. Ancestry. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Wil Wheaton Biography (1972–)". Film reference. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  4. ^ "From Star Trek: Next Generation to Geek Blogger", Web talk guys, archived from the original on December 24, 2008 .
  5. ^ "Arcame Times". Comic. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved July 7, 2011. 
  6. ^ Something positive, September 28, 2006 Something positive, September 30, 2006 .
  7. ^ "Life Imitates Art required reading at The Academy". Abstruse Goose. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  8. ^ Rabin, Nathan (November 20, 2002), "Wil Wheaton", The A.V. Club (interview) .
  9. ^ "Wil Wheaton", Conversations with GoD, Geeks of Doom, May 29, 2008, retrieved May 2, 2009 .
  10. ^ "Flying Toasters", Wired 2 (5) .
  11. ^ a b c Wil Wheaton (podcast) (63), Nerdist, Nov 2011, 8 min, retrieved December 18, 2012 .
  12. ^ Wheaton, Wil (2004). Just a geek: unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly. p. 9. ISBN 0-596-00768-X. 
  13. ^ Wakelin, Nicole (2012-02-22), On Explaining Wheaton's Law 
  14. ^ PAX FTW, 2007-08-27, "I think I may just go ahead and make it my new motto: Wil Says, "Don't be a dick!" . . . or something. I'm working on it." 
  15. ^ CmdrTaco (1999-09-09), Slashdot Moderation, Slashdot, archived from the original on 1999-10-12, "As the bumper sticker says... "Don't be a dick."" 
  16. ^ "Lock Out", Loading ready run, December 14, 2007, retrieved June 4, 2012 .
  17. ^ "Guild videos". Bing. MicroSoft. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Wil Wheaton to Guest-Star on Eureka". TV Guide. 
  19. ^ NASA (video gallery), April 28, 2010, retrieved December 18, 2012 .
  20. ^ http://www.fallingskies.com/watch/2nd-watch
  21. ^ Announcing The Wil Wheaton Project
  22. ^ Syfy Greenlights Twelve Half-Hour Episodes of 'The Wil Wheaton Project'
  23. ^ "New Writers for SuicideGirls Newswire". Suicide girls. June 3, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  24. ^ "About". Monolith Press. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  25. ^ Wheaton, Wil (February 3, 2006), "Punch a hole in the sky", Wil Wheaton Dot Net in Exile, Type pad, retrieved March 3, 2009 .
  26. ^ a b Wheaton, Wil (December 22, 2005), "The real war on Christmas", Salon, retrieved July 29, 2007 .
  27. ^ Wheaton, Wil (September 28, 2006), "A statement of conscience", Wil Wheaton Dot Net in Exile (Type pad), retrieved July 29, 2007 
  28. ^ Wheaton, Wil (December 29, 2005), "Nothing is more important than family", Wil Wheaton Dot Net in Exile, retrieved July 29, 2007 .
  29. ^ Penny arcade expo (MP3) (keynote address), 2007 .
  30. ^ Wheaton, Wil (Nov 2008), One last time, Type pad .
  31. ^ Wheaton, Wil (Nov 2008), Californians: Vote NO on Prop 8, Type pad .
  32. ^ "Wil Wheaton Joins Team Pokerstars", Poker Stars Blog, June 2005 .
  33. ^ Wheaton, Wil (June 1, 2007), "So long, and thanks for all the chips", Wil Wheaton Dot Net in Exile, retrieved July 29, 2007 .
  34. ^ Wheaton, Wil (June 5, 2007), "Reminder: Final WWdN poker tourney is tonight", Wil Wheaton Dot Net in Exile, retrieved July 29, 2007 .
  35. ^ Pascale, Anthony (January 21, 2009). "Wil Wheaton Talks Geeking Out at Phoenix Comic Con w/TNG Co-stars + more". Trek Movie. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  36. ^ "2010 Pax Celebrity Game". Wizards. 
  37. ^ "TableTop". Geek & sundry (homepage). 
  38. ^ "There Came an Echo by Iridium Studios". Kickstarter. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Fawkes", The Guild, Dark Horse Comics, May 23, 2012, retrieved December 18, 2012 .
  40. ^ "Ready Player One" (audio). Random House. Retrieved February 19, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Masters of Doom launched today exclusively through Audiobooks.com". Audiobooks.com. 
  42. ^ "Fuzzy Nation". Audible. 
  43. ^ Peter and Max: A Fables Novel, Brilliance Audiobooks .
  44. ^ "Cascadia". METAtropolis. Audible. 
  45. ^ Wheaton, Wil (September 2, 2001). "1.5: Nimrod's Son". Wil Wheaton dot Net. Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  46. ^ Wheaton, Wil. "Fourteen years ago today". 
  47. ^ a b Wilson, Dave (October 4, 2001). "A Trekkie, and a Techie". The Los Angeles Times (Tribune Publishing). p. T.2. "He lives with his wife and two children in Arcadia." 
  48. ^ Wheaton, Wil (September 13, 2013). "@foh81 @Linux Yikes! I've been on OS X since at least 2003. I still run Debian in a VM.". Twitter.
  49. ^ Wheaton, Wil (June 9, 2012). "Tag Archives: beer". wilwheaton.net.
  50. ^ "Stone 2013 Collaborations". Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  51. ^ http://hockeybroad.tumblr.com/post/24937175620/wil-wheaton-happy-kings-fan-other-fans-can-make
  52. ^ http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130916&content_id=60759322&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb
  53. ^ Wheaton, Wil (Nov 2009), In which a fairly major secret is made secret no more, Type pad .
  54. ^ Wheaton, Wil (January 22, 2008), MediocreFilms "Writers Strike", Retarded Policeman (5), You tube, retrieved June 4, 2012 .

External links[edit]