Patrick Hewes Stewart, OBE (born 13 July 1940; age 79) is an Emmy Award and Golden Globe-nominated, classically-trained English actor who has been playing a wide range of parts for much of his life. His greatest public success has come from portraying Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation and its feature film spin-offs, but he still considers his roots in Shakespeare the most important aspect of his career.


Stewart was born in Mirfield, Yorkshire, UK, on 13 July 1940. His stage career started at an early age. His involvement was encouraged when, at age 12, he enrolled in an eighty-day drama course. Thereafter, his participation in local amateur dramatics increased steadily, even after he quit school at 15 to work as a reporter. However, his employer resented his dedication to the local theater and finally, after a little more than a year of Stewart's less-than-dedicated reporting, he issued him an ultimatum forcing him to choose between acting and journalism. Although it was a very good job, Stewart quit and became determined to prove himself as a professional actor.

In 1957, at age 17, he enrolled in the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where he spent two years, learning his craft and losing his Yorkshire accent. After leaving school, Stewart was never out of work, despite a warning from an instructor, who told him that his baldness would make him a young character actor rather than a juvenile lead. Stewart, however, was able to land jobs by convincing directors that with a toupee, he could play both, doubling his range (advertising himself as "two actors for the price of one!"). His professional stage debut was at the Theatre Royal, Lincoln, in August 1959, playing Morgan in a stage adaption of Treasure Island.

From birth he was brought up as a supporter of Huddersfield Town Football Club, and, even after traveling the world as an actor, likes to return to watch his team play in the town adjacent to his birthplace. He is fond of his country, stating that during his time as a Hollywood player, he feared that not only would he not be able to return to Britain and the London stage, but that he could die on an American street rather than a street in England. [1]

In 1997, Stewart became engaged to Star Trek: Voyager producer Wendy Neuss; they were married on 25 August 2000, and divorced 14 October 2003.

Now an internationally respected actor known for successfully bridging the gap between the theatrical world of the Shakespearean stage and contemporary film and television, Patrick Stewart continues to demonstrate his versatility with a wide range of upcoming projects.

Star Trek

Alan Bernard and Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart and sound mixer Alan Bernard on set 1994

Stewart originated the role of Captain Picard in the pilot episode for Star Trek: The Next Generation, entitled "Encounter at Farpoint". In the early pre-production stage of the series, TNG producer Robert H. Justman wanted Stewart for the role of Data. (Patrick Stewart: The Unauthorized Biography) Despite the character being French in origin, Stewart plays the character with a British accent albeit one distinct from that of his own birthplace in Yorkshire. Regardless, the role made him a household name, garnered him millions of fans, and earned him Best Actor nominations from the American Television Awards and the Screen Actors Guild.

He also played Picard in the pilot episode of spin-off series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Emissary" (in which he was also seen as Picard's Borg-assimilated alter ego Locutus). He went on to play Picard in the four Next Generation motion pictures, with his performance in the eighth Star trek film, Star Trek: First Contact, earning him a Best Actor Saturn Award nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films as well as a Favorite Actor nomination from the Blockbuster Movie Awards. In addition, he has voiced the role of Picard in several video games, the most recent of which was Star Trek: Legacy, which also featured the voice of fellow Trek captains William Shatner (James T. Kirk), Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko), Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway) and Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer).

In addition to his starring role on TNG, he directed several episodes. He also served as associate producer for the film Star Trek: Insurrection.

Stewart has always been very aware of how closely identified William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy have become with their Star Trek characters. To combat the threat of typecasting, Stewart refuses to use an Star Trek terminology in the commercial voice-over work he does. "Make it so" and "Engage" are the two most common terms he has vetoed from commercial scripts he has performed. (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)

Stewart was also a member of The Sunspots, a band which also consists of TNG co-stars Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, and LeVar Burton. They appeared as the background vocals for "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" on Brent Spiner's 1991 album "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back".

Stewart made his latest appearance as Picard in the tenth feature film, Star Trek Nemesis. Prior to the announcement that a prequel Trek film overseen by J.J. Abrams was underway, there were rumors that one more TNG film was in the works, despite the financial and critical failure of Nemesis. Since then, however, Stewart has stated his belief that playing Picard in another film likely wouldn't happen, comparing it to "a romantic relationship that's over". Nonetheless, he doesn't completely rule out the possibility. [2]

Several costumes and components worn by Stewart were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including a pair of Starfleet dress uniform boots [3] and a civilian costume lot. [4]

Relationships with other Star Trek cast members

In the special features section of the 7th Season DVD release of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stewart expounds on his relationship with other Trek cast members, providing a unique insight into the behind-the-scenes relationships that occurred between the various actors.

Far from the character of Picard, who commanded the bridge of the Enterprise without question, Stewart was seen as an equal (and occasionally subordinate) to the actors he worked with and, in some cases, came into conflict with them. Stewart mentions in particular Michael Dorn, with whom he had many loud and vocal arguments on the set, and on one occasion seriously offended both Dorn and LeVar Burton by making a comment on the set seen as racist towards the two African American actors. Stewart stated that at the time he thought it was an innocent remark, but for years was haunted by the incident since he felt he had permanently damaged his relationship with these two actors.

Stewart also reminisced regarding Wil Wheaton, and how Stewart never saw him as a child actor but rather an adult actor on equal standing who just needed to gain a bit more experience. Stewart also held close relationships with Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes, relationships Stewart admits were fostered mostly due to the large number of "ready room scenes" with Data, Picard, and Riker; all of which were shot late into the night mostly on Fridays after the rest of the Trek cast had gone home.

Regarding his female co-workers, Stewart wonders what would have become of the show had Denise Crosby remained onboard but also states that the departure of Crosby was what made Michael Dorn so successful since the character of Worf was thus able to grow and eventually move into another series as a major character. Of Gates McFadden, Stewart says he had a close working relationship and also with Marina Sirtis who as "another Brit" was just as out of place on an American show as Stewart sometimes felt himself.

Stage work

In 1966 Stewart joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, with whom he remained for nearly twenty years. Stewart is an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, having been made an Associate Artist in 1967. With the RSC, he has played such roles as King John, Shylock, Henry IV, Cassius, Titus Andronicus, Oberon, Leontes, Enobarbus, Touchstone and Launce. He has also starred in many contemporary works with the RSC, including premiere productions by Tom Stoppard, Edward Bond, Howard Barker and David Rudkin.

Stewart's association with the RSC ultimately brought him to the Broadway stage, performing in the Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which ran for 62 performances in 1971. Stewart went on to join the Royal National Theatre in the 1980s (for which he played the title role in Peter Shaffer's play Yonadab at the National Theater in 1986, among other productions), although he rejoined the RSC for productions of Othello in 1997 (with Stewart playing the title role) and Anthony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Tempest in 2006.

Among Stewart's most well-known and acclaimed stage work is his one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, portraying all of the story's characters himself. He performed the play on Broadway first in December 1991, winning a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance/One Person Show in the following year. He staged encore performances in December and January of 1993, 1994 and 1995 and staged yet another performance in December 2001 as a benefit for the survivors and the families of victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Stewart earned another Drama Desk Award nomination in 1996, this time as Outstanding Actor in a Play for his starring role in a Broadway production of Shakespeare's The Tempest. He received a second Outstanding Actor Drama Desk nomination in 1999 for his starring role in the Broadway play The Ride Down Mt. Morgan. His most recent work on Broadway was a revival of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker in 2003-04.

Although Stewart has had great success in both film and television, especially with his role on TNG, he has repeatedly gone on record as saying that stage theater is his first love. In fact, he has gone on record as stating that his being offered the role of Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation was a "calamity" as it kept him away from the London stage. Although he was "immensely grateful" for the changes which Star Trek brought to his life, he now feels as though he has "a lot of catching up to do". He feels that "not that there have been lost opportunities, but that there are things I might have done and I've got to do a lot of them quickly now". [5] He also felt that, because acting on the British stage is all he's wanted to do, his work in Hollywood lacked substance. [6]

Stewart starred in a production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth in 2007, playing the title role. The play began at the Chichester Festival Theatre and then moved to West End's Gielgud Theatre. In February 2008, the play transferred to the Brooklyn Academy of Music [7] and was later performed at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway. [8] Stewart was hailed as the "Macbeth of a lifetime" [9] and won several awards for his performance.

Stewart currently co-stars with Doctor Who actor David Tennant in a production of Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Stewart will be playing Claudius to Tennant's Hamlet. [10] Coincidently, Stewart has stated in an interview he is keen for a role in Doctor Who, as he is a fan of the program, but has not yet been asked to appear. [11]. After a run in Stratford, the play transferred to London's West End. Stewart was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for best supporting actor in March 2009 for the role. [12]

Patrick Stewart is currently working alongside his co-star from the X-Men series, and his friend, Ian McKellen in a Scotland production of Waiting for Godot.

Film and television

Stewart made the transition from stage to British television in the early 1970s, although his earliest appearances in the media were televised plays. In 1974, however, he began making a full transition (although remaining in familiar territory) in the Royal Shakespeare Company's made-for-TV adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra, in which Stewart played the supporting role of Enobarbus, co-starring with fellow future Star Trek alum W. Morgan Sheppard. That same year, Stewart had a role in the BBC mini-series Fall of Eagles, his first TV project that was not associated with a stage production, co-starring Tony Jay and John Rhys-Davies.

By the following year, Stewart had broken into feature films. He made his film debut playing Ejlert Løvborg in the drama Hedda, Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler. This was followed with the thriller Hennessy that same year.

In 1976, Stewart acquired some early recognition for his role as the ruthless Sejanus in the acclaimed BBC mini-series I, Claudius. This epic production, which received an Emmy Award nomination as Outstanding Limited Series, also co-starred John Rhys-Davies.

Stewart went on to play King Leondegrance in John Boorman's 1981 fantasy epic Excalibur, Stewart's first film produced by an American film company, although it was filmed in Ireland. By 1984, Stewart was more actively taking parts in Hollywood film productions. Among these was the supporting role of Gurney Halleck in the cult adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune. His co-stars in this film included Brad Dourif, Virginia Madsen and Dean Stockwell, all of whom went on to guest star on a Star Trek series.

In 1985 alone, Stewart could be seen in no less than five feature films. Included among those are Lifeforce (a sci-fi thriller in which Stewart has his first on-screen kiss – with a man) and The Doctor and the Devils (a horror movie also featuring W. Morgan Sheppard). In 1986, he had a supporting role as a duke in the biographical period drama Lady Jane – also featuring W. Morgan Sheppard. After this, however, Stewart was signed on to The Next Generation and, for seven years, his film career took a backseat to commanding the Starship USS Enterprise-D.

Nonetheless, he did continue appearing in films while TNG was in production. In 1991's L.A. Story (which also featured Iman in a small role), he was briefly seen as a stuck-up maitre'd at a restaurant called L'Idiot; Time Winters played one of the waiters in this restaurant. There is also Mel Brooks' 1993 spoof Robin Hood: Men in Tights in which Stewart made a cameo appearance as King Richard at the end of the film. In addition, he starred in the 1993 TV movie Death Train and he also had a supporting role as a villain in the 1994 action film Gunmen.

Stewart appeared twice on the long-running children's program Sesame Street. In one segment, he praised the letter "B" in the form of a Shakespearean monologue ("A 'B' or not a 'B'?"). He and his TNG co-star Whoopi Goldberg are some of the few who had a segment on the show that did not feature any puppets, nor actors playing regular characters.

After production on Next Generation completed, Stewart appeared in the 1994 TV movie In Search of Dr. Seuss, along with Matt Frewer, Whoopi Goldberg, Graham Jarvis, Christopher Lloyd and Andrea Martin. Stewart then played a gay man in the drama Jeffrey, with DS9 guest star Steven Weber playing the title role and Star Trek: Voyager actors Ethan Phillips and Patrick Kerr co-starring. In 1997, Stewart played the villain in two films: Richard Donner's action thriller Conspiracy Theory (for which he won as Favorite Supporting Actor in a Suspense film from the Blockbuster Movie Awards) and the lighter-hearted Masterminds. The following year, he returned to the role of the hero as the star of the film Safe House, with Joy Kilpatrick playing his daughter.

Stewart received an Emmy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Captain Ahab in the 1998 TV movie adaptation of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. (It is amusing to note that Stewart acted his rather lengthy role as Captain Ahab after his discussion with Lily concerning Ahab in Star Trek: First Contact.) Stewart earned yet another nomination from both the Emmys and the Golden Globes for playing King Henry II in the 2003 adaptation of James Goldman's play The Lion in Winter. In between, Stewart starred as Ebenezer Scrooge in a 1999 TV adaptation of A Christmas Carol, for which he received a second Saturn Award nomination and a second Screen Actors Guild nomination, and reunited with TNG co-star Colm Meaney for the 2002 TV movie King of Texas, an updated adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear. Stewart also served as an executive producer for the latter three movies.

Stewart's most successful, most well-known non-Trek film role is that of Professor Charles Francis Xavier (aka "Professor X") in the X-Men films based on the hugely popular Marvel Comics characters. Even before he was cast as Xavier, Stewart was long a fan-favorite choice to play the part. Stewart's performance in the first film earned him his third Saturn Award nomination and third Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination. All three X-Men films – X-Men in 2000, X2 in 2003, and X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006 – co-starred his one-time TNG castmate Famke Janssen ("The Perfect Mate"). The first two also featured Bruce Davison, while the last film also co-starred Kelsey Grammer. Stewart and Grammer – the latter of whom guest-starred in the TNG episode "Cause and Effect" – co-starred with each other on an episode in the final season of Grammer's hit sitcom, Frasier, in which Stewart played the very gay theater producer, Alistair Burke.

Patrick Stewart was considered for the role of the Eighth Doctor and the (canonically Third) Master in Doctor Who [13]. Stewart has revealed in an interview that he might have been considered by producers for the role, but he was never formally approached.

Voice work

Stewart has lent his voice to a variety of animated films and TV shows.

In 1994, Stewart, his TNG co-star Whoopi Goldberg, and Frank Welker voiced a trio of talking books in The Pagemaster, a fantasy film starring Christopher Lloyd and Ed Begley, Jr. and also featuring the voices of Leonard Nimoy and Robert Picardo. He also voiced Dr. Lloyd Steam in the Japanese Anime Steam Boy.[14] In 1998, Stewart voiced Pharaoh Seti I in the Biblical animated film The Prince of Egypt. The following year, Stewart and the aforementioned Kelsey Grammer voiced the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, respectively, in a TV adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm. And in 2001, Stewart played the evil King Goobot in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, which also featured the voice of Andrea Martin.

In 2005, Stewart and DS9 recurring actor Wallace Shawn lent their voices to the Disney movie Chicken Little. Regarding his work in this film, Stewart said in an interview for Disney's Movie Surfer that "umpteenth time's the charm". This is in reference to the fact that the heavy schedules for The Next Generation and its movies forced Stewart to turn down roles in previous Disney animated films, including Francis the bulldog in Oliver & Company[15](eventually voiced by Roscoe Lee Browne), King Triton in The Little Mermaid (ultimately voiced by DS9 guest star Kenneth Mars), Cogsworth in Beauty and The Beast (ultimately voiced by Stewart's one-time TNG co-star, David Ogden Stiers), Jafar in Aladdin (which he calls his deepest regret), Zazu in The Lion King, Ratcliffe in Pocahontas (also voiced by Stiers), Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (which went to Tony Jay), Zeus in Hercules and Dr. Jumba Jookiba in Lilo & Stitch (again, this role went to David Ogden Stiers). He also had to turn down the title role in Disney's The Great Mouse Detective due to his commitment to a play. In addition, he was turned down for the role of Clayton in Disney's Tarzan as the director felt Brian Blessed's voice was perfect for the character. He was also considered for the role of Rasputin in Don Bluth's animated film for Twentieth Century Fox, "Anastasia", before Christopher Lloyd took the role. [16] After voicing in Chicken Little, Stewart voiced "The Great Prince" in Disney's 2006 direct-to-DVD release Bambi II.

In 2007, Stewart can be heard supplying the voice of the main villain in the CG-animated film TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Stewart also lent his voice to the sixth season The Simpsons episode "Homer the Great," playing a character named "Number One."

Stewart provides the voice of Emperor Uriel Septim VII in The Elder Scrolls video game series, including the 2nd game, Daggerfall, and the 4th game, Oblivion, for which he won the 2006 Spike TV Video Game Award.

Seth MacFarlane

At present, Stewart plays the recurring role of CIA Director Avery Bullock in Trekkie Seth MacFarlane's animated series, American Dad! His role often has references to Star Trek; for example, Bullock refers to his close aide as "Number One". In addition, Stewart is among the many Star Trek actors who have lent their voice to MacFarlane's Family Guy. In the episode "Peter's Got Woods", Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn voiced their characters in a TNG spoof in which Picard makes fun of Worf's forehead. This scene actually replaced one which would have featured Stewart and Marina Sirtis in their roles as Picard and Troi, with Troi picking up some disturbing thoughts from a panicky Picard. Stewart and all his fellow castmates had lent their voices for the episode "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven" where Stewie Griffin kidnaps them and forces them to spend the day together.

Upcoming projects

Stewart is currently set to produce and star in a film version of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice set in 20th century Las Vegas, which is being written by Star Trek Nemesis scribe John Logan. According to Stewart, the idea for this film came from an argument between himself and Logan after the latter called Merchant a "loathsome play." [17]

Stewart will also reprise his Xavier role from the X-Men films for the upcoming prequel, Magneto, centered on the X-Men's arch-nemesis and Xavier's former friend. Stewart will be reuniting with Ian McKellen (who played Magneto) for "book-end" scenes set within the timeframe of the three previous films. [18]

Honors and achievements

In 1996, in honor of his work on the stage, Stewart received the prestigious Will Award from The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. The honor is given annually to an individual who makes "a significant contribution to classical theater in America." That same year, Stewart also won a Grammy Award for "Best Spoken Word Album for Children" for his narrative work on Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf.

In 2001, New Years' Honors List, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II conferred on Stewart the honor of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

In 2004, Patrick Stewart was named Chancellor of Huddersfield University.

In 2005, Stewart received an Emmy Award nomination for appearing – as himself – on the sitcom Extras.

In 2006 Stewart was voted as the second-sexiest retired man in the UK, just after Sean Connery. Stewart had previously been voted the Sexiest Man on Television by TV Guide in 1992.

In 2007 he was named as the next Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at St. Catherine's College, University of Oxford. In that same year, he won the prize for Best Performance In A Play at the Theatrical Management Association (TMA) Awards for his portrayal of the title role in the Chichester Festival Theatre's production of Macbeth.

Stewart was named Best Actor of 2007 at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his performance in the West End production of Macbeth. [19]

In 2008 Stewart was awarded the Best Shakespearean Performance prize from the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards for his performance in Macbeth. He shared the award with actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who won for his performance in a production of Othello. [20]

Stewart was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Play for his performance in Macbeth.[21] He is the first actor to be nominated for a Tony Award for playing Macbeth.[22] The play received a total of six Tony nominations, including Stewart's. [23][24]

On 14 July, 2008, Stewart was named Professor of Performing Arts at Huddersfield University, where he has been chancellor since 2004. [25]

Appearances as Jean-Luc Picard

Additional characters

Star Trek directorial credits

See also

External links

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