Patrick Stewart was born in Mirfield, Yorkshire, on July 13, 1940. His father was a career soldier; his mother worked in industrial weaving. Because Mirfield, a river valley settlement of some 12,000 people, had a rich culture for a provincial town of its size, Stewart's stage experience started early. His involvement was encouraged when, at the age of twelve while in secondary school, he enrolled in an eight-day drama course, where he met some professional people who were very influential in his life. Thereafter, his participation in local amateur dramatics increased steadily, even after he quit school at fifteen 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 Stewart an ultimatum forcing him to choose between acting and journalism. Although it was a very good job, Stewart quit and, out of spite, became determined to prove himself as a professional actor. To save money for training, he worked for a year as a furniture salesman; then, after consulting the professionals he had met, he enrolled in the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 1957 at age seventeen. He spent two years there, learning his craft and losing his accent. Stewart speaks of almost living a "double life" during this period, for while he spoke with Received Pronunciation professionally, he continued speaking with his native Yorkshire accent and dialect with family and friends. 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. In fact, Stewart was able to land jobs by convincing directors that with a toupee he could play both, doubling his range and serving as "two actors for the price of one." His professional stage debut was at the Theatre Royal, Lincoln, in August of 1959, playing Morgan in a stage adaptation of Treasure Island.
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.
Stewart most recently completed filming his next movie project for TNT which he is co-producing with Hallmark Entertainment. He will star in the title role of King of Texas, an updated version of King Lear set in Texas during the Mexican revolt in the mid-1800s. The film will also star Marcia Gay Harden, Lauren Holly, Roy Scheider, Patrick Bergin, David Allen Grier, Matt Letscher and Julie Cox.
Stewart recently appeared in the Guthrie Theater's (Minneapolis) critically acclaimed production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Stewart stars as George, a middle-aged college history professor in a destructive relationship with his wife Martha. Directed by David Esbjornson the play also stars Mercedes Ruehl, Carrie Preston and Bill McCallum.
In December, Stewart will be heard as the voice of King Gobot in Nickelodeon Movies' computer animated motion picture Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Martin Short will provide the voice of King Gobot's sidekick Ooblar. The movie will be released by Paramount Pictures.
In the Fall, Stewart will begin production on the tenth installment of Paramount Pictures' Star Trek feature films. He will reprise his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and will reteam with Star Trek castmember Brent Spiner in a script by John Logan (Gladiator).
In early 2002 Stewart will begin work on the sequel to 20th Century Fox's blockbuster X-Men, directed by Bryan Singer from a script by David Hayter and Zak Penn. Stewart will reprise his role as 'Professor Xavier,' a wheelchair-bound professor said to be the planet's most powerful telepath, which earned him a nomination for Favorite Actor in the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. The sequel will reunite all the original Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Anna Paquin.
Last summer, Stewart appeared on Broadway in Arthur Miller's The Ride Down Mt. Morgan which received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He returned to the role of Lyman Felt, a bigamist who is visited by his two wives while he is convalescing in a hospital after an automobile accident. His critically acclaimed debut at the Public Theatre in 1998, earned him a Drama Desk nomination.
Last year, Stewart was seen on television in TNT's A Christmas Carol. He earned a SAG Award nomination for his portrayal of 'Ebenezer Scrooge,' a role which continues a cherished association with Charles Dickens' classic that has included his noted one-man performance of the play on Broadway. The film was produced by Robert Halmi and Stewart for Hallmark, and also starred Joel Grey.
Stewart earned both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for 'Best Actor in a Dramatic Series or Mini-Series' for his role as 'Captain Ahab' in the USA network's Moby Dick, opposite Gregory Peck and Henry Thomas. The $18 million epic mini-series was filmed on location in Australia and set a ratings record for the network.
In 1998, Stewart received critical notice for his portrayal in the title role of Othello at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. Jude Kelly directed Stewart along with an otherwise all-Black cast in a 'photo-negative production' which took a bold, new look at the play. Stewart's performance was praised in the New York Times as "never anything less than uncanny in his psychological portrait: it's like watching an autopsy on human feeling."
In December of 1996, Stewart brought A Christmas Carol, his award-winning adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale, to an exclusive engagement at the Doolittle Theatre. Stewart first performed this acclaimed one-man show for Broadway audiences in 1991, playing over 40 characters and earning him a Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performer. This marked his first return to the New York stage since 1971, when he appeared in the now legendary Peter Brook production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. When Stewart presented A Christmas Carol at London's Old Vic Theatre he received an Olivier Award Nomination as Best Actor and the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.
On television, Stewart originated the role of 'Jean-Luc Picard' in the hit series Star Trek: The Next Generation which aired from 1988 to 1994; this role earned him Best Actor nominations from the American TV Awards and the Screen Actors Guild. In addition to his starring role, he also directed several episodes, one of which ("A Fistful of Datas") received an Emmy. Stewart reprised the role of 'Jean-Luc Picard' for Paramount Pictures in the motion pictures Star Trek: Generations (which also starred William Shatner and Malcolm McDowell), Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection.
Stewart's additional film credits include the film adaption of Paul Rudnick's play, Jeffrey, Hedda, Dune, Lady Jane, Excalibur, LA Story, Death Train, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Gunmen, Masterminds, The Pagemaster, Conspiracy Theory, Safe House, and Dad Savage. He also lent his voice to the character 'Seti,' in Dreamwork's hit animated feature film, Prince of Egypt.
Other television roles include the title role of The Canterville Ghost for ABC and The Hallmark Hall of Fame, TNT's In Search of Dr. Seuss, FOX's animated series The Simpsons, as well as hosting several documentary series including The Shape of the World on PBS and TNT's MGM: When the Lion Roars, a six-part series on the history of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer.
For the BBC, Stewart has been seen in the acclaimed miniseries, I, Claudius, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and Smiley's People. He has also portrayed Salieri in The Mozart Inquest, Oedipus in Oedipus Rex, and Rev. Anderson in The Devil's Disciple.
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. In 1986, he played the title role in Peter Shaffer's play Yonadab at the National Theater.
Stewart won the Society of West End Theater (SWET) Award for his performance as Enobarbus in Peter Brook's production of Antony and Cleopatra and was nominated for his Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.
In addition to A Christmas Carol, Stewart has adapted other works for the stage, TV and radio, including two works by Mikhail Bulgahov, The Procurator (from the novel The Master and Margarita) and A Country Doctor's Notebook. In 1992, he directed the music/drama Every Good Boy Deserves Favour by Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn, starring with four other cast members of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Orange County Symphony Orchestra. In 1993, the same production was presented with symphony orchestras in Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta.
In 1995 Stewart starred on Broadway as Prospero in Shakespeare's classic The Tempest, for which he received a best actor nomination from the Outer Critics Circle. The production, which was originally featured as part of the hugely successful Shakespeare in The Park Festival, received overwhelming public and critical response-becoming the festival's biggest event since 1980.
In 1996, in honor of his work on the stage, Stewart received the prestigious Will Award from The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. The Honor is given annually to an individual who makes "a significant contribution to classical theatre in America."
That same year, Stewart also won a Grammy Award for his narrative work on the Best Spoken Word Album for Children, Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf.
In 2001 New Years' Honor list, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth conferred on Stewart the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.)
Patrick Stewart: Star Trek: Nemesis
It may have been a long time between Romulan ales on the Enterprise, but Patrick Stewart doesn't mind the four year gap in the Star Trek franchise, "because I had been one of those arguing that we needed a bigger gap as it was becoming like a conveyor belt. I also said that if we take more time, all of us might come to the conclusion that we've actually finished and we don't want to do anymore; that might just happen organically." Stewart was feeling fresh and energised at the end of a long day of interviews. Casually dressed wearing brown corduroy trousers, the classically-trained Brit feels at home as we chat in the midst of New York's Manhattan. Even though he currently lives in Los Angeles' upscale Palisades suburban community, the 62-year old one-time Yorkshire native is thinking of switching residential coasts, describing New York as "more mature" than Los Angeles. "It feels worldlier and more forgiving" than Los Angeles which has been his US home since attaining intergalactic stardom on Star Trek. Widely travelled, Stewart recently married Star Trek producer Wendy Neuss and spent their honeymoon in Sydney, Australia. "Sydney is just great and I just hope I get to do more work there. While we took part of our honeymoon there we stayed for the Olympics and then we went to the Kimberlies for a glorious week up there," says an enthused Stewart.
It is appropriate that this world-travelled gentleman actor has spent fifteen years, on and off, travelling through galaxies battling an array of aliens aboard the classic U.S.S Enterprise. Before he became an international star as the heroic and good-hearted Picard, Stewart was one of Britain's most respected stage actors. Still yearning to play all those great Shakespearean roles from Lear to Falstaff, having already shone in Hamlet and Macbeth, it is the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in TV's Star Trek: The Next Generation, for which he is now best known. While 15 years after the series debut he has genuine affection for the character and no qualms about the recognition, that wasn't always the case, he laughingly recalls. "There was a time when it irritated me, when I would walk down the street and someone would say: Hey, captain how you doing or people would say: Oh, you're Captain Picard and I would say: No, that is not my name, and was somewhat prickly." But Patrick's attitude slowly began to change as he assumed the role with confidence. "I have come to realise that given that the captain is really an outstanding individual, a fine, compassionate, articulate, honest, fair man, that identification is in a sense flattering and if people are happy to call out on the street or to speak to me, they apparently feel good about it as well, so it is something that I have come to be proud of."
Yet even so, as we are chatting about a character whose genesis began 15 years ago, Stewart had no idea that Picard or his involvement with the phenomenon of Star Trek, would last as long as it has. "I wouldn't have done it if I had known that," concedes the actor, adding that he only agreed to do it in the first place "because I was assured, not by the Star Trek people of course, but because of everybody else, that it wouldn't last long, if at all. From the morning that I was offered the role, Monday morning, until about noon when I left, I had until the end of the business day Friday to make my decision. When I was offered the role I was excited and then my agent met with me and it became clear to him that I didn't understand how pilots worked and the contracts of pilots worked. I thought I was just signing on for the pilot and if I didn't want to do anymore after that I could just walk out," he recalls smilingly. "When he said this is for six years, I said that is out of the question. There are things I have to do; I can't spend six years here. It is absolutely out of the question. I won't do it. And every single person that I asked said you don't need to worry about that. It will be a year if you are really lucky, two years." Finally, his agent said, "Come on you have never made any money in your life of what you do. You have had a great career but what have you got to show for it, where is your security?" At the time Stewart recalls that he had been living month by month. His agent assured him that no harm can come of doing the series and under that understanding Patrick Stewart signed the dotted line "and I would not for the world have changed it now with hindsight," says Stewart. "It doesn't mean to say this in the fifth and sixth seasons there weren't times that I wished I was anywhere but walking under the bridge of the Enterprise, but they were only moments. It was just sometimes frustration when I was ready to move on." But here we are, 15 years later, and Patrick's enthusiasm for this fourth cinematic Star Trek adventure is genuinely heartfelt. "I had such a grand time doing Nemesis, I really did."
In Star Trek: Nemesis, the cast of "The Next Generation" returns on a diplomatic mission to initiate peace with the Romulans. But upon arrival to the alien planet, the crew is faced with a threat that could lead to the Earth's destruction, and Picard meets his most dangerous adversary yet, a surprisingly personal nemesis. Part of the reason why he was drawn to Nemesis, was the script by Trek fan and aficionado, John Logan, "who has brought something else and has a great since of history. He came to this project not only as an absolutely outstanding screenwriter which he is, but what I didn't know at the time was that he came as an obsessed fan of the Next Generation and he knows the Next Generation world inside out, better than I do. His enthusiasm, his fan's hunger to see the characters doing things he had always wanted to see them do and his eagerness to work with actors were genuinely apparent. We would spend hours on the telephone before we even met just getting to know one another and of course I discovered he was a man with a theatre background who loved the theatre and so it was in the early days talking with Logan that I just knew this could be a wonderful journey on which to embark."
A journey which allows Patrick the chance to do something different with the 15-year old Picard, something that may not have been so easy in previous films or throughout the lengthy series. "This film raised questions and made me brood a lot more, the whole notion of coming face to face with yourself, in conflict with yourself and trying to find harmony and understanding; these were interesting challenges." The actor admits that when asked whether there is more of the actor in the character, having played him for so long, that line is utterly blurred now. "I truly could not define where Jean-Luc Picard begins and Patrick Stewart leaves off partly because during the course of those years of the series a lot of myself went into the things that the character did, how he thought, what he said, all based on Gene Rodenberry's strong foundation. But a lot of the things that I cared about went in and as time went by the transference was happening the other way as well." Patrick even concedes that he even learned from Picard. "There were certain areas in my life that needed attention and he helped me to pay attention," says a thoughtful Stewart.
The Star Trek series and subsequent film franchise have clearly brought Patrick not only fame and fortune, but the luxury of choice. At a very youthful 62, Stewart works at a frenetic pace, dividing his time between revisiting the classics on stage and screen, and starring in next year's much anticipated X-Men 2. On the latter, the guarded actor says little but again, his enthusiasm for the sequel is very real. "I think we have got a really sensational movie," Stewart enthuses. "It's been such a wonderful year and I am so energized by Nemesis which I believe in so strongly and then realise that X-Men 2 has taken off from the first one, which was really like an extended expensive trailer, introducing everyone and this world of the X-Men. Now the X-Men are just soaring and it is going to be wonderful."
Taking a break from the world of fantasy-laden Hollywood, Patrick will take to the London stage in April with Ibsen's The Masterbuilder. Following that play's limited West End run, he returns to Broadway "in a revival of a British play which I can't talk about but I am very excited about it and some wonderful roles ahead." These include a television remake of the classic period drama, The Lion in Winter, in which he will play King Henry II to Glenn Close's Eleanor of Aquitaine. "We have a brilliant, finger-licking good screenplay to work from." And yes, he says, another Star Trek feature is not out of the question. "If John Logan signs on as writer, I'm on board, no question."
Patrick Stewart on X-Men 3 & Superman
SpaceView magazine has a new interview with Patrick Stewart who talked about returning as Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men 3:
Everyone, my colleagues and I, we are all very pleased to be involved on this film. The filming would have to begin June 2005, because 20th Century Fox plans to release X-MEN 3 in July 2006. And it is not that simple to get all the cast together again. Unfortunately, Bryan Singer will not be involved this time, because he is directing the new SUPERMAN movie. And, as I said, is not certain that all the actors will be returning. But I am sure that Hugh Jackman will be back. He is such a crazy actor! I just saw him on stage in New York where he delivered such an extraordinary performance.
Stewart also addressed the rumor that Bryan Singer wants him to play Jor El in Superman:
I also heard these rumors, but so far Bryan did not ask me about it. I had recently a small heart surgery - nothing serious - and while I was at the hospital, Bryan called me. We spoke a long time - yet he did not ask me. But since I am already in two big franchises, why not also in a third or a fourth?
Patrick Stewart picks up Golden Globe Nomination
Two eminent StarTrek captains earned Golden Globe award nominations this morning, along with one Trek screenwriter. William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and John Logan were among the nominees for the 62nd Annual Golden Globes, which were announced this morning.
Shatner is nominated for his role as the eccentric 'Denny Crane' on the new David E. Kelley series Boston Legal. Shatner won an Emmy last year for best guest appearance as the same character on The Practice. Shatner's co-star in Boston Legal, James Spader, was nominated for lead actor in a series, mini-series, or television movie.
The Next Generation's 'Captain Picard' was also nominated this morning for his role in the television movie The Lion In Winter. With Stewart in the actor in a leading role in a series, mini-series, or television movie are Mos Def in Something The Lord Made, Jamie Foxx in Redemption, William H. Macy in The Wool Cap, and Geoffrey Rush in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.
The Lion In Winter was also nominated for best mini-series or television movie.
Patrick Stewart's new project ''American Dad''
Patrick Stewart will lend his voice to a new animated series on Fox beginning in January. Playing the head of the CIA in AMERICAN DAD, Stewart will join the new political comedy from FAMILY GUY creator Seth McFarlane.
In an audio interview with MacFarlane available at Planet FAMILY GUY, the writer revealed that Stewart also joined TNG cast mate Marina Sirtis in a "gag" for an upcoming episode of FAMILY GUY. In the bit, Stewart and Troi resurrect their 'Picard' and 'Troi' personas for the first time since 2002's STAR TREK: NEMESIS.
FAMILY GUY is slated to begin airing new episodes sometime in the spring of 2005. AMERICAN DAD, meanwhile, follows the travails of 'Stan Smith', "a CIA agent constantly on the alert for terrorist activity. A real family man, Stan will do anything to protect his family - as evidenced by the terror-alert color code on his fridge, and his frequent knee-jerk reaction of shooting holes in the toaster whenever the toast pops up," according to Planet AMERICAN DAD.