Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men)

Best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its successor films English film, television and stage actor Patrick Stewart was Born 13th July 1940. He has had a distinguished career in theatre and television. He is most widely known for his television and film roles, such , Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series, and as the voice of Avery Bullock in American Dad!. He attributes his acting career to an English teacher 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 Free Grammar School, where he continued to study drama. At age 15, Stewart dropped out of school and increased his participation in local theatre. He acquired a job as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer, but after a year, his employer gave him an ultimatum to choose acting or journalism, Stewart also trained as a boxer.

Following a period with Manchester’s Library Theatre, he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 where 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 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. He also took the lead, playing Psychiatric Consultant Dr. Edward Roebuck in a BBC TV series called Maybury in 1981. He also had minor roles in several films such as King Leondegrance in John Boorman’s Excalibur the character Gurney Halleck in David Lynch’s 1984 film version of Dune and Dr. Armstrong in Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce.

In 1987 Stewart began his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and received a 1995 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series”. From 1994 to 2002, he also portrayed Picard in the films Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact , Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek: Nemesis and in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s pilot episode “Emissary”. Stewart became so typecast as Picard that he has found obtaining other Hollywood roles difficult. The main exception is the X-Men film series. The films’ success has resulted in another lucrative regular genre role in a major superhero film series. Stewart’s character, Charles Xavier, is very similar to Picard and himself; “a grand, deep-voiced, bald English guy”. He has also since voiced the role in three video games, X-Men Legends, X-Men Legends II and X-Men: Next Dimension. 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, receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his performance. (You may be able to find copies of these on Ebay)

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 Top Gear in the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment, he was cast as Professor Ian Hood in an ITV thriller 4-episode series Eleventh Hour, created by Stephen Gallagher. He also played Captain Nemo in a two part adaptation of The Mysterious Island andt also appeared in the television series Extras. For which he was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2006 for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.Stewart is also a fairly frequent guest voice on Fox’s animated comedy American Dad! as Avery Bullock and also appeared with the rest of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the Family Guy episode “Not All Dogs Go To Heaven

Although he remained associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the lengthy filming for the Next Generation prevented him from participating in most other works. He instead began writing one-man shows that he performed in California universities and acting schools. Stewart found that one—a version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in which he portrayed all 40-plus characters—was ideal for him because of its limited performing schedule which was performed on Broadway, receiving a nomination for that year’s Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show it also had d a 23-day run in London’s West End. For his performances in this play, Stewart also received the Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance in 1992 and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for Solo Performance in 1994. Other Shakespeare roles during this period included Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as well as 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.)

Surprisingly for a Shakespearean actor, he has not played notable roles such as Hamlet, Romeo, and Richard III 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; however, 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.Stewart has expressed interest in appearing in Doctor Who.

In 2009, Stewart appeared alongside Ian McKellen as the lead duo of Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), in Waiting for Godot. Stewart had previously only appeared once alongside McKellen on stage, but the pair had developed a close friendship while waiting around on set filming the X-Men films. “In 2011, Stewart appeared in the feature length documentary The Captains alongside William Shatner, who also wrote and directed the film. which is about actors who have portrayed captains within the Star Trek franchise and 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

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s