Sir 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, Sir Patrick Stewart continues to demonstrate his versatility with a wide range of upcoming projects.
In early 2002, Stewart filmed X2: X-Men United, the sequel to 20th Century Fox's blockbuster X-Men, directed by Bryan Singer from a script by David Hayter and Zak Penn. Stewart reprised 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 reunited all the original cast including Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Anna Paquin.
In December 2001, Stewart was heard as the voice of King Gobot in Nickelodeon Movies' computer animated motion picture Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Martin Short provided the voice of King Gobot's sidekick Ooblar. The movie was released by Paramount Pictures.
In Fall 2001, Stewart filmed Star Trek: Nemesis, the tenth installment of Paramount Pictures' Star Trek feature films. He reprised his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and reteamed with Star Trek castmember Brent Spiner in a script by John Logan (Gladiator).
In Spring 2001, Stewart filmed King of Texas, a movie project for TNT which he co-produced with Hallmark Entertainment. He starred in the title role in an updated version of King Lear set in Texas during the Mexican revolt in the mid-1800s. The film also starred Marcia Gay Harden, Lauren Holly, Roy Scheider, Patrick Bergin, David Allen Grier, Matt Letscher and Julie Cox.
In early 2001, Stewart appeared in the Guthrie Theater's (Minneapolis) critically acclaimed production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Stewart starred as George, a middle-aged college history professor in a destructive relationship with his wife Martha. Directed by David Esbjornson the play also starred Mercedes Ruehl, Carrie Preston and Bill McCallum.
In Summer 2000, 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.
In 1999, 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.
In 1998, 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 1997, 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 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 1987 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.).
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