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Born: July 13, 1940 Mirfield, England, UK
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Patrick Stewart was born on July 13th, 1940 in Mirfield, Yorkshire England. His childhood home was full of violence and Stewart, who was always fascinated by movies, began to do some stage acting if only to get himself out of the house. Surprisingly the well-spoken actor left school at 15 with the minimum education allowable. However, he had a way with words and a talent for writing, and he was able to land a job as a reporter.
The stage still called Stewart and the young actor would sometimes make up some of his stories for the paper so that he would have more time to work on his acting. His editor finally called him on it and the 17-year-old quit, promising himself that he would make it as an actor. He finally enrolled at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He had his first speaking role at 19 and for two years appeared in productions at Sheffield’s Playhouse Theatre. It was around this time that he started going bald. He worked with the London Old Vic Company and by 1966 he had joined the famed Royal Shakespeare Company.
For twenty years Stewart built up an impressive list of stage credits and became one of Britain’s most respected stage actors. He also started to do some film and TV work, appearing in BBC adaptations of stage plays and getting good notices for work in I, Claudius and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
His work brought him to the attention of Robert Justman, who was working with Gene Roddenberry on 1987’s follow-up to the Star Trek TV series. The fans, used to the rough-and-tumble James T. Kirk, were initally wary of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s new Captain: a Frenchman played by an English actor. Stewart played the role with strength and intelligence and the actor and his show won a following just as strong, if not stronger, than the previous incarnation.
Stewart did not resist the call of the stage during his vacations from the show. He appeared in a Broadway production of The Tempest to rave reviews and has done a one-man version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol each Christmas for several years.
When ST:TNG went off the air, Stewart revisited the role of Picard in three movies: Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, and Star Trek: Insurrection. He appeared in the films Masterminds and Conspiracy Theory and played Captain Ahab in the miniseries Moby Dick. He lent his voice to The Prince of Egypt and his distinctive pipes can also be heard in several commercials.
When Patrick Stewart was initally offered the role of Professor X in X-Men, he was a little worried that the role would be just as iconic and potentially typecasting as his Jean-Luc Picard character in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He finally decided that the role and the film’s underlying message about understanding people’s differences was too important to pass up.
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