Patrick Stewart is an English actor whose career has included roles on stage, television, and film.
Let’s find out some interesting facts about him!
1. Sir Patrick Stewart was born 13 July 1940 in Mirfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England.
2. His parents were Gladys, a weaver and textile worker, and Alfred Stewart, a regimental sergeant major in the British Army.
3. He has two older brothers, Geoffrey and Trevor (b. 10 August 1935, Mirfield).
4. Stewart grew up in a poor household with domestic violence from his father, an experience which later influenced his political and ideological beliefs.
5. He spent much of his childhood in Jarrow.
6. Stewart’s father served with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was Regimental Sergeant Major of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment during the Second World War, having previously worked as a general labourer and as a postman.
7. As a result of his wartime experience during the Dunkirk evacuation, his father suffered from what was then known as combat fatigue (related to what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder).
8. In a 2008 interview, Stewart said, “My father was a very potent individual, a very powerful man, who got what he wanted. It was said that when he strode onto the parade ground, birds stopped singing. It was many, many years before I realized how my father inserted himself into my work. I’ve grown a moustache for Macbeth. My father didn’t have one, but when I looked in the mirror just before I went on stage I saw my father’s face staring straight back at me.”
9. Stewart attended Crowlees Church of England Junior and Infants School.
10. He attributes his acting career to a teacher of English named Cecil Dormand, who “put a copy of Shakespeare in my hand [and] said, ‘Now get up on your feet and perform.'”
11. In 1951, aged 11, having failed the eleven-plus examination, he entered Mirfield Secondary Modern School, where he continued to study drama.
12. Around the same time he met the actor Brian Blessed at a Mytholmroyd drama course, and the two have been friends ever since. At the age of 15, Stewart left school and increased his participation in local theatre.
13. He gained a job as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer at the Mirfield & District Reporter, but after a year his employer gave him an ultimatum to choose acting or journalism, and he left the job.
14. His brother tells the story that Stewart had been attending rehearsals during work time and then inventing the stories he reported.
15. Stewart also trained as a boxer.
16. At the age of eighteen he lost his hair due to suffering from Alopecia areata, an experience he found traumatic, and became more timid. For him, acting served as a means of self-expression.
17. Both Stewart and his friend Blessed later received grants to attend the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
18. Following a period with Manchester’s Library Theatre, he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966, remaining with them until 1982. He was an Associate Artist of the company in 1968.
19. He appeared with actors such as Ben Kingsley and Ian Richardson.
20. In January 1967, he made his debut TV appearance on Coronation Street as a Fire Officer.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. Over the years, Stewart took roles in many major television series without ever becoming a household name. He appeared as Vladimir 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.
24. He even took the romantic male lead in the 1975 BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (wearing a hairpiece). He also took the lead, playing Psychiatric Consultant Dr Edward Roebuck in BBC’s Maybury in 1981.
25. Stewart continued to play minor roles in films, such as King Leondegrance in John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981), the character Gurney Halleck in David Lynch’s film version of Dune (1984) and Dr. Armstrong in Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce (1985).
26. Stewart preferred classical theatre to other genres, asking Doctor Who actress Lalla Ward why she would work in science fiction or on television.
27. In 1987 he nonetheless agreed to work in Hollywood on a revival of an old science-fiction television show, after Robert H. Justman saw him while attending a literary reading at UCLA.
28. Stewart knew nothing about the original show, Star Trek, or its iconic status in American culture.
29. He was reluctant to sign the standard contract of six years but did so as he, his agent, and others with whom Stewart consulted, all believed that the new show would quickly fail, and he would return to his London stage career after making some money.
30. While not wealthy, Stewart had a comfortable lifestyle as an actor; he found that despite a lengthy career, his reputation was not great enough to bring a production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to a West End theatre. Stewart thus in 1987 agreed to work in Hollywood, after Robert H. Justman, a producer working on Star Trek: The Next Generation, saw him while attending a literary reading at UCLA.
31. Stewart knew nothing about the original show, Star Trek, or its iconic status in American culture. He was reluctant to sign the standard contract of six years but did so as he, his agent, and others Stewart consulted with, all believed that the new show would quickly fail and he would return to his London stage career after making some money.
32. Stewart’s 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.
33. 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.
34. He also starred as Scrooge in a 1999 television film version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his performance.
35. In 2005, he was cast as Professor Ian Hood in an ITV thriller 4-episode series Eleventh Hour, created by Stephen Gallagher.
36. He also, in 2005, played Captain Nemo in a two-part adaptation of The Mysterious Island.
37. Known for his strong and authoritative voice, Stewart has lent his voice to a number of projects.
38. He has narrated recordings of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf (winning a Grammy), Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (which had also been narrated by William Shatner, C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle (conclusion of the series The Chronicles of Narnia), Rick Wakeman’s Return to the Centre of the Earth; as well as numerous TV programmes such as High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman.
39. Stewart provided the narration for Nine Worlds, an astronomical tour of the solar system and nature documentaries such as The Secret of Life on Earth and Mountain Gorilla.
40. He is also heard as the voice of the Magic Mirror in Disneyland’s live show, Snow White – An Enchanting Musical.
41. He also was the narrator for the American release of Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real.
42. He is narrator for two fulldome video shows produced and distributed by Loch Ness Productions, called MarsQuest and The Voyager Encounters.
43. In 2006, Stewart made a short video against domestic violence for Amnesty International, in which he recollected his father’s physical attacks on his mother and the effect it had on him as a child.
44. He gave his name to a scholarship at the University of Huddersfield, where he is Chancellor, to fund post-graduate study into domestic violence.
45. Stewart’s childhood experience also led him to become a patron of Refuge, a UK charity for abused women.
46. In 2009, Stewart gave a speech at the launch of Created Equal, a book about women’s rights, talking again about his personal experiences with domestic violence and the impacts they had on him.
47. He now hopes to set an example of “what it has been like to be in an environment of such violence and that it can pass and that one can survive it and even though sometimes still a struggle.”
48. Additionally, in October 2011, he presented a BBC Lifeline Appeal on behalf of Refuge, iscussing his own experience of domestic violence and interviewing a woman whose daughter was murdered by her ex-husband.
49. Stewart supports the Armed Forces charity Combat Stress, after learning about his father’s post-traumatic stress disorder when researching his family genealogy for the documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?.
50. He is Patron of the United Nations Association – UK, and delivered a speech at UNA-UK’s UN Forum 2012 on Saturday 14 July 2012, speaking of his father’s experiences in World War Two, and how he believed that the UN was the best legacy of that period.
51. Stewart was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2001 New Year Honours list, and was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to drama.
52. In July 2011, Stewart received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters (D.Litt) from the University of East Anglia.
53. In July 2012, Stewart carried the Olympic torch as part of the official relay for the 2012 Summer Olympics and stated it was an experience he will ‘never forget’, adding that it was better than any movie première.
54. Stewart and his first wife Sheila Falconer divorced in 1990 after 24 years of marriage. They have two children together, son Daniel and daughter Sophia.
55. Daniel is a television actor, and has appeared alongside his father in the 1993 made-for-television film Death Train, and the 1992 Star Trek episode “The Inner Light”, playing his son.
56. In 1997, Stewart became engaged to Wendy Neuss, one of the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation. They married on 25 August 2000, and divorced three years later.
57. Four months before his divorce from Neuss, Stewart played opposite actress Lisa Dillon in a production of The Master Builder, and the two were romantically involved until 2007.
58. In 2008, Stewart began dating Sunny Ozell, a singer and songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York, whom Stewart met while performing in Macbeth at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
59. Stewart purchased a home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in August 2012, and subsequently began living there with Ozell.
60. In March 2013, it was reported that Stewart and Ozell were engaged, and they married in September 2013 with Sir Ian McKellen performing the wedding ceremony.
61. Stewart’s politics are rooted in his belief in fairness and equality. He considers himself a socialist and is a member of the Labour Party.
62. Stewart has fantasized about becoming a concert pianist and has worked closely with the American classical pianist Emanuel Ax. The actor has even told the pianist that if he could trade places with anyone, it would be Ax.