British stage and screen actor Patrick Stewart is widely known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the leader of the space ship Enterprise, in the series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-1994). Aside from the Golden Globe-nominated role, he is also famous as the wheel chaired Professor Xavier in the X-Men franchise: X-Men (2000), X2 (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
Stewart first achieved critical acclaim through his stage performances in such plays as “Antony and Cleopatra” (1979, as Enobarbus, won a Society of West End Award), “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1986, starred as George, netted a London Fringe Theatre Award) and “A Christmas Carol” (1989, did a one-man show, collected a New York Theater Critics Drama Desk Award and a Laurence Olivier Award). Adding to his stage accomplishments, Stewart reaped such awards as a Family Film Award for his role of Sir Simon de Canterville in his self-produced The Canterville Ghost (1996), a Grammy Award for his narrative work in the recording of Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf (1996) and a Western Heritage Award for playing ranch tycoon John Lear in the adaptation of Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” King of Texas (2002). As a one-of-a-kind performer, he was also named the 1993 US TV Guide’s “Most Bodacious Male on TV” and the Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Outside the limelight, the “Sexiest Man on TV,” according to the 1992 TV Guide readers’ poll, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 16. 1996. Additionally, he received the Order of the British Empire in January 2001 and the position of Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield in November 2003. Stewart, who is also the voice behind the Porsche commercials, had to undergo heart surgery to widen an artery in August 2004.
Stewart is the ex-husband of Sheila Falconer (1966-1990) and Wendy Neuss (2000-2003). Stewart is now seeing young actress Lisa Dillon (24 years old). Previously, he was once engaged to Meredith Baer, but the relationship did not last very long.
Childhood and Family:
Patrick Stewart was born on July 13, 1940, in Mirfield, Yorkshire, England. He is one of three sons born to Alfred (soldier) and Gladys (weaver).
Living in a supportive family environment, 12 year old Patrick enrolled in an eight-day drama course. Three years later, while working as a local newspaper reporter, he would sneak out and join rehearsals instead of finding news. After being dismissed by his employer, Patrick was even more determined to pursue his true calling. He later attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
As for his married life, on March 3, 1966, Patrick married choreographer Sheila Falconer, but the knot was broken in 1990. The couple shares a son named Daniel Freedom Stewart (born in 1968) and a daughter named Sophie Alexandra Falconer Stewart (born in 1973). Ten years after the breakup, Patrick exchanged wedding vows with TV producer Wendy Neuss (born in 1961). However, in 2003, the couple filed for legal separation.
Quitting journalism, Patrick Stewart went to Sheffield and became a member of a theater group called the Playhouse Theatre, in 1959. The same year, he also made his first professional stage performance as Morgan in “Treasure Island,” with the Lincoln Repertory Company. He then joined the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Company for a season and toured Australia, New Zealand and South America (also with Vivien Leigh). After his London stage debut, playing the second witness in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of “The Investigation” (1966), Stewart was employed as an associate artist. The numerous experiences brought him to Broadway, where he portrayed Snout in Peter Brook’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1971).
Returning to the UK, Stewart was seen on the small screen with a role in an episode of “Play for Today” (1973) and followed it up with his TV film debut as Enobarbus in the small screen version of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra (1974). He also tried the silver screen by playing Ejlert Løvborg in the Oscar-nominated drama Hedda (1975), before taking the part of Sejanus in the acclaimed miniseries, “I, Claudius” (1976). Stewart next guest starred as the Reader in “Jackanory” (1977) and had the role of Janos in Don Taylor’s revival of his play When the Actors Come (1978, TV).
Re-teaming with Peter Brook, Stewart reprised his role of Enobarbus in “Antony and Cleopatra” (1979) and took home a Society of West End award for Best Supporting Actor. The actor then starred as Claudius in the TV movie Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1980), before moving to the Arthurian legend in the motion picture Excalibur (1981, played Leondegrance). Stewart also voiced Major in the animated movie The Plague Dogs (1982) and Lord Yupa in the English version of the Japanese animated Kaze no tani no Naushika (1984).
After appearing as Professor Macklin in the horror drama The Doctor and the Devils (1985), the multi-talented actor amazed audiences with his leading stage role of George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1986), where he won a London Fringe Theatre award for Best Actor. On the screen, Stewart undertook the turn of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, in the historical drama movie Lady Jane (1986), before making another breakthrough. Astonished by the actor’s aptitude, creator Gene Roddenberry cast him as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the leader of the space ship Enterprise, in the international hit series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-1994). Captain Picard eventually became his first signature role and brought him a Screen Actors Guild nomination in 1995.
Meanwhile, the stage performer still received critical praise after doing a one-man show in his co-adapted version of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” (1989). Thanks to his flawless work, in 1993 he was handed a New York Theater Critics Drama Desk for Best Solo Performance and a Laurence Olivier for Best Entertainment the following year. He made his stage directorial debut with a musical revival of Tom Stoppard’s “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” (1992), a benefit performance for Amnesty International. The performer also found success when he portrayed Prospero in New York Shakespeare Festival Central Park’s production of “The Tempest” (1995), which was then restaged on Broadway. As a cast member of the popular Star Trek, he stepped forward to the director’s chair by helming four episodes of the series (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994) and worked on other performances, such as King Richard in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), Sergeant Mulvaney in the made-for-TV family comedy In Search of Dr. Seuss (1994) and as Sterling in the drama comedy Jeffrey (1995).
The recipient of the 1993 US TV Guide award for “Most Bodacious Male on TV,” Stewart gained vast critical appreciation during 1996-1997. Starring as Sir Simon de Canterville in his producing debut (as co-producer) in the TV family drama The Canterville Ghost (1996), the actor netted a Family Film award for Best Actor in TV. Interestingly, he took home a Grammy for Spoken Word Album for Children, thanks to his narrative work in the recording of Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf (1996). Stewart continued his award-winning turn, this time as Dr. Jonas, in Richard Donner’s thriller movie Conspiracy Theory (1997), in which he nabbed a Blockbuster Entertainment for Favorite Supporting Actor in Suspense.
Everything Stewart touched seemed to turn to gold. He had the titular role in the groundbreaking production of “Othello” (1997) and undertook a leading role in the limited run of Arthur Miller’s play “The Ride Down Mt. Morgan” (1998), before gaining another small screen triumph with the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated role of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick (1998, TV). In DreamWorks’ popular animated The Prince of Egypt, he lent his voice for Pharaoh Seti I, as well as sang “Humanity.” The associate producer of Star Trek: Insurrection (1998, also reprised the role of Captain Picard), Stewart executive produced the revival of his play A Christmas Carol (1999, TV). In the screen version of the play, he also starred as Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge and received a Screen Actors Guild nomination.
The director of the series “Hollywood Update” (2000), Stewart expanded his reputation among younger audience throughout the world with the starring turn as Professor Charles Xavier in Bryan Singer’s adaptation of the Marvel comics X-Men (2000). After voicing King Goobot in an episode of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001), he convincingly portrayed ranch tycoon John Lear in his executive produced adaptation of Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” King of Texas (2002). For his performance in the latter, Stewart was handed a Bronze Wrangler from the 2003 Western Heritage awards.
Stewart went to his next commercial success by reprising his role of the wheelchair-bound Prof. Xavier in X2 (2003), which was followed by his Golden Globe nominated role of King Henry II in The Lion in Winter (2004, also executive produced). During 2004-2005, the actor did a lot of voice work and was heard in Dragons’ World: A Fantasy Made Real (2004, TV) and Chicken Little (2005, as Mr. Woolensworth).
An Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stewart took part in the third sequel of X-Men titled X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), this time for director Brett Ratner. Still in 2006, the actor had a regular role in the thriller series “Eleventh Hour,” as Professor Ian Hood. He also provided his voice for The Great Prince/Stag in Disney’s animated movie Bambi II (2006).