"What's wrong, Captain Picard?"
Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE
"What's wrong? I'm a serious, Shakespearian actor
, and I'm talking to the ambassador of the FUCKING WORM PEOPLE!"
(July 13, 1940-), is a British actor best known for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation
and Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men
Stewart was born in Mirfield, West Yorkshire
, studying drama at the Bristol Old Vic theatre school before moving on to the Royal Shakespeare Company. He had lost most of his hair by the age of 19, and impressed during his audition for the Old Vic by performing both with and without a wig and proclaiming himself to be "two actors for the price of one".
While at the RSC, Stewart had small parts in several movies (including Dune
, before being cast as a relative unknown in Star Trek
Stewart has always laughed off those who suggest that, as a classically-trained actor, he was "slumming it" in things like Star Trek
- he suggested that in fact, all the kings and emperors that he had played with the RSC were merely preparation for the iconic role of captaining the new Starship Enterprise
Similarly, Stewart has always tried to remain in touch with his theatrical roots - spending a season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in his native Leeds, he had little time for critics who suggested that this was all the work he could find - he was doing it because he wanted to do it
. His various theatre roles include playing Othello
among an otherwise entirely black cast. Amusingly, at first he was one of the few TNG castmembers who took their job fully seriously and didn't mess around on-set
, until he loosened up and, according to co-star LeVar Burton
, would mess around and wreak havoc with the best of them.
Stewart is also Claudius (and King Hamlet) opposite David Tennant
as well as becoming a regular on Seth MacFarlane's American Dad!
, as the amoral, James Bond-esque CIA Director Avery Bullock.
in the 2010 New Year Honours List for services to drama. He still contributes to his local community, being the chancellor of the nearby University of Huddersfield and having been president of the local football (soccer) academy since his return to the UK in 2004.
Provides examples of:
- Acting for Two: More like Acting for Fifty. He put on a one-man stage production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, in which he played every character.
- Adam Westing: His role on American Dad! is essentially the writers trying to cram everything that would sound ridiculous coming out of Picard's mouth into the script.
- Bald of Awesome: Many of his roles. A reporter questioned his casting in Star Trek, saying "By the 24th century, wouldn't they have cured baldness?" Roddenberry's response: "In the 24th century, they wouldn't care."
- Classically Trained Extra: Inverted: Once a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he said it was good practice for playing Picard, and has never tried to distance himself from the role. He probably would have told off Frankie Boyle for the page quote. He's still a highly respected Shakespearian actor, though he reportedly refuses to say any of Picard's trademark lines during his other roles - though there are exceptions: Occasionally on American Dad!, but then that's one of the jokes of his character in that show. His appearance as himself in Extras, in keeping with the persona he played or this brief appearance with The Count on Sesame Street. He also likes to avoid typecasting by intentionally taking humorous and silly roles to contrast with his normally serious and stoic screen persona.
- Facepalm: The patron saint of facepalms from his TNG days. Facepalm reaction images on the internet are more likely to be of Picard than anyone else.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: His voice is instantly recognizable anywhere you go. Just for fun, read this entire article with his voice.
- Ink-Suit Actor:
- In American Dad!, the character he plays, Bullock, is designed to resemble Stewart. This is particularly noticeable in Family Guy gags involving Patrick Stewart, in which they use the exact same character model as they do for Bullock.
- A strange case in X-Men: Evolution. While he didn't do the voice acting for that show, the creators designed Professor X to look like Stewart, having been inspired by his performance in the X-Men films. This trend carried on into Wolverine and the X-Men and other media where the character appears.
- Large Ham: When he's having fun, Stewart can ham it up with the best of them. For a good example, see the MoneySupermarket ads in the UK. Behold the glory of his appearance on The Daily Show "disguised" as John Oliver here.
- Money, Dear Boy: His role in Wild Geese 2. He urgently needed money for an expensive home repair job and that was the first role he was offered upon receiving the bill from the repairman.
- Mostly Narmless: He's highly renowned for being able to deliver any material he's given, no matter how ridiculous, with utter sincerity. This served him well during the dodgier episodes of TNG.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The only man who can pull off a French Captain with Yorkshire inflections. For example: playing a French Maitre d'. Rarely mentioned nowadays, but Professor X is supposed to be American.
- Not so Above It All: Patrick Stewart initially didn't appreciate how his castmates would crack jokes and pull pranks on one another while on the set of TNG and even went so far as to call a cast meeting to address the issue, saying that he thought such behavior was unprofessional and disrespectful to the crew. The others showed him that they were serious about their jobs and convinced him that a bit of levity on set made working on a show like Star Trek much easier. When that happened, Stewart showed that he could keep up with the best of them in the jokes and pranks department.
- Older than They Look: He initially looked much older due to his hair loss but doesn't seem to have aged a day since his time on Star Trek. He is now seventy-three and looks to be in his mid-fifties at most. Must be all the Earl Grey tea.
- One of Us: He is a classically trained Shakespearean actor who is also a big fan of Beavis And Butthead, Red Dwarf, and Transmetropolitan.
- Patrick Stewart Speech: The Trope Namer, with good reason too. Who wouldn't want to listen to him? He's also been known to give his own such speeches out of character, for instance this speech in answer to a fan's question about his work for Domestic Abuse victims.
- Personal Arcade: Has his own Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball, as thanks for participating in its development. He's said he still plays it regularly.
- Playing Against Type:
- His flaming Camp Gay turn as an interior decorator in Jeffrey
- His role as Bullock on American Dad!, the writers even specifically said they try to make Patrick do as much silly things as then can with him in the show.
- Prematurely Bald: It made him more recognizable.
- Promoted Fanboy: On the 10th anniversary night for Red Dwarf, he gave the opening introduction while delivering the Rimmer salute.
- Sesame Street Cred: Has appeared on Sesame Street multiple times, including once when he got to stretch his classical legs by delivering a soliloquy titled "B or not a B."
- Shakespearian Actors
- In the afore mentioned brief appearance on Sesame Street, he uses his classic order of "Make it so, Number One." to get the literal number 1 to get back in line.
- During his appearance on Extras, Gervais asks him to give his script to someone he knows, and he says he'll "make it so" (and then seems baffled that the man has never seen Star Trek: The Next Generation).
- Sophisticated as Hell: He's a Shakespearean actor who admittedly loves cartoons. In one David Letterman interview he said the two things he'd miss most if he went back to England would be valet parking and... Beavis And Butthead.
- The West Country: He learned his art at the Bristol Old Vic theatre.
- What Could Have Been:
- He's a big fan of Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan (he even wrote an introduction for volume 5) and at one point was being considered for the role of Spider Jerusalem in a movie adaptation. When that fell straight into Development Hell, Ellis instead cast him as the father of one of Spider's Filthy Assistants.
- His personal interference prevented Star Trek: First Contact from being a Time Travel farce about Captain Picard impersonating the injured inventor of the warp drive.
- He auditioned as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation which is Hilarious in Hindsight as Brent Spiner eventually wanted out of playing Data because he didn't think he could pull off an ageless android.
- He was up for the role of Jafar in Disney's Aladdin, but couldn't fit it into his schedule (since he was filming TNG at the time). He considers not voicing Jafar one of his biggest career regrets.
- He was a candidate for Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin.
- His role as Jean-Luc Picard was originally offered to Edward James Olmos.
- He was considered for the role in Community that went to Chevy Chase.
- He has always lamented the fact that he was never tapped for a role in the Harry Potter movies.