Creator / Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE
(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
and he did the same in an 1980s BBC-TV production with Derek Jacobi
as Hamlet. Stewart also became a regular on Seth MacFarlane's American Dad!
, as the amoral, James Bond-esque CIA Director Avery Bullock.
He is a highly vocal figure in the fight against domestic violence, his father having been abusive towards his mother. More recently, having learned of his father's experiences in World War II and the long-term effects of PTSD, he's also begun campaigning for counseling and treatment of violent men, particularly combat veterans.
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.
"You are a complicated man, Smith. I would love to do mushrooms with you."
- 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." He even got to do Bald of Evil a few times, in movies like Conspiracy Theory, Moby-Dick, Masterminds, and The Prince of Egypt.
- Brief Accent Imitation: In a 2014 appearance on NPR's Wait Wait Dont Tell Me (he's appeared on the show several times), Stewart did the Opening Narration for Star Trek: The Next Generation with a French accent, and commented that the silly result was the real-life reason Picard didn't have one.
Stewart: Space... ze final frontier.
- Camp Straight: So, so much.
- 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'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.
- Dodgy Toupee:
- He used to have an entire collection of them, in various styles, when he was a younger actor starting out and would try and use them as leverage when auditioning for parts (because he could easily change his look as required and he'd save the hair and makeup department time and money). He eventually got rid of them.
- When he was auditioning for the role of Picard, some executives were worried that his baldness would be a distraction to the audience. Roddenberry had him audition bald and again with the worst toupee they could get their hands on to drive home the point that the strength of Stewart's acting was what was important.
- Facepalm: The patron saint of this from his TNG days. Facepalm reaction images on the internet are more likely to be of Picard than anyone else.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ian McKellen (if you discount the "heterosexual" part as regards McKellen).
- Hey, It's That Voice!: His voice is instantly recognizable anywhere you go. Just for fun, read this entire article with his voice.
- I Am Very British: Grew up speaking a Yorkshire accent as well as the local dialect but now always speaks with a smart RP accent.
- 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. Likewise, this story about him on set, as told by Michael Dorn.
- 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.
- His primary motivation for taking on the role of Picard. He wasn't particularly enthused about TNG, at first, and thought the show would be quickly canceled so he took the role thinking that he'd be able to make some cash before going back to theatre roles in Britainnote . To his surprise, the show was a success and he began to realize the impact Star Trek and its characters had on people, leading him to become one of Star Trek's most vocal advocates.
- 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.
- Never Heard That One Before: His annoyed reaction on Twitter to a cable company who tried to smooth over their bad service by assuring him their support teams were "fully engaged" and they would "make it so":
Impertinent, presumptuous. And so..."original".
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The only man who can pull off a French Captain with pure Received Pronunciation and occassional 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 in his seventies 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: He lost all of his hair by age 19. Eventually, 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 (he was offered a multitude of roles in the Disney Renaissance projects made during TNGs' run and Jeffrey Katzenberg's Disney tenure, but he couldn't take any of these roles). 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.
- In general, he has a habit of speaking eloquently and suddenly dropping a swearword.
As the narrator in Ted:
No matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you're Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody gives a shit.
- 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 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.
- After Vincent Price became too sick to play Santa Claus in The Nightmare Before Christmas, Stewart was the first choice to replace him, though he ended up not having time to record his lines. He still provides the opening narration on the soundtrack, as well as a scrapped closing speech, in character as Santa.
- He was a candidate for Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin.
- His role as Jean-Luc Picard was originally offered to Edward James Olmos. Olmos did get a starship to command, but a lot later.
- 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.