Born to humble beginnings, Sir Patrick Stewart has worked his way up to become one of the most recognizable stars today.
The veteran stage actor was prolific as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for over a decade. However, it wasn’t until the late 1980s that Stewart broke out on screen, portraying Captain Jean-Luc Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Riding that wave, he was cast as the iconic Professor Charles Xavier in the film adaptation of the “X-Men” comic books. This summer, Stewart reprises the role of the mutant Xavier once again in Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
From the actor’s early work as a journalist to his “bodacious man” award, here are 27 things you probably don’t know about Patrick Stewart.
1. Stewart was born in Yorkshire, England to Gladys Barrowclough, a weaver and textile worker, and Alfred Stewart, a Regimental Sergeant Major in the British Army.
2. His father was present during the Dunkirk evacuation in World War II, and suffered shell shock — or post-traumatic stress disorder — as a result. The experience made him difficult and, in a 2008 interview with American Theatre, Stewart called his father “a very potent individual, a very powerful man who got what he wanted.”
3. Stewart has acknowledged that his father’s strong presence during his adolescence undoubtedly inserted itself into his performances throughout his prestigious career.
4. Still in grade school, he got the acting bug when a teacher put a copy of Shakespeare in his hand and told him to perform!
5. When he was 15, Stewart left school and, subsequently, became more involved in local theater. During this time, he also took a job as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer for the Mirfield & District Reporter.
6. According to his brother, Stewart would audition and rehearse during his work hours. So, in order to disguise where he had truly been, the actor would invent the stories he reported!
7. After about a year, his boss forced him to choose between acting or journalism. As you probably guessed, he quit the newspaper gig.
8. He went on to become a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966, and stayed with the troupe until 1982.
9. Stewart made his Broadway debut in a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as Snout. Directed by the legendary Peter Brook, the production later moved to the Royal National Theatre in the early 1980s.
10. Stewart made his TV debut as a fire officer in a 1967 episode of “Coronation Street.” Today, the actor is best known for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and Professor Charles Xavier in the “X-Men” franchise.
11. Despite appearing in numerous productions and many major television series, Stewart did not become a household name until getting cast as the lead in the “Star Trek” series. He was initially skeptical the show would succeed — even waiting to unpack his bags for six weeks — however, the series became a hit and ran from 1987 to 1994.
12. Marina Sirtis, who played Counselor Deanna Troi on the series, credits Stewart with a majority of the show’s success simply because the rest of the cast imitated the veteran actor’s professionalism and dedication to his work.
13. Although the series came to an end in 1994, Stewart did reprise his role several times in the “Star Trek” films, most recently in “Star Trek: Nemesis” (2002). In 2011, he called the role in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” the highlight of his career.
14. Stewart lost his hair when he was only 19! He said, “I believed that no woman would ever be interested in me again.”
15. Yet, despite his lack of hair, he was voted TV’s most bodacious man in 1992 for his work on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” That same year, Cindy Crawford was the most bodacious woman.
16. Stewart has been married three times, beginning with his marriage to Sheila Falconer. Stewart and Falconer were married for 24 years and have two children together, Daniel and Sophia, before divorcing in 1990.
17. An actor as well, Daniel appeared alongside his father in “Death Train,” the 1993 TV movie, and a 1992 “Star Trek” episode (“The Inner Light”), where he played his son.
18. In 2000, Stewart wed Wendy Neuss, but the marriage was short-lived and the couple called it quits after three years.
19. In 2013, the 73-year-old Stewart married Sunny Ozell, a 35-year-old musician.
20. His best friend and fellow actor, Ian McKellen, performed the wedding ceremony.
21. Their friendship may be the greatest thing the internet has ever seen. Just look at these photos.
22. They have also both been knighted! Stewart was made a Knight Bachelor in 2010 for his service to drama. McKellen, meanwhile, received the honor in 1991.
23. Stewart was the original narrator of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” however, director Tim Burton eventually cut most his narration and even changed the voice. The film’s composer, Danny Elfman, kept Stewart’s original recording in his soundtrack because he liked the actor’s reading better.
25. Politically, the actor identifies as a socialist and is a member of the Labour Party in the UK.
26. 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.
27. It’s also possible that Stewart invented the “Quadruple Take.”