Patrick Stewart was born on July 13, 1940, to Gladys, a weaver and Alfred Steward, a Sergeant Major in the British Army. His siblings include Geoffrey and Trevor, both of whom are elder to him. He had a troubled childhood and witnessed physical abuse inflicted on his mother by his father.
He was educated at ‘Crowlees Church of England Junior and Infants School’ and later at ‘Mirfield Secondary Modern School’.
Cecil Dormand, an English teacher, at ‘Crowlees Church of England Junior and Infants School’ nurtured his acting talent and persuaded him to act in Shakespearean plays.
Acting became a passion for Stewart when he was just 12 and he performed in local drama groups. At the age of 15, he worked as a junior reporter and obituary writer for ‘Mirfield & District Reporter’, but quit the job when the editor of the newspaper asked him to choose between writing and acting.
He worked as a furniture salesman for a year to save money to get into a drama school. After saving enough money, he attended an eighty day drama course.
In 1957, he enrolled at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He made his professional debut a couple of years later, at the repertory theatre in Lincoln and then at the ‘Manchester’s Library Theatre’.
In 1966, he joined the ‘Royal Shakespeare Company’ and remained associated with the company till the early 1980s.
In 1971, he made his Broadway appearance as Snout in Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. A couple of years later, he started performing in minor roles in the television serials and in British and American films.
In 1987, he went to Los Angeles and gained international popularity after he was cast as ‘Captain Jean-Luc Picard’ in the science-fiction series ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG)’ that ran for seven years until 1994.
The success he gained as ‘Captain Jean-Luc Picard’ earned him four more Star Trek films, namely, ‘Star Trek: Generations’, ‘Star Trek: First Contact’, ‘Star Trek: Insurrection’, and ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’ during the period spanning from 1994 to 2002.
His role as Professor Xavier in the ‘X-Men’, an American blockbuster film released in 2000, earned him great popularity and he acted in the two sequels of the film as well.
Owing to his impeccable British accent he received offers for lending his voice to comic cartoon characters in TV shows. He lent his voice to animated movies like ‘Gnomeo &Juliet’, released in 2011 and ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’, released in 2012.
Though he has established himself as a great actor in the Broadway Theater, Stewart still loves to perform at the Shakespearean Theatre, from where he was trained.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND AWARDS
His role as ‘Captain Jean-Luc Picard’ in the science-fiction series ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ was a huge success and it ran for seven years from 1987-1994.
Among the audio recordings, his recording for ‘Peter and the Wolf ’garnered great appreciation and earned him several awards.
He was the winner of the ‘Laurence Olivier Award’ in 1979, for his portrayal in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, an RSC production.
In 1996, for his voice role in‘Peter and the Wolf’ he received a Grammy Award for ‘Best Spoken Word Album for Children’.
He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2001.
In 2010, he was made the Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to drama..