Happy 76th birthday to Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Patrick Stewart, who was born on July 13, 1940 in West Riding of Yorkshire, England and has become a favorite of all Trekkie generations.
His theater, television and film work, as well as his dedication to charity make him an example of talent, hard work and good will for all to admire. Stewart grew up in a poor household where he faced domestic violence problems. He became interested in drama back in 1951, when, aged 11, he entered Mirfield Secondary Modern School. At 15, he left school to increase his participation n the local theater. He also found a job as a newspaper reporter but he would attend rehearsals during his work hours and then invent the stories to report for the newspaper.
Stewart became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 where he appeared next to actors such as Ben Kingsley and Ian Richardson. In January 1967, he made his first TV appearance on Coronation Street as a Fire Officer. For his 1970 Broadway debut, he participated in Peter Brook’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a critically acclaimed production. In 1980, Stewart joined the Royal National Theater in the early 1980s.
His Star Trek TNG work began in 1987 and continued, to the delight of millions of Trekkies, until 1994. In a 1997 interview, Sir Patrick shared his pride of the social and educational message TNG offered to young viewers, “The fact is all of those years in Royal Shakespeare Company – playing all those kings, emperors, princes and tragic heroes – were nothing but preparation for sitting in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise.” He truly made it so exciting, as he engaged the audience at the controls of the legendary starship:
In 2006, Stewart made a video against domestic violence for Amnesty International. He has also established a scholarship at the University of Huddersfield, where he is Chancellor, to fund post-graduate study into domestic violence and has become a patron of Refuge, a UK charity for abused women.
In recent years, Stewart has starred in the critically acclaimed film Green Room and television series Blunt Talk. He will reprise his role as Professor Charles Xavier in the untitled Wolverine sequel, set to hit theaters in 2017.
So happy birthday, sir! A cup of earl gray may be the captain’s favorite but perhaps champagne is in order.