Sir Patrick Stewart is an English stage actor whose career, which covers the span of the last fifty years, includes roles on television and in films as well as live performances. Stewart was born in the civil parish of Mirfield, in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England on July 13, 1940. Stewart’s mother’s maiden name was Barrowclough and she was a textile worker and weaver; his father, Alfred Stewart, was in the military. Stewart began acting at the young age of twelve in local drama clubs and was accepted to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School at the age of seventeen. Stewart’s first professional performance was two years later, in 1959, in the repertory theatre in Lincoln. Stewart did a tour around the world with the Old Vic Company in the early 1960’s. Stewart joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 beginning what would become a twenty seven year affiliation with the group.
Television and Film
After receiving the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Anthony and Cleopatra in London’s West End for his stage work; Stewart began branching out to television and film. Although Stewart had several minor roles in television in the late 1960’s, his first major small screen roles were for the British Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts of “Hedda” and “I, Claudius” miniseries which aired in the mid to late 1970’s. Stewart appeared in many television series appearing as Vladimir Lenin in “Fall of Eagles”, Sejanus in “I, Claudius, Karla in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “Smiley’s People”. Stewart also took minor roles in films playing such characters as King Leondegrance in John Boorman’s “Excalibur”, Gurney Halleck in David Lynch’s film “Dune”, and Dr. Armstrong in Tobe Hooper’s “Lifeforce”.