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Saturday, 30 December, 2000, 00:55 GMT
Patrick Stewart's life before Star Trek
Face-to-face with his waxwork at Madame Tussauds
Face-to-face with his waxwork at Madame Tussauds
Patrick Stewart, who has been made an OBE, has millions of fans for his role as Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek's Enterprise commander.

But this is only one element of his career - Stewart, 60, is a classically trained actor who joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966, beginning a 27-year association.

As well as appearing in the BBC historical drama serial I, Claudius, he also played the leader of a team of futuristic, avenging mutants in the blockbuster film X-Men.

Stewart, born in the Yorkshire village of Mirfield, began acting in theatre groups in the area from the age of 12.

He left school aged 15 to become a junior reporter on his local newspaper, but had to resign after his editor told him he was spending too much time at the theatre and not enough working.

Stewart and his partner Wendy Neuss
Stewart and his wife Wendy Neuss at the X-Men première
He then earned his keep as a furniture salesman, to pay his way through drama school.

He has won a string of acting awards, including the London Fringe Theatre Best Actor Award 1986, for role of George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Young Vic.

He was also honoured by the New York Theater Critics Drama Desk for best solo performance in 1993, for A Christmas Carol.

And in 1994, the Laurence Olivier Award gave an award to A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic.

As well as being an honorary associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he was given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996.

Stewart
Stewart is a distinguised stage actor
But it is not just his acting skills that get him noticed, however.

The US TV Guide voted Stewart the "most bodacious" male on TV in 1993.

Despite his many accolades, he said: "Actually, I think my appearance in The Simpsons and an appearance that I did on Sesame Street - in praise of the letter B - were perhaps the two most distinguished bits of work that I've done in the US."

He has two children, Sofie and Daniel, from his first marriage to choreographer Sheila Falconer.

Now based in Los Angeles, he married his second wife, TV aide Wendy Nuess, 39, four months ago.

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See also:

16 Aug 00 | Entertainment
X-Men fans mob Stewart
01 May 00 | Entertainment
Stewart slates show producers
17 Jul 00 | Entertainment
'X-factor' grips America
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