Perhaps best known for his work as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Patrick Stewart is actually a veteran actor with a wide body of theater work. He's currently appearing on Broadway in Arthur Miller's The Ride Down Mount Morgan, which had been nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play but didn't win.
He got up earlier than usual one day to talk about it on The Early Show with CBS News Correspondent Russ Mitchell.
Said Stewart, "Usually, I'm still recovering from the previous night's performance at this time. Nevertheless, I'm happy to be here."
It took 10 years to bring Mount Morgan to Broadway, although it had been produced in London and in Williamstown, Mass. Miller tinkered with the script, and then a production, with Stewart, was mounted again at New York's Public Theatre, an off-Broadway venue, where it played for less than a month.
"When it was over, for me, the play was unfinished business," Stewart added.
In Mount Morgan, Stewart plays a self-centered bigamist who gets busted when he crashes his Porsche and goes to the hospital and both wives show up. Still, Stewart says, it is his "lust for life" that makes him endearing.
"His commitment to both of his wives and to his families. His energy and his humor, his determination to suck life dry, if he can," says the actor. "Unfortunately, he creates devastation around him while doing that You know, a lot of couples could save themselves money and therapy by coming to see The Ride Down Mount Morgan."
Stewart made headlines early in the Broadway run of Mount Morgan by using a couple of curtain calls to make a speech criticizing the play's producers for not properly publicizing it. He was ordered by Actors Equity to apologize.
"I regret the venue," Patrick says. "I regret I chose the stage to make this speech. It was inappropriate, and in the apology I made, I acknowledged it as being inappropriate, and I apologized for the embarrassment I caused the producers. At the time, I had strong feelings about what happened. Equity and the ruling that they made, I thought, was extremely fair and very just, as far as I was concerned."
If he had to if you had to do it over again, he says he would do it differently.
"I think it was a hot-headed action at the time that grew out of frustration, and there is always an alternative way of doing something, and I would look for an alternative," he explains.
For Stewart, another Star Trek movie is in the works. But, before that, July 15 will see the release of X-Men, the big-screen adaptation of the popular comic book series, in which he plays Professor Xavier.
|FAST FACTS ABOUT PATRICK STEWART|
- Born in Milford, Yorkshire, England on July 13, 1940 and began performing with local drama groups at age 12.
- Left school at 15 to work as junior reporter on local paper. He quit when an editor told him he was spending too much time at the theater and not enough time at the paper.
- Spent a year as furniture salesman, to save money for drama school.
- He was accepted at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 1957, and two years later made his professional stage debut in a production of Treasure Island. He toured the world with the Old Vic Company in the early '60s.
- In 1996 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed with them for the next 27 years. He had a brief stint with the Royal National Theatre in the mid-'80s and made his way to Hollywood.
- After small roles in movies such as Dune, he won the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the surprise hit series Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. He stayed on for seven seasons and has reprised his role in subsequent Star Trek films.
- He married former Star Trek: Voyager Producer Wendy Neuss in 1996.
- Besides being recognized as a sex symbol for his looks, his voice has been prominent in animated movies and television shows, and he has worked as a narrator in several Porsche commercials.
- X-Men (2000)
- A Christmas Carol (1999) (TV)
- Animal Farm (1999) (TV) (voice)
- Safe House (1999)
- Star Trek: Armada (1999)
- Star Trek: Hidden Evil (1999)
- The Prince of Egypt (1998) (voice)
- Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
- Dad Savage (1998)
- Moby Dick (1998) (TV)
- Masterminds (1997)
- Conspiracy Theory (1997)
- Whales (1997) (voice)
- Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
- The Canterville Ghost (1996) (TV)
- Let It Be Me (1995)
- Jeffrey (1995)
- The Pagemaster (1994) (voice)
- Star Trek: Generations (1994)
- Gunmen (1994)
- In Search of Dr. Seuss (1994) (TV)
- Stargazers (1994) (TV) (voice)
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
- Death Train (1993) (TV)
- The Secret of Life on Earth (1993) (voice)
- Space Age (1992) (host)
- L.A. Story (1991)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) (TV series)
- Lady Jane (1986)
- Lifeforce (1985)
- Wild Geese II (1985)
- Code Name: Emerald (1985)
- The Doctor and the Devils (1985)
- Dune (1984)
- Pope John Paul II (1984) (TV)
- Uindii (1984)
- Smiley's People (1982) (miniseries)
- The Plague Dogs (1982) (voice)
- Excalibur (1981)
- Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980) (V)
- Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1980) (TV)
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1980) (miniseries)
- When the Actors Come (1978) (TV)
- I, Claudius (1976) (miniseries)
- The Madness (1976) (TV)
- Hennessy (1975)
- Hedda (1975)
- Antony and Cleopatra (1974) (TV)
- A Fall of Eagles (1973) (miniseries)