Patrick Stewart, a British stage veteran who spent 27 years with the Royal Shakespeare Co., achieved his greatest fame as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," the most successful of the "Star Trek" television spinoffs.
Stewart is known for his distinctive bullet-shaped, hairless head, often a source of jokes when he joined the series in 1987. He liked to recall what Gene Roddenberry, the creator of "Star Trek," once said about Picard's character. Upon hearing a reporter remark, "Surely they would have cured baldness by the 24th century," Roddenberry countered, "In the 24th century, they wouldn't care."
Born in Mirfield, England, in 1940, Stewart dropped out of school at age 15 and joined a theater troupe while working as a newspaper reporter. Given an ultimatum by his boss — choose acting or journalism — Stewart quit the paper. He lost most of his hair while young, but auditioned with and without a wig and promoted himself to theater producers as "two actors for the price of one."
Stewart went on to play Picard in the feature films "Star Trek: Generations," "Star Trek: First Contact," "Star Trek: Insurrection" and "Star Trek: Nemesis." He was voted "sexiest man on television" in 1992 by TV Guide magazine. After divorcing his first wife, Stewart was married for three years to Wendy Neuss, one of the producers of "Next Generation." Soon thereafter, he left Los Angeles, where he had lived for years, to return to Britain and become involved again in theater.