Mirfield-born actor Patrick Stewart to be knighted?
Dec 21 2009 by Barry Gibson, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
PATRICK Stewart looks set to be knighted in the New Year’s honours list.
The Mirfield-born actor is due to be recognised for his services to drama, according to reports – but nothing is ever officially revealed until New Year’s Day itself.
Mr Stewart, 69, shot to fame in 1987 playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
He was appointed chancellor of the University of Huddersfield in 2004.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Bob Cryan, spoke about the knighthood speculation yesterday.
“If it’s true it would be fantastic,’’ he said. “But we won’t find out until the New Year. I think it’s long overdue – he’s a superb actor whose range includes Shakespeare and Star Trek.
“If this is true it really provides tremendous inspiration for people in this area because he’s a local lad who’s gone on to do absolutely fantastic things. To go from his humble beginnings to a knighthood would be absolutely beautiful.”
Prof Cryan thinks Mr Stewart is a valuable ambassador for the university.
“He promotes us all round the world,’’ he said. “It’s a massive advantage for us. People might not have heard of Huddersfield, but they’ve heard of Patrick Stewart.”
Prof Cryan added that the Hollywood star was also involved in the teaching side of the university.
“Patrick’s also a professor at the university who takes drama masterclasses,’’ he said.
“It builds the students’ confidence when someone of his experience takes time to help them.
“If he’s Professor Sir Patrick Stewart in the New Year, that would be even better.”
Prof Cryan added that Mr Stewart was a modest man, with or without a knighthood.
“He’s just a really nice guy, pleasant to get on with and totally unassuming,’’ he said. “You never feel like you’re talking to a Hollywood star.”
Mr Stewart was born in Mirfield in 1940. During his childhood he often witnessed his father, Alfred, beating his mother, Gladys. In later life, Mr Stewart became the patron of the charity Refuge, which helps victims of domestic violence.
He went to Crowlees CE Junior and Infants School and Mirfield Secondary Modern, dropping out aged 15.
In 1957, he took a two-year acting course in Bristol before performing with the Manchester Library Theatre.
From 1966 to 1982 he worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing alongside actors such as Ian Richardson and Ben Kingsley.
He won the part of Captain Jean Luc-Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. The TV series ran for seven years, followed by four films.
Mr Stewart has starred in other Hollywood movies, including the X Men series.
He has been married twice and has a son and a daughter.
Mr Stewart was given an OBE in the 2001 New Year’s honours list.