Star Trek actor Stewart knighted
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | 12:59 PM ET
Actor Patrick Stewart recalled how a former teacher set him on the path to his career after being knighted Wednesday by the Queen.
The star who played Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: the Next Generation, also has a long pedigree as a stage actor.
He called his knighting "an unlooked-for honour."
Stewart recalled his childhood heroes — Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Alec Guinness — all greats of British theatre.
"The knights of the theatre represented to me not only the pinnacle of the profession but the esteem in which the profession was held," he said.
"And now to find myself, to my astonishment, in that company is the grandest thing that has professionally happened to me."
The 69-year-old actor said it was his English teacher Cecil Dormand who first encouraged him to consider acting as a profession.
"He was the one that put a copy of Shakespeare in my hand [and] said, 'Now get up on your feet and perform,'" Stewart said.
"Although many people in my life have had great influence on me, without this man none of it would have happened."
Dormand had the seat of honour beside Stewart at a dinner to celebrate his knighthood on Wednesday.
Yorkshire-born Stewart was classically trained and spent more than 20 years as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company before starring in Star Trek and the X-Men films.
He will chair a jury and speak at the Edinburgh Film Festival later this month.
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