Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sir Patrick Stewart, Gentleman

Sir Patrick Stewart.  My, that name sounds pretentious.  Luckily, the man behind the name is not.  When I first started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on television (back when I watched TV), I was smitten with this British gent.  Who wasn’t?  What do you call someone who loves everything associated with England?  An Anglophile?  Well, I probably qualified.  I grew up watching the original series Star Trek, but I liked the second one just as well as a teen and young adult. 

When I first moved to Los Angeles and was working as a nanny, I remember watching the show with the boys I was caring for.  My few hours of television watching in the late evening were my only hours “off” work.  My days were long, and I worked six days a week, usually from 7am until 8 or 9pm.  But, the boys would cry on the floor outside my shut and locked bedroom door, so I usually let them in and we sat on my bed and watched TNG together even though it was my down time.  Oh, well.  Now that I was in Los Angeles, I was sad that TNG had completed filming.  However, my boss whom I nannied for knew of my love of all things Trek, so after the Northridge Earthquake when they moved to Florida, he helped get me a job at Paramount Pictures, where TNG had been shot.  From there, I ended up working on two seasons of DS9, and got a crack at the studio portion of the TNG movie First Contact from the Voyager 1st AD, Jerry Fleck, who liked my work ethic and hustle while I was working on DS9.  I was thrilled when Jerry told me I’d gotten the job.  How strange it was, to be working on a show I’d admired previously only on the television screen!

My first day of work as a Production Assistant on Star Trek: First Contact could have been my last.  One of my job responsibilities was to get the cast breakfast.  For some reason most of the cast had early call times (when actors have to show up on set) and Mr. Stewart had a later call.  I had handled breakfast just fine for all the other cast and people that I was responsible for, but I forgot all about Mr. Stewart.  I saw him walk into the sound stage and notice other actors eating.  With a sinking heart, I sucked it up and walked over to him.  Introducing myself, I said, “Hello Mr. Stewart, I’m your new Set Production Assistant Kerry and I forgot your breakfast order.  May I please get you something?” I was so afraid he was going to get angry and demand my resignation.  Instead, he smiled and said, “Don’t worry, I know where the Craft Service table is.  I’ll get a croissant and a coffee, and we’ll try it again tomorrow.  Shall we?”  YES.  I could have kissed his feet.  And so, my first day was NOT my last after all.  Thank goodness, and him!

That pretty much sums up the character of Sir Patrick Stewart.  Sure, everyone has bad days.  However, I honestly never saw him have one while on First Contact – or maybe how he handles a bad day is preferable to the ways some other actors have them!  I truly believe that the content of someone’s character is tested by how they treat those who have nothing to offer them. 
Since then, I have kept track of him and his doings out in the world.  With appreciation,I see him becoming an advocate for victims of domestic violence.  Apparently, his own family of origin experienced domestic violence, his mother being the prime victim of his father, a veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.   

This is yet another example of why I am delighted to be able to put together a blog like this showcasing interesting things that actors on Star Trek are doing in their own lives.   I am happy to be able to advertise this aspect of him.  He is a wonderful human being, I am lucky to have gotten to work with him. 

For more information on domestic violence prevention, visit http://www.thehotline.org/.  Please take some time to find out what resources are available in your own area.  Do what you can to support these services or make use of them.  If Patrick Stewart can take a stand against this, so can you and I. 

If you need any inspiration, please watch this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX8h4V4Ny9o


Thank you, Sir Patrick.