Sir Patrick Stewart shared a story of a teacher who changed his life
Cecil Dormand passed away earlier this year, and while that name might not mean anything to us, it was the name of the man who changed Sir Patrick Stewart’s life so many years ago. Dormand was the teacher that gave Stewart a copy of his first Shakespeare novel, which might seem like a simple thing, especially considering Dormand was his teacher, but it was the catalyst for a major change.
In an essay Stewart wrote for The Guardian, he describes how getting a copy of The Merchant of Venice changed his life. It was the first time the actor, known for portraying Captain (and now Admiral) Jean-Luc Picard since 1987, had read Shakespeare, and after reading the first line “I have possessed your grace of what I purpose,” Stewart said “A 400-year-old writer reached out a hand in invitation to me that morning.”
From that point forward, Sir Patrick Stewart was on a different path
Dormand saw something in Stewart, and he cast him in a play that started a love of acting. It was the teacher who asked Stewart if he’d ever considered taking up acting as a career. While the question made Stewart laugh at the time, two years later, he was offered a scholarship to Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for formal acting lessons.
Stewart never forgot Dormand. In fact, he stayed in touch with his former teacher and even presented him with an honorary degree when Stewart served as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield. Dormand was also on hand when Stewart was knighted by the Queen. The 81-year-old actor who is starring in Star Trek: Picard, calls Dormand “the most significant person in my life.”
"“He saved me when I was a boy and my education was failing – and has without doubt been the most significant person in my life. If I had not met Cec, what would have happened to me? I am so grateful for his belief in me. Rest in peace, Sir.”"
Stewart isn’t the only one thankful to Cecil Dormand as every Star Trek fans owes him a debt of gratitude. Because of him, we got to know Captain Jean-Luc Picard. No one else could have taken his place aboard the Enterprise. We are very thankful, indeed.