Science fiction luminary and Broadway star Sir Patrick Stewart has opened up about his support of assisted suicide, publicly proclaiming his advocacy for a bill currently before the British House of Lords.
Stewart revealed his feelings on the matter in an interview with British daytime program This Morning. Speaking with hosts Marvin and Rochelle Humes, the 74-year-old X-men and Star Trek actor revealed that although he has always been in favor of physician-assisted suicide, his advocacy for the issue was galvanized by the plight of a childhood friend, David.
Sir Patrick Stewart: Assisted Dying Bill is about compassion and life not about killing people http://t.co/99DX9nYFOd pic.twitter.com/Q0qndh7SFZ
— Mirror TV (@MirrorTV) July 18, 2014
Stewart told the hosts that David's partner, Gillian, was afflicted with multiple cancers, suffering "extreme pain, and in the last few months the palliative care couldn't help." Gillian tried to take her own life once, Stewart related, overdosing in a failed attempt that was "very distressing" for the pair. Eventually, Stewart said, Gillian succeeded in taking her own life, suffocating herself with a plastic bag. Stewart said that the story moved him to become a patron of Dignity in Dying:
"The one aspect of their story that distresses me the most is the loneliness, she didn't tell David as she was was protecting him. If he had cooperated in any way he could have served up to 12 years in prison, it's a criminal offense."
When asked what he would say if he were in the House of Lords while the bill was being considered, Patrick Stewart replied that he had "one simple comment... this Bill is about compassion and life, how people live." Decrying the emphasis on "killing people" and the word "dying," Stewart asserted that the bill was about "helping people to live better."
Forgive me a trivial squee moment, but I met @SirPatStew today. He spoke to me and everything. *Gibber* pic.twitter.com/tUmpAPW3OA"We are not talking about euthanasia, about killing people," Stewart said,"but about saving suffering, unnecessary suffering."
— Lucy Wainwright (@Whoozley) July 18, 2014
In a separate interview with Sky News, Stewart posited that society was becoming "more realistic about death." Stewart told host Lucy Cotter that he is feeling the effects of his age, beginning with arthritis.
"I do walk into rooms and forget what I had gone in there for," Stewart admitted, adding "but, luckily, as has been proved by Sir Ian McKellen and myself on Broadway for the last eight months, we can still do our job." As The Inquisitr previously reported, Patrick Stewart and McKellen performed together this past winter, entertaining fans with numerous photos of their time together.
[Image via BBC]