Legendary stage and screen actor Sir Patrick Stewart was honored this past weekend at the Chivas Legends Dinner in Dubai, and takes a stand for feminism in the process.
The talented and experienced Shakespearean actor won his place in the hearts of fans everywhere with his first ongoing television role when he stared as the infamous Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Since that time, Patrick Stewart has had an extremely active and prolific career both on the screen and off, with movie roles in the X-Men franchise as well as Conspiracy Theory, A Christmas Carol, Dune, Hunting Elephants, The Wolverine, Safe House, Let It Be Me, and two upcoming films to be released next year, Stuck and Green Room. This is in addition to dozens of other movies, television appearances, stage rolls, and over 60 Shakespearean productions.
Previous actors honored by the Legends series were Ben Kingsley, Colin Firth, Jeremy Irons, and David Frost, but unlike all of the Chivas events in the past, which only allowed men to attend, both women and men were allowed to attend the dinner this year. Sir Patrick Stewart insisted that the event be open to both sexes, as he is an outspoken feminist and his wife, singer Sunny Ozell, attended the event with him. Stewart has always taken a strong stand for feminism, and in 2006, he made a short film for Amnesty International to raise awareness about domestic violence, an issue near and dear to his own heart after he watched his mother suffer at the hands of his abusive father as a child. He also supports a number of charities aimed at helping the victims of domestic violence including the UK based organization Refuge.
In addition to his stand for women's rights, Sir Patrick Stewart has also been passionate about a number of other social, environmental and political issues. He has been an active environmentalist, narrating the breathtaking film Whales and supporting the conservation and education efforts of Ocean Alliance for more than two decades.
Politically speaking, Sir Patrick Stewart is a socialist, is passionate about human rights, civil liberties, and the right to die. Stewart also believes strongly in a unified and peaceful Europe, and providing a better standard of living. He commented on this in a recent interview with The National.
"Today, the first and most important issues are that of the United Kingdom minimum wage, employment for young people and improving the general standard of living for all. I would, of course, be concerned about security but I would also be very passionate about staying in Europe. A unified Europe gives us the best possible chance of a peaceful coexistence with our neighbours."
The classically-trained actor become Sir Patrick Stewart in 2009, when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, where he paid homage to a former English teacher who gave him the encouragement to begin performing so many years ago.
"He was the one that put a copy of Shakespeare in my hand [and] said, 'Now get up on your feet and perform'."To spite his many decades of success and numerous honors, Sir Patrick Stewart remains humble in his legendary status, and at the age 74, this Yorkshire-born actor shows no signs of slowing down, and plans to continue to inspire and entertain us for years to come.