Stewart: It’s in My Genes

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Sir Patrick Stewart was not the first in his family to be bitten by the acting bug.

A close family member had once trod the boards but the family never spoke about it due to his actions.

“I thought I had been a freak and come out of nowhere with this passion for being onstage and Shakespeare and all that,” said Stewart.

But a request to visit a relative brought some interesting news to the actor. “In 1961, when I was twenty, I was about to go on a world tour with the Old London Old Vic Company,” Stewart explained. “My grandmother was in her late eighties and lived some distance from me, and she was rather imperious. She called and said to my mother, ‘I want you to bring Patrick to see me.’

“So we went, and she sent my mother out on an errand and said, ‘there’s something you need to know.’ She told me her husband, who deserted her many years earlier with four children, was an actor! So there was something in the genes, it turns out, to connect us, and he was without a doubt the black sheep of the family.

“He deserted his family, and in those days it was a crime. I asked, ‘do you know what happened to him?’ and she said, ‘the last I ever heard of him was when it was discovered he was in a play in South London and two policemen were sent to arrest him. He said, ‘look, I’ve got one more scene to do in the play. Will you let me do this? If you take me away the play will collapse, but if you let me play this scene I’ll come with you after.’ They agreed.

“He went on, played the scene, exited off the side, and never was seen again.”

Source: Passport Magazine

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