How Much is Patrick Stewart Worth and When Is He Coming Back to TV?
We all know Shakespearean actors are some of the most diverse actors of all, and (Sir) Patrick Stewart has more than proven this true. Unfortunately, far too many of those classical thespians live in obscurity for years before finally being discovered. This was the trajectory of Stewart 31 years ago after 20 prior years of being a respected but mostly unknown British stage actor.
After taking the role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, it’s clear he molded Picard into a Shakespearean character. Perhaps it’s why Stewart recently decided to return to TV and reprise the role, despite a significant net worth.
The life of working for the Royal Shakespeare Company
Stewart’s career goes back 52 years to 1966 when he first joined the U.K.’s Royal Shakespeare Company after working in the Manchester Library Theatre. He spent 15 years with the RSC while subsequently finding minor roles in British TV and movies.
Most people in America had no idea who he was, even though he did appear stateside in various British TV productions. For instance, if you were paying attention to PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre in the 1970s or ’80s, you probably saw Stewart in a number of adaptations like I, Claudius.
During this time, he also landed minor roles in British and American movies. He appeared in Excalibur (1981), plus near sci-fi classic Lifeforce. To show you how unknown he was, sources say he was paid only $2,900 to appear in 1985’s Wild Geese II.
Bringing a Shakespeare touch to TNG
During the casting for Star Trek: The Next Generation, one of the producers for the show saw Stewart speak at a UCLA reading. The show’s creators wanted an unknown Shakespearean actor to play Jean-Luc Picard, which might seem crazy in today’s casting terms. Considering Stewart didn’t know anything about Star Trek at the time makes it seem all the more risky now.
Then again, it was perhaps better he didn’t know anything so he could bring a fresh approach and not feel obligated to please the fan base. He managed to eventually make $100,000 per episode in his contract. Initially, he didn’t think it would last and thought he’d be back on the British stage within a year.
The Star Trek franchise makes Stewart a millionaire
After a nine-year run on TNG, Stewart managed to land his first million-dollar paycheck for a feature film in the franchise (First Contact). He earned $5 million from this, and began scaling in each ensuing Star Trek movie.
Star Trek clearly changed his life, though his earnings have gone up exponentially since those films were made. Over the last 20 years, he’s taken numerous projects that pushed his cumulative earnings to a figure larger than most former Shakespearean actors.
Returning to the role of Capt. Picard
After leaving behind the Star Trek universe for a time, Stewart managed to grow his earnings appearing in dozens of other films and TV shows. Voice acting became another one of his acting niches, something he’s used in everything from The Prince of Egypt to the recent The Emoji Movie.
Stewart even starred in a brief new TV series on Starz called Blunt Talk playing a character the polar opposite from Picard.
Over time, he’s created a $70 million dollar fortune. Yet, it seems everything in the Star Trek arena eventually goes full circle. Just like the Enterprise being blown to bits numerous times in movies and TV, you can’t keep a good ship or captain down.
Now Stewart will reportedly return as Capt. Picard in an upcoming CBS All Access show. It’s still unknown when it starts production, but it seems likely at some point in 2019.
After 17 years away from the role, Stewart feels like it’s the right time to explore the life of an older and legendary Starfleet captain. It’s something you think could also be marketable with one Capt. Kirk as well.