But as I grew up as a child, falling in love with the theater and Shakespeare, my heroes were Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud.
Wouldn't it be grand if we thought that theater could have that impact on the political life of a country?
Having spent so much of my life with Shakespeare's world, passions and ideas in my head and in my mouth, he feels like a friend - someone who just went out of the room to get another bottle of wine.
I think I came back from America a funnier and nicer person than I went.
It wasn't until the first season ended that I went to my first Star Trek convention. It was in Denver. There were two and a half thousand people there.
Roddenberry had created quite a complex and at times mysterious character. Guarded, cautious, careful in showing his feelings in expressing his ideas about many things - I found that very interesting.
Whenever the lion fish in the fish tank in the captain's ready room died it was always a sad moment.
I became a better listener than I ever had been as a result of playing Jean Luc Picard because it was one of the things that he does terrifically well.
I began directing episodes, which was a great light every couple of months. We never short-changed our audience, but it became something that you had to work at rather than something that was a pleasure.
I certainly wanted to maintain some sense of mystery about Picard and that's why we never allowed certain situations to fully evolve, like the relationship between Picard and Beverly Crusher.
For seven years I did very little theatre, and I have to make up some time.
Creating a believable world on the ship was very important, and technically they got better and better and better at showing the ship too.
I was brought up in a very poor and very violent household. I spent much of my childhood being afraid.
I would like to see us get this place right first before we have the arrogance to put significantly flawed civilizations out onto other planets, even though they may be utterly uninhabited.
I am not the archetypal leading man. This is mainly for one reason: as you may have noticed, I have no hair.
I wouldn't know a space-time continuum or warp core breach if they got into bed with me.
You get all of your neuroses worked out on stage. I haven't actually played very many nice characters, certainly not on stage. It's not a quality that attracts me.
We had some very distinguished fans: I know one chancellor of a major university who used to schedule his meetings around Star Trek. We were thrilled to discover that Frank Sinatra was a big fan.
I've met actors where you think, if only you could just clean up your act and get it together, people would want to work with you. Some people are so difficult, it's just not worth working with them.
As the captain, I was going to be having the dominant role in most of the episodes, and that was appealing. I wasn't interested in coming to Hollywood to sit around.
It still frightens me a little bit to think that so much of my life was totally devoted to Star Trek and almost nothing else.
During my time we had two chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, at different times of course, on the bridge, both of whom asked my permission to sit on the captain's chair.
There are several books that I have-the Physics of Star Trek, Star Trek and Business, there are manuals on command style and countless scholarly papers that have been written about the significance of Next Generation.
The studio have always claimed that the ship is the star of the show, especially when they're renegotiating contracts.
One of the things that I've come to understand is that as I talk a lot about Picard, what I find is that I'm talking about myself.
We've heard from many teachers that they used episodes of Star Trek and concepts of Star Trek in their science classrooms in order to engage the students.
I am told that there have been over the years a number of experiments taking place in places like Massachusetts Institute of Technology that have been entirely based on concepts raised by Star Trek.
It is what you do from now on that will either move our civilization forward a few tiny steps, or else... begin to march us steadily backward.
Last Wednesday, I stupidly dropped my iPhone in the bath, and my life has sort of spiraled almost out of control.
I never had teenage years. I guess because I was seen to be more adult than anybody around me.
Tom Hanks knows the name of all the episodes.
As time went on, I did campaign to lighten the character a little bit, to introduce some romance into the episodes, outside activities, horse riding and fencing and mountaineering.
The only still center of my life is Macbeth. To go back to doing this bloody, crazed, insane mass-murderer is a huge relief after trying to get my cell phone replaced.
I wasn't campaigning for a role in a Hollywood television series, it was a fluke. So you've got to have a measure of good luck, you really have, being in the right place at the right time.
One day, out of irritation, I said, you know all of those years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, all those years of playing kings and princes and speaking black verse, and bestriding the landscape of England was nothing but a preparation for sitting in the captain's chair of the Enterprise.
Having played many roles of scientific intellect I do have an empathy for that world. It's been hard on me because flying the Enterprise for seven years in Star Trek and sitting in Cerebro in X-men has led people to believe that I know what I'm talking about. But I'm still trying to work out how to operate the air conditioning unit on my car.
William Shatner has one style. We have completely contrasting personalities. We're very good friends. I adore him, but we're very different people, so they were smart enough to write characters that reflected that.
During the course of the seven years I played scenes with an oil slick, I played a scene with a grain of rice. Sometimes with indescribable creatures. I remember having a conversation with something which was simply a smell, that's all. It was part of our job.
I came to feel very, very sentimental about those sets, which is ludicrous, because they represent everything which is transitory and insubstantial. It's absurd that one should feel sentimental about timber and canvas.
Encouraging people to believe in it was the most important thing of all. It's one of the reasons I was always uncomfortable whenever film crews came on the set to shoot things. I didn't want our make-believe to be exposed.
I don't do impersonations. I can do a wounded elephant! I can do a really good cow! And because of the amount of time I spent in North Yorkshire, I do a variety of sheep. All of which I will be happy to roll out for you!
The truth of the matter is, all of those guys on Star Trek: The Next Generation actually want to be me. These impersonations they do are just some way of trying to feel what it must be like to be me. And I understand that! Because it feels really good to be Patrick Stewart!
I've often reflected on this in the past weeks as I've been following the presidential campaign: Very often, I thought it would have been great for both of these guys to sit down and be force-fed a couple of dozen episodes of Star Trek.
I had come to the point when I realized it was unlikely that my film career was going to move beyond a certain level of role. And I was - because I had graphic instances of it - handicapped by the success of Star Trek. A director would say, 'I don't want Jean-Luc Picard in my movie' - and this was compounded by X-Men as well.
The knights of the theater represented to me not only the pinnacle of the profession but the esteem in which the profession was held. To find myself, to my astonishment, in that company is the grandest thing that has professionally happened to me.