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  Carl Sagan
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(1940– ). British actor.

Acted in: "Annerton Pit" (1977), episode of Jackanory; Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (tv movie) (Rodney Bennett 1980); Excalibur (John BOORMAN 1981); Dune (David LYNCH 1984); Lifeforce (Tobe HOOPER 1985); The Doctor and the Devils (Freddie FRANCIS 1985); Star Trek: The Next Generation (tv series) (1987–1994); Death Train (David Jackson 1993); Robin Hood: Men in Tights (Mel BROOKS 1993); "Emissary" (1993), episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; In Search of Dr. Seuss (tv movie) (Vincent Paterson 1994); Star Trek: Generations (David Carson 1994); From Here to Infinity: The Ultimate Voyage (documentary short; host) (Don Barrett 1994); The Canterville Ghost (and produced) (tv movie) (Sydney Macartney 1996); Star Trek: First Contact (Jonathan FRAKES 1996); Star Trek: Insurrection (and produced) (Frakes 1998); A Christmas Carol (and produced) (tv movie) (David Hugh Jones 1999); X-Men (Bryan SINGER 2000); The Making of Jimmy Neutron (tv documentary) (Kevin Gorman 2001); Star Trek: Nemesis (Stuart Baird 2002); Dune (David Lynch 1984); X2: X‑Men United (Singer 2003); Mysterious Island (tv movie) (Russell Mulcahy 2005); Eleventh Hour (tv series) (2006); X-Men: The Last Stand (Brett Ratner 2006); Deleted Dune (uncredited) (short) (2006); X-Men Origins: Wolverine (uncredited) (Gavin Hood 2009); Hamlet (tv movie) (Gregory Doran 2009); Inside Planet Earth (documentary) (Martin Williams 2009); "Macbeth" (2010), episode of Great Performances.

Provided voice for animated films: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (English version) (Hayao MIYAZAKI 1984); The Pagemaster (Maurice Hunt and Joe JOHNSTON 1994); "Homer the Great" (1995), episode of The Simpsons; The Prince of Egypt (Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, and Simon Wells 1998); Animal Farm (tv movie) (John Stephenson 1999); Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (John A. Davis 2001); Boo, Zino & the Snurks (English version) (Kenard Fritz Krawinkel and Holger Tappe 2004); Steamboy (English version) (Katsuhiro Ohtomo 2004); Chicken Little (Mark Dindal 2005); "Peter's Got Woods" (2005), "No Meals on Wheels," "Lois Kills Stevie," "Stevie Kills Lois" (2007), "FOX-y Lady," "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven" (2009), "And Then There Were Fewer," "Halloween on Spooner Street" (2010), "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair," "Thanksgiving" (2011), "Internal Affairs" (2012), episodes of Family Guy; American Dad! (tv series) (2005-2012); Bambi II (Brian Pimental 2006); The Audition (short) (Daniel Cohen 2006); TMNT (Kevin Munroe 2007); Family Guy: It's a Trap (video) (Peter Shin 2010); Gnomeo and Juliet (Kelly Asbury 2011); Ice Age: Continental Drift (Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier 2012).

Provided voice for video games:  Land of Lore: The Throne of Chaos (Rick Gush 1994); Star Trek: The Next Generation—A Final Unity (1995); Star Trek: Hidden Evil (Jonathan Knight 1999); Star Trek: Armada II (2001); Star Trek: Bridge Commander (2002); X-Men: Next Dimension (2002); Star Trek: Starfleet Command III (2002); X2—Wolverine's Revenge (Bridgitte Burdine 2003); Star Trek: Elite Force II (2003); Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone (2004); X-Men Legends (2004); X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (2005); The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006); X-Men: The Official Game (2006); Borg War (Geoffrey James 2006); Star Trek: Legacy (2006); Castlevania: Lord of Shadow (2009); Lego Universe (Jordan Itkowitz 2010).

Provided voice or narration for live-action films: Liftoff! An Astronaut's Journey (documentary) (Dan Wetherbee 1990); Space Age (documentary tv series) (1992); From Here to Infinity: The Ultimate Voyage (documentary) (Don Barrett 1994); Stargazers (documentary) (Ned Judge 1994); Star Trek The Experience: The Klingon Encounter (short) (Mario Kamberg and David de Vos 1998); If We Had No Moon (documentary) (Martin Yves 1999); Water for Tea (short) (Michael Starobin 2003); Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real (tv movie) (Justin Hardy 2004): High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman (tv series) (2005); The Snow Queen (Julian Gibbs 2005); Ted (Seth McFarlane 2012); Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage (Shahin Sean Solimon 2012).

Directed: "In Theory" (1991), "Hero Worship," "A Fistful of Datas" (1992), "Phantasms" (1993), "Preemptive Strike" (1994), episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Appeared in documentaries: Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special (Donald R. Beck 1991); Journey's End: The Saga of Star Trek—The Next Generation (Beck 1994); Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond (Louis J. Horvitz 1996); "The Making of The Prince of Egypt" (1998), "X2: X-Men United" (2003), episodes of HBO First Look; The Making of Jimmy Neutron (Kevin Gorman 2001); The Uncanny Suspects (short) (2003); X-Men Production Scrapbook (2003); Requiem for Mutants: The Score of X2 (2003); The Second Uncanny Issue of X-Men!: Making X2 (short) (2003); Quest for King Arthur (Don Campbell 2004); Behind the Microphone:  Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind  (short) (2005);  X-Men: The Excitement Continues (short) (2006); X-Men: Evolution of a Trilogy (short) (2006); Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier (John Logsdon 2007); TMNT: Voice Talent First Look (short) (2007); The Next Generation's Legacy (Stephen R. Wolcott 2007); The Captain's Summit (Tim King 2009); Trek Nation (Scott Colthorp 2010); With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story (Terry Dougas, Nikki Frakes, and William Lawrence Hess 2010); The Captains (William SHATNER 2011); Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek—The Next Generation (Roger Lay, Jr. 2012).

To understand the difference between an actor and a performer, watch in close succession George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart portraying Ebenezer Scrooge in their television adaptations of A Christmas Carol. Scott is an actor; he crafts a subtle interpretation of his character and conveys it in an unobtrusive, natural manner, allowing viewers to momentarily embrace the reality of Scrooge and his miraculous transformation. Stewart is a performer; he struts about the set, reaching all his marks at the correct time, enunciating each line with precisely the proper intonation and appropriate accompanying gestures, and never permitting viewers to forget for one instant that they are enjoying the rare privilege of observing Patrick Stewart, Trained Shakespearean Actor, hard at work again. Overall, it's hard to create a version of Charles Dickens's classic tale that completely lacks any emotional impact, but with Stewart at the helm, that film came uncomfortably close to achieving that dubious goal.

As evidence to support the theory that America actually lost the Revolutionary War, consider the fact that Gene RODDENBERRY, absolutely determined to cast a Frenchman to play the captain of his second Star Trek series, nevertheless succumbed to Stewart's icy charm. But how could he resist? Here was an actor with a British accent, for heaven's sake, even an actor who had performed Shakespeare on English stages and on television. Willing to overlook that the actor had indulged in some sci-fi slumming (Dune, Lifeforce, The Doctor and the Devils), the insecure producer seized upon the posturing Stewart as an ideal way to elevate and validate a science fiction series that the film industry had long sneered at.

Once installed as Jean-Luc Picard in command of the new Enterprise, Stewart developed the innovative persona of a starship captain who regarded the whole business of gadding about in outer space, seeking out new life and all that, only as an annoying affront to his sense of dignity. Thus, instead of sitting in the captain's chair, staring at that television screen with those disconcerting stars whizzing by, Stewart's Picard preferred to retreat to the newly-created "Ready Room," where he could sit behind a desk, with no stars in sight, and carry on as the Federation's Assistant Vice President for Interstellar Affairs, conferring with higher-ups via teleconferencing, barking orders at subordinates, and refining new policy initiatives. Granted, it grew tiresome to observe William SHATNER's Captain Kirk relate to alien life in the universe by punching out the bad ones and seducing the pretty ones; however, when Captain Picard contrives to thwart an alien race by intently studying and restudying the million-word treaty they signed until he locates precisely the right subclause that will justify his demands, matters have been taken to an opposite, and even more distasteful, extreme. It was only fitting that Stewart's most striking performance as Picard came in the two-part episode "The Best of Both Worlds," when he is placed under the control of the hive-mind Borg and ordered to destroy the Enterprise, an assignment which he undertakes without altering his style of acting in the slightest; for, dampening and destroying the spirit of adventure and excitement that should animate all stories of space travel was in fact Stewart's mission throughout the series' seven-year run. Star Trek: The Next Generation thrived only to the extent that it contrived to marginalize Picard and put the spotlight on its other, more engaged regulars.

Stewart did share one trait with Shatner—an inability to direct as well as his on-screen assistant, in this case Jonathan FRAKES—but he at least had enough sense to stay in front of the camera when his series ended. Yet the Star Trek film franchise steadily declined in popularity when the Next Generation crew took over, and that was surely because the format of the feature films, unlike individual episodes of the series, demanded that the dull, irritable Picard constantly be the center of attention, or inattention, to be more precise. Only Frakes's Star Trek: First Contact overcame the intractable problem of Picard by isolating him and the series' other ill-conceived regular (Brent SPINER's irksomely self-involved Data) in a stultifying soap opera with the Borg Queen while Frakes's Riker led the rest of the cast in the rousing adventure of helping an charming rogue build Earth's first interstellar spacecraft. And, if you're looking for fresh evidence that everybody in Hollywood is an idiot, consider the pitch session that led to the greenlighting of Star Trek: Nemesis: "To revive this franchise, let's give them not one Captain Picard, but two of them! That'll pack 'em in!" Thanks to that film's inevitable and spectacular failure, and the lame performance of producer Rick BERMAN's other flawed child, the series Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2005), Roddenberry's once-golden property had seemingly been destroyed, until J. J. ABRAMS identified the true origin of the franchise's trouble—the launching of Stewart's Star Trek: The Next Generation—and revived the series by ignoring all of that and recasting Roddenberry's original series.

Equipped with his ever-popular British accent and snob appeal, Stewart was able to keep his career alive despite his egregious limitations ( such as his complete inability to handle comedy, painfully demonstrated by his cameo in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, his single appearance as a host of Saturday Night Live, and the robotic bonhomie displayed in The Canterville Ghost). Still, he surprised one jaded viewer in X‑Men, whose director Bryan SINGER was unable to resist the obvious stunt‑casting of a bald science fiction veteran to play the bald Dr. Xavier. Naturally, I was fully prepared to be appalled once again by his lifeless machinations; however, as if recognizing that there was no prestige to be garnered from appearing in an adaptation of a comic book, and realizing that this razzle-dazzle film desperately needed someone to provide some genuine warmth, Stewart unexpectedly abandoned all his affectations and instead strived very hard to be simple, straightforward, and emotionally unguarded in portraying a father figure to his band of mutants and a regretful former friend to Magneto. Amidst a gaudy procession of computer-enhanced superheroes, Stewart somehow managed for the first time to appear human. But any hopes for some lasting change were dashed by the sequel X2: X‑Men United, where he was given less to do and did it far less well, reverting to icy dullness and seeming far less sympathetic than the purportedly villainous Magneto, portrayed by the vastly more capable Ian MCKELLEN. And there were no signs of any improvement in that film's dreadful successor, X-Men: The Last Stand, or his routine Captain Nemo in a television version of Mysterious Island.

As evidenced by the expanded and updated credits, Stewart has largely spent the last decade making a living with his mouth, contributing his sonorous voice to scores of animated films and video games, often in the employ of Seth MCFARLANE, yet another American who cannot resist a British accent. Now that both the Star Trek and X-Men franchises have rebooted with younger casts, he seems unlikely to garner more major roles, though another miracle along the lines of X-Men remains possible. It is more likely, however, that long ago set in his ways, Patrick Stewart will simply carry on performing, in smaller and smaller roles, having never really learned to act.

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