Sir Patrick Stewart Says English Teacher Spotted His Talent and Saved His Life

“I was failing at school. Then I met Cecil Dorman, the extraordinary English teacher who transformed my life forever.”

Sir Patrick Stewart, the English actor best known for his work in the Star Trek series, says he skipped exams in school and was failing his classes. “Frankly, I just didn’t see myself as a grammar school boy,” he told The Guardian. “Had I sat the test, I might have never met Cecil Dormand, a teacher at the secondary modern where I ended up, who would change my life when I was 12, by putting Shakespear into my hands for the very first time.”

Stewart says he can still remember the very first words of Shakespeare that he ever read — “I have possessed your grace of what I purpose” — and was immediately hooked.

The students referred to Dormand as “Cec,” and he was Stewart’s English teacher and form master. Cec cast Stewart in a play with adults, and he felt fearless on stage.

Before leaving school at the age of 15, Cec asked Stewart if he had ever considered acting as a career. This is where it all changed for Stewart — he went on to have a successful acting career and served as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, where he presented Cec with an honorary degree to express his gratitude. 

Stewart also invited Cec to a luncheon celebrating his knighthood, which was presented by the Queen.

Cec said: “What the heck am I going to call him now? For decades he called me Sir!”

Image source: The Guardian