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Patrick Stewart Used His Bald Head As A Teleprompter To Help Out A Star Trek Co-Star

In a heartwarming behind-the-scenes tale from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Picard, used his bald head as a makeshift teleprompter to assist fellow co-star Diana Muldaur with her lines. Muldaur, who portrayed Dr. Katherine Pulaski, struggled with learning her lines due to the fast-paced shooting schedule of the show. Stewart, known for his generosity, offered to tape a printout of Muldaur’s dialogue on his head, allowing her to deliver a complex speech with ease. Although their chemistry might have been lacking, Stewart’s kind gesture certainly made a lasting impression on the set.

Patrick Stewart Used His Bald Head As A Teleprompter To Help Out A Star Trek Co-Star

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Background Information

One of the more infamous behind-the-scenes stories on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” involves the unceremonious firing of actress Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Beverly Crusher. It was widely known among Trekkies that McFadden and the show’s first-season head writer, Maurice Hurley, didn’t get along at all. In fact, their antagonistic relationship ultimately led to McFadden being fired from the show. Hurley reportedly did not like Dr. Crusher as a character, and his decision to remove her from the show was likely a move to make the writing process easier for himself, or perhaps it was driven by personal animosity. Unfortunately, Hurley passed away in 2015 and didn’t go on record to explain his actions. However, he left the show at the end of its second season, and executive producer Rick Berman took the opportunity to immediately re-hire McFadden. Her absence from the show was filled by the introduction of Kate Pulaski, played by actress Diana Muldaur, who portrayed a grouchier, McCoy-like character. It’s interesting to note that Muldaur had previously appeared in two episodes of the original “Star Trek” series, which made her somewhat familiar with the franchise.

Challenges with Learning Lines

Learning lines on the set of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” proved to be quite a challenge for the actors. The shooting schedules were fast and brutal, leaving the actors with limited time to memorize their speeches. They often found themselves with only several hours to learn entire monologues or complex dialogues. This tight timeframe put tremendous pressure on the actors to be ready for filming. It required them to be quick on their feet and constantly adapt to the demanding production schedule. The short amount of time available for memorization undoubtedly added a layer of stress to an already intense working environment.

Patrick Stewart’s Bald Head

Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” had a distinctive feature that inadvertently became a helpful tool on set: his bald head. Stewart started to lose his hair at a young age, and he remained bald for most of his life. Surprisingly, his outsize forehead proved to be advantageous when appearing on TV. Stewart cleverly used his head as a makeshift teleprompter during filming. He would paste a small piece of paper with his co-star’s lines onto his brow, allowing him to discreetly reference the dialogue while maintaining eye contact and delivering his lines. This unique use of his bald head showcased Stewart’s resourcefulness and adaptability as an actor.

Patrick Stewart’s Help

During his time on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Patrick Stewart found himself working with Diana Muldaur, who portrayed Dr. Katherine Pulaski, the Enterprise’s new chief medical officer. Unfortunately, Stewart and Muldaur did not have a strong rapport with each other. While they did not fight or hate one another, Muldaur seemed somewhat distant from the rest of the cast. Despite this lack of chemistry, Stewart still desired to assist Muldaur with her dialogue when she encountered difficulties in certain scenes. In his autobiography, “Making It So: A Memoir,” Stewart recounted a memorable moment when Muldaur was assigned a complex speech to deliver to Picard, with only a couple of hours to learn it. Since “Star Trek: The Next Generation” did not have teleprompters, Stewart kindly offered to help by taping a printout of Muldaur’s lines to his hairless forehead. This innovative method allowed Muldaur to focus on delivering her lines while subtly glancing at Stewart’s forehead for guidance. Stewart’s willingness to go above and beyond demonstrates his professionalism and commitment to supporting his fellow actors.

Outcome of the Scene

Thanks to Patrick Stewart’s ingenious use of his bald head as a teleprompter, Diana Muldaur successfully delivered her complex speech, much to the appreciation of her co-star. Muldaur was grateful to Stewart for stepping in as her flesh-and-blood teleprompter, which helped her navigate the challenging dialogue. However, despite the success of the scene, there was still a noticeable lack of chemistry between the two actors. As the season progressed, it became evident that Muldaur was not the right fit for “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and she eventually left the show. Fortunately, the departure of Maurice Hurley after the second season paved the way for Gates McFadden’s return as Dr. Crusher. McFadden’s reunion with the cast brought back the beloved character that fans had missed. Her character’s reintegration into the series breathed new life into the show and solidified its place in the hearts of “Star Trek” enthusiasts. Many fans, myself included, preferred Dr. Crusher over her temporary replacement. It was a joyous moment to have her back on board the Enterprise.

Source: https://www.slashfilm.com/1423420/patrick-stewart-bald-head-teleprompter-star-trek-the-next-generation/