Perhaps best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard or Professor Charles Xavier, Sir Patrick Stewart is a prolific British actor with a career spanning almost six decades.

Stewart has loved acting ever since he was a little boy. He was a member of some local drama groups from about age 12 and spent most of his time at the theater. In order to afford attending drama school, Patrick took on various jobs and saved every penny.

He made his professional debut in 1959 and his first Broadway appearance in 1971, as Snout in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For many years the actor chose to remain discreet about his family’s own drama. Later he decided to become one of the voices that support victims of domestic violence, so he shared his story about his abusive father.

Although he enjoys a huge on-screen success with a legacy in the Star Trek and X-Men franchises, Stewart could never forget about his old love: the theater. He continues to act on stage and perform Shakespeare whenever he gets a chance.

In 2001 Stewart became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, and in 2009 he was awarded a knighthood.

Here are 16 Patrick Stewart quotes that will inspire you to take action:

The people who could do most to improve the situation of so many women and children are in fact, men. It’s in our hands to stop violence against women.

I’d been given a voice that I didn’t know was available to me, and it was to speak seriously and with a proper level of involvement on issues of inequality and unfairness.

It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness, that is life.

I always have been optimistic about humanity’s future. Always. Even at the most dismaying of times.

– Patrick Stewart

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.

What identifies an individual as a king is how other people behave towards him. All authority is assumed, and if other people don’t accept your authority then you don’t have it. Perhaps the critical thing to being a convincing figure of authority is actually not to try too hard.

This is a call to action—not an action that will make things better in six months’ time or a year’s time, but action that might save someone’s life and someone’s future this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow morning.

There’s no such thing as ‘just a domestic’.

If someone says ‘Give me one word of advice,’ I say ‘be fearless.’ And knowing without any shadow of a doubt that what they have to give – who they are – is totally unique and not shared by anybody else.

I was brought up in a very poor and very violent household. I spent much of my childhood being afraid.

Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it.

I am not the archetypal leading man. This is mainly for one reason: as you may have noticed, I have no hair.

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.

Some people are so difficult, it’s just not worth working with them.

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.

I think that for the moment, at least, we are as good as it gets. And the good, the potential good in us is still to be explored… so that we can become better human beings to ourselves as well as to others. And I sometimes feel we’re only at the threshold of those discoveries.