Debunking the Myths of Patrick Stewart and the Impossible Pizza-Less Life

The reaction to a single tweet from a pizza parlor was immediate and ubiquitous, revolving around a single question: How did a septuagenarian Hollywood actor and current Brooklyn resident pass through 72 years on Earth without eating pizza? We dug up some history.

This article is from the archive of our partner .
Breathe. Patrick Stewart has eaten pizza before yesterday. Specifically, thirteen years ago.

On Wednesday afternoon, from Smiling Pizza in Brooklyn, the 72-year-old English actor, honorary knight, X-Men star, and shock Brooklynite tweeted, like so many teenagers without "Sir" before their name and twenty-somethings living in Brooklyn, a picture of himself eating. Accompanying the otherwise pedestrian image, however, was a shocking admission: "[This is] my first ever pizza 'slice'," Stewart wrote. "Please note: the authentic NY fold."

The reaction was immediate and ubiquitous, revolving around a single question: How did a septuagenarian Hollywood actor and current Park Slope resident pass through life without eating pizza?

However: Stewart did not, in fact, achieve global recognition without encountering the Italian delicacy. Nearly 13 years ago, during a two-part interview with IGN FilmForce, Stewart literally cooked pizza for himself, and offered a portion to his interviewer (who happened to be his son, Daniel). Following a question about his focus on the script of the 2000 film X-Men, in which he played the telepath Professor Xavier, Stewart said:

PS: That's my process and approach, yes. The script is everything. Because after all, there is no point in developing ideas about a character if the script can't accommodate them. (He gets up and walks away. Just as it was getting interesting...) I'm just going to turn the oven on to reheat some pizza; you can have some if you like.

DS: No, I just had breakfast. (Pizza?! Trying to get back to the job at hand...)

(In Part 2, Stewart indeed places some pizza in his oven, presumably to be consumed.)

But what about his tweet on Wednesday? Several hours after uploading that photo of him eating, Stewart reappeared on Twitter: "To clarify: 1) I've never had a 'slice' 2) I've been a Habs fan all of 4 weeks 3) I'm also a fan of Bloomberg's soda legislation." ("Habs" refers to the Montreal Canadiens, the hockey team whose insignia appears on Stewart's baseball cap.)

The second tweet only further puzzled Stewart's followers. What did he mean by "slice"? Why was that word placed in quotes? Was this some kind of linguistic riddleDon't all pizzas come in slices?

Well, it's complicated. For one, Stewart was a bit hungover, as he tells New York's Dan Amira. ("I would go in there and order a pizza and eat a whole pizza," Stewart clarifies. "It was the concept of the slice that I had never encountered before.") But the New York slice is something of an institution: an easily foldable wedge designed to be swiftly eaten, often while moving. In April, The Wall Street Journal attributed the New York slice's dominance to the city's uncommon density, which supports the economics of slice-focused pizza shops. So embedded is the slice in New York culture that in 1985 a New York Times columnist came up with an economic theory linking a slice's average price to the fare of single subway ride. (Amazingly, the theory was studied and validated by The New Yorker in 2003.)

So that's what he means by "slice" — a specific kind of pizza, in a specific city, to which he moved less than a year ago. Enjoy your pizza, Mr. Stewart. Like you always have. All the other upscale people are doing it these days, apparently.

Also: Did we mention that Patrick Stewart is an incredible person?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.