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Wil Wheaton

Richard William "Wil" Wheaton III (born July 29, 1972) is an American writer and actor. As the latter, he is best known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, as Gordie LaChance in the film Stand by Me, and as prep-school rebel Joseph 'Joey' Trotta in Toy Soldiers.

Biography

Personal life

Wheaton was born in Burbank, California, to Debbie O’Connor and Richard William Wheaton, Jr. He has a brother and a sister.

Wheaton married Anne Prince in 1999. He lives with his wife and two stepsons in Pasadena, California.

Star Trek and early career

Wheaton made his acting debut in the 1981 TV film A Long Way Home, and first gained widespread attention in 1986 as Gordie LaChance in the Stephen King adaptation Stand By Me. In 1991, he played Joey Trotta in the film Toy Soldiers.

From 1987 to 1990, he appeared in the role of Wesley Crusher on The Next Generation throughout its first four seasons.

Like many actors made popular by their work in the Star Trek franchise, much of Wheaton’s career has been limited to Trek-oriented appearances. During his youth, he was a prominently featured guest at Star Trek conventions and very popular in teen magazines.

Although his Star Trek character, and by extension Wheaton himself, was loudly hated by a small and vocal group of Trekkies during TNG's first run (see Usenet groups alt.ensign.wesley.die.die.die or alt.wesley.crusher.die.die.die), Wheaton has explained that he was required to speak the lines written by others and that he too dislikes his Star Trek character. He did, however, enjoy working on the show and praises the other actors, especially Patrick Stewart. Wil Wheaton was later reported responding to the Usenet hate-groups and old-school Trekkers in an interview for WebTalk Radio:

Later, I determined that the people who were really, really cruel – like the Usenet weenies – really are a statistically insignificant number of people. And I know, just over the years from people who’ve e-mailed me at my web site and people who I’ve talked to since I started going to Star Trek conventions again in last five years, that there are so many more people who really enjoyed everything about the show, including my performance, including the character.

After leaving Star Trek, Wheaton moved to Topeka, Kansas, to work as a programmer for Newtek, where he helped to develop the Video Toaster 4000. Due to his public profile, he later served as a technology evangelist for the product.

The issue of Wheaton's popularity among Star Trek fandom is covered in a number of web comics. ArcaneTimes of March 25, 2005 offers a sympathetic position. Something Positive presents a range of opinions as part of the storyline Mike's Kid: September 28, 2006- September 30, 2006

Wheaton was a contestant on a 2001 Star Trek-themed episode of The Weakest Link.

Performing

In the late 1990s, Wheaton appeared in several independent films, including the award-winning The Good Things, in which Wheaton portrays a frustrated Kansas tollbooth worker, was selected Best Short Film at the 2002 Deauville Film Festival. He received the Best Actor award at the 2002 Melbourne Underground Film Festival for his performance in Jane White is Sick and Twisted.

In September 2006, Wheaton began hosting a Revision3 syndicated video podcast called InDigital along with Jessica Corbin and veteran host Hahn Choi. The last episode aired in September 2007.

In 2007, Wheaton's appearances include a guest appearance on the November 23, 2007 episode of the TV series Numb3rs and a cameo in a comedy sketch ("Lock Out") on LoadingReadyRun.com.

In July 2008, Wheaton filmed an episode of Criminal Minds expected to air in October. He has also recorded a voice appearance for an episode of Family Guy, expected to air in fall of 2008, and appeared in the May 30, 2008 episode of the Internet series Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show.

In 2006, Wheaton signed on to voice the role of Kyle in the Nickelodeon cartoon, Kyle + Rosemary. The show is scheduled to debut in summer 2008.

His other work as a voice actor includes the role of Aqualad in the cartoon Teen Titans and the voice of radio newsman Richard Burns in the popular Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game.

Wheaton performs improvisational and sketch comedy at the ACME Comedy Theater in Hollywood. He has a traveling sketch comedy/improv troupe called "EarnestBorg9" that performs science fiction-related comedy at conventions.

Writing

Wheaton has emerged as a vocal member of the "geek"/"nerd" community and runs his own weblog, Wil Wheaton Dot Net. Much of his present popularity comes from Wil Wheaton Dot Net, the books it has spawned, and from fans who admire his earlier work.

Wheaton contributes regularly to the Los Angeles-based Metroblogging site. In June 2005, he became the feature "Geek editor" for the SuicideGirls Newswire. He had a monthly column, entitled "Wil Save," in the Dungeons & Dragons-based magazine Dungeon; he ceased writing that column in May 2005. From January 2005 to October 2006, Wheaton wrote a column for The Onion AV Club about early video games, called "Games of Our Lives."

In spring 2003, Wheaton founded the independent publishing company Monolith Press and released a memoir entitled Dancing Barefoot. Monolith Press was "founded on the idea that publication should not be limited by opportunity." Most of the entries are extended versions of his online blog entries. Dancing Barefoot sold out three printings in four months.

In winter 2003, the book's success caught the eye of publisher Tim O'Reilly, who signed Wheaton to a three book contract. O'Reilly acquired Dancing Barefoot, and published Wheaton's extended memoirs, Just a Geek, in summer of 2004. Wheaton has since written about his bitterness regarding how the book was marketed, believing it was pitched as a Star Trek book when he intended it as more of a personal memoir.

In July 2007, Wheaton revealed the title of his third book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives.

Politics

Wheaton describes himself as a libertarian. In September 2006 Wheaton very stringently clarified his anti-Bush beliefs in a blog posting regarding congressional debate over whether to permit torture of unlawful combatants: "Shame on President Bush. Shame on his Republican allies in congress."

A column that Wheaton wrote for Salon.com in 2005, The Real War on Christmas, attacked conservative commentators like Bill O'Reilly and detailed his arguments with his conservative parents over current political matters. Wheaton's parents were very offended by the article, and Wheaton posted a lengthy apology on his site and an interview in which his parents gave their version of events.

On August 24, 2007, Wheaton gave the keynote for the yearly Penny Arcade Expo, which was subsequently made available online Wheaton stepped in following a public battle between the formerly-scheduled keynote debate participants, noted anti-games activist Jack Thompson and Hal Halpin, the president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA). Much of Wheaton’s address focused on the debate over violence in video games.

Poker

In 2003, Wheaton began noting on his blog his love for the game of poker. The following year, Wheaton began writing more extensively about his poker-playing experiences, including stories about playing Texas hold 'em tournaments locally and in Las Vegas. Eventually, Wheaton worked up to regular play, including a notable run at the 2005 World Poker Tour Championships. On June 23, 2005, Wheaton accepted an invitation to join Team PokerStars. He went on to play in that year's World Series of Poker and was the guest speaker for the 2005 B.A.R.G.E Banquet. In June 2007 Wheaton announced he would no longer be on Team Pokerstars due to changes in the U.S. legal system that would cause poker sites to have to focus on European and Asian markets and held a farewell Pokerstars tournament on June 5, 2007, which he titled So Long and Thanks for All the Chips.

Filmography

Movies

Television

Incorrectly attributed to Wil Wheaton

Wheaton is often confused with Will Wheaton Jr., a jazz musician who contributed to the film Mystery Men, among other works.

Video games

Bibliography

  • Dancing Barefoot (ISBN 0-596-00674-8) (2003)
  • Just a Geek (ISBN 0-596-00768-X) (2004)
  • Stories of Strength (ISBN 1-4116-5503-6) (2005; contributor)
  • The Happiest Days of Our Lives (ISBN 0-9741160-2-5) (2007)

Footnotes

External links

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