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