Having been raised by a mother who was an actress, it did not take time for Wil Wheaton to become conversant with the rudiments of the performing arts. The second-generation actor made his debut appearance at the age of 8 in a Jell-O Pudding Pops commercial alongside legendary comedian and actor Bill Cosby.
From his time as an adolescent to his teenage years and beyond, Wheaton was able to go ahead to land roles in a number of television films, movies, and TV series. This includes appearances in A Long Way Home, The Secret of NIMH, The Buddy System, and Stand by Me among others. Perhaps his most famous role of that period was that of Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers, with his performance in the former earning him two Young Artist Awards in 1987 and 1989.
In recent times, Wil Wheaton, who now has interests in writing and blogging, is better known for playing a fictionalized version of himself in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
Early Life and Career
On the 29th of July, 1972, in Burbank, California, Wil Wheaton was welcomed to the world as Richard William Wheaton III. His parents are Debra Nordean and Richard William Wheaton Jr. Unlike him and his mother, Wil’s father did not do anything related to the arts as he instead worked as a medical specialist. Wheaton Jr. found himself to be alone in his field as his two other children; Jeremy and Amy also pursued interests in the entertainment world.
Wil made his acting debut in 1981 in the TV film A Long Way Home. His cinema debut came in the following year when he played the role of Martin Brisby in the animation The Secret of NIMH. By 1986, the teenage actor rose to prominence as he landed the role of Gordie Lachance in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novella The Body titled Stand by Me.
Following this breakout role, Wil Wheaton took on the career-defining role of Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He played the role from 1987 to 1991, the same year he appeared in Toy Soldiers.
For the most part of the 90s, Wheaton was not active in Hollywood. He moved to Topeka, Kansas where he worked for hardware and software company NewTek, helping to develop the Video Toaster 4000. He also did quality control and served as a technology evangelist for the product.
By the late 1990s, Wil Wheaton returned to LA and spent a couple of years in acting school. He subsequently appeared in several independent films, including The Good Things (2001) and Jane White Is Sick & Twisted (2002). Other notable films, TV shows, and animated series he has since appeared in include Teen Titans, Legion of Super Heroes, the Ben 10 universe, The Big Bang Theory, Leverage, and Eureka.
Outside of acting, Wil Wheaton writes and often serves as a political critic. He has his own blog called Wil Wheaton Dot Net and is a regular contributor on Metroblogging, an LA-based site. He is also a member of the internet communities Slashdot and Reddit and has been a featured Tech writer for the SuicideGirls Newswire. Additionally, he founded an independent publishing company called Monolith Press in 2003 through which he released a memoir entitled Dancing Barefoot.
As a political critic, Wheaton criticized former U.S President George W. Bush in 2006 for planning to suspend the recourse in law known as habeas corpus and to use torture as a form of interrogation. Prior to that, he caused a media stir with an article he wrote in 2005 for Salon.com titled The Real War on Christmas. In the article, he attacked and accused conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly of influencing his parents’ political views. He stated that he can no longer discuss political matters during Christmas and family get-togethers.
Wil Wheaton’s parents reportedly got so offended by the article that he had to write a very lengthy apology and also did an interview in which his parents clarified their political views.
Some Interesting Facts About Wil Wheaton’s Family
As mentioned above, Wil Wheaton is the son of actress Debra Nordean (née O’Connor) and medical specialist William Wheaton, Jr. He shared his childhood with two younger siblings; Jeremy and Amy, both of whom are also actors. The duo appeared alongside their brother in one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation while Amy further appeared alongside Wil in The Curse (1987).
On a personal note, Wheaton has been married to hairstylist and occasional actress Anne Prince for over two decades. The pair, who were said to have met at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party in 1995, exchanged vows on the 7th of November 1999 and have been together ever since. Anne famously appeared with her husband in the 2003 film Neverland.
Together, the couple does not have any children of their own, however, Wil has since adopted his wife’s two sons – Ryan and Nolan from her previous relationship.