On this date in 1972, Richard William Wheaton III was born in Burbank, Calif. He started acting in 1981, when he was only eight years old, and later appeared in movies such as “Stand By Me” (1986) and “Toy Soldiers” (1991). Wheaton’s most famous role was as Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” in which he was a regular cast member from 1987 to 1990, as well as returning occasionally as a guest star until 1994. Wheaton’s acting career continues, with recent notable roles including Wil Wheaton on ”The Big Bang Theory.” He also does voice acting for animated television shows and videogames, including “Teen Titans” and multiple “Grand Theft Auto” titles. He founded Monolith Press in 2003, and is the author of Dancing Barefoot (2004), a collection of autobiographical stories, and Just A Geek: Unflinchingly Honest Tales of the Search for Life, Love, and Fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise (2005). Wheaton also has a popular website and blog, http://wilwheaton.net, which was voted “Best Celebrity Blog” by Forbes.com in 2003 and “Weblog of the Year” in the 2002 Weblog Awards.
“I’m an atheist,” Wheaton proclaimed during an interview with the “Nerdist” podcast on Feb. 22, 2011. Wheaton described fan reaction to his personal ethical code, summed up as “Don’t Be A Dick,” saying, “People started calling it Wheaton’s Law, and I’m like, I’m an atheist, but that’s kind of like Jesus’ law. It’s a good law.” He elaborated on his views about religion on a 2006 blog post titled “The sins of the father”: “I also have nothing but contempt for the so-called spiritual leaders who prey upon [religious] people for their own personal financial or political gain.” Wheaton describes himself as supporting “freedom from religion” on the warning page of his website.
“I’m so fed up with being told that I’m a bad person because I don’t subscribe to the same exact narrow views [Christians] have.”
—Wil Wheaton, personal blog post titled “Seriously. What would Jesus do?” 2006
Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor and Eleanor Wroblewski
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