Sir Patrick Stewart laughed off the idea of becoming an actor during his teens.
The 81-year-old star was encouraged to consider acting as a career option by a teacher called Cecil Dormand - but Patrick originally thought that the suggestion was a "ridiculous idea".
He explained: "A few days before I left school, at the age of 15, Cec asked me if I had ever thought of taking up acting as a career. It made me laugh, because it was a ridiculous idea, but two years later I was offered a place at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, paid for by a scholarship.
"Usually the recipients were exclusively Oxbridge students, but they believed I had something that, perhaps, fitted in with other young people they encountered – although from a very different background.
"It took me years to find a way to thank Cecil Dormand, but, when I did, I was in my first of 12 years as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, where I presented him with an honorary degree.
"A few years later, I made him a second thank-you when I invited him to the luncheon celebrating my knighthood, presented by the Queen that same morning. The host invited everyone to say a few words. Cec said: 'What the heck am I going to call him now? For decades he called me Sir!'"
Patrick admits his teacher "saved" his life and he'll always remain grateful for what he did for him.
The actor told the Guardian newspaper: "Cec passed away a few weeks ago, at the age of 96. He saved me when I was a boy and my education was failing - and has without doubt been the most significant person in my life. If I had not met Cec, what would have happened to me? I am so grateful for his belief in me."