Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
William Shatner (born in Montreal, Quebec, March 22, 1931) is an actor, writer and musical performer. Shatner is most famous for his starring role as Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise in the television show Star Trek from 1966 to 1969 and in seven of the subsequent movies. Shatner has written three books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of the Star Trek franchise. He has since worked as a writer, producer, director, musician, and best-selling author.
Shatner attended high school in Regina, Saskatchewan and earned a Bachelor's degree in commerce from Montreal's McGill University in 1952. Trained as a classical Shakespearean actor, he performed at the famed Shakespearean Stratford Festival of Canada in Stratford, Ontario before going to the United States to work. In 1959 he was given good reviews when he took on the role of Robert Lomax in the Broadway production of The World of Suzie Wong. His official movie debut was in the 1958 MGM film The Brothers Karamazov with Yul Brynner in which Shatner starred as the pious Russian Orthodox monk Alexei (he had earlier debuted in a 1951 Canadian film entitled The Butler's Night Off ). He also appeared in the Stanley Kramer film Judgment at Nuremberg, appeared in two episodes of the acclaimed science fiction anthology series The Twilight Zone, and starred in the unusual 1965 Gothic horror film Incubus, the only movie known to have all of its dialogue spoken in Esperanto, an artificial language developed in the 1880s.
Star Trek career
William Shatner was first cast as Capt. James Tiberius Kirk for the second pilot of Star Trek, entitled "Where No Man Has Gone Before". He subsequently was contracted to play Captain Kirk for the Star Trek series and held the role from 1966 to 1969. In 1973, Shatner returned to the role of Captain Kirk, albeit only in voice, in the animated Star Trek series. He was slated to assume the role of Kirk for Star Trek: Phase II, a follow-up series regarding the second five year mission of the Enterprise, but Star Trek: Phase II was cancelled in pre-production and expanded into Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Between 1979 and 1991, William Shatner played Captain Kirk in the six Star Trek films and directed the fifth one. In 1994, he returned to the role of Captain Kirk in Star Trek Generations. This was to be his character's final role as the character of Captain Kirk was killed in the film.
In the summer of 2004, rumors began circulating that the producers of Star Trek: Enterprise were considering bringing William Shatner back to Star Trek. Reports in the media indicated that the idea is being given serious thought, with series producer Manny Coto indicating in Star Trek Communicator magazine's October 2004 issue that he was preparing a three-episode story arc for Shatner. It is not known if Shatner would be playing James T. Kirk, an ancestor of Kirk's, or an unrelated character. Playing Kirk again seems unlikely given Shatner is more than 10 years older than he was when he last played the role (making some sort of pre-Generations appearance by Kirk problematic). One potential stumbling block is his current commitment to another series on a rival network. Now that Enterprise has been cancelled a return to Star Trek is even more unlikely.
Post-Star Trek career
Shatner had a long dry spell in the decade between the original Star Trek series and the Star Trek movies, which he attributes to his being typecast as Captain Kirk, making him unable to find other work. He says this period was a humbling one, as he would take any odd job, including small party appearances to support his family. In 1970, Shatner appeared as the prosecutor in a PBS television film of the Broadway play The Andersonville Trial . This was directed by George C. Scott and received excellent reviews. The dry spell ended for Shatner (and the other Star Trek cast members) when Paramount produced Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, under pressure from long loyal fans of the series. Its success re-established Shatner as an actor, and Captain Kirk as a cultural icon.
While continuing to film the successful series of Star Trek movies, he returned to television in the 1980s, starring as a uniformed police officer in the T.J. Hooker series from 1982 to 1986; this show became a popular hit. He then hosted the popular dramatic reenactment series Rescue 911 from 1989 to 1996.
As the unwilling central public figure of a widespread geek-culture of Trekkies, Shatner is often humorously critical of the sometimes "annoying" fans of Star Trek. He also has found an outlet in spoofing the cavalier, almost superhuman character persona of Captain Kirk, in films such as Airplane II: The Sequel (1982), National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993) and Saturday Night Live, in which he advised Star Trek fans to "Get a life!", repeating a popular catch-phrase. Shatner also appeared in the film Free Enterprise in 1998, in which he played himself and tried to dispel the Kirk image of himself from the view of the two lead characters
Shatner has enjoyed success with a series of "Tek" science fiction novels. The first—published in 1990—was entitled TekWar. This popular series of books led to a number of television movies, in which Shatner played a role, and to a short-lived television series. In 1995 a first-person shooter game named William Shatner's TekWar was released, and was the first game to use the Build engine.
Shatner has appeared in several episodes of the television series 3rd Rock from the Sun as The Big Giant Head, a womanizing, substance-abusing, higher-ranked officer from the same alien planet as the show's protagonists. He was nominated for an Emmy for this role.
In 2004, Shatner was cast as the eccentric but highly capable attorney Denny Crane for the final season of the legal drama The Practice, for which he was awarded an Emmy, and then its subsequent spin-off, Boston Legal, for which he won a Golden Globe in 2005.
Family and other ventures
William Shatner has been married four times:
- Gloria Rand whom he married in 1956; they divorced in 1969.
- Marcy Lafferty whom he married in the fall of 1973; they divorced in 1994.
- Nerine Kidd whom he married on November 15, 1997; she drowned on August 9, 1999 at the couple's home.
- Elizabeth Martin whom he married on February 13, 2001
Shatner has three daughters: Leslie, Lisabeth, and Melanie, and a son, Daniel. Melanie is the proprietor of Dari, an upscale women's clothing boutique. She currently lives in Southern California.
In his spare time, Shatner enjoys breeding and showing American Saddlebreds and Quarter Horses. Shatner has a 360 acre (1.5 km²) horse farm in Kentucky named Bellreve where he raises the winning horses.
His musical album The Transformed Man (1968) has become a camp favorite. It includes spoken-word covers of "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by The Beatles. These early renditions are commonly bashed, such as when George Clooney named William Shatner's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as one of his Desert Island Discs as an incentive to leave the island. He said, "If you listen to [this song], you will hollow out your own leg and make a canoe out of it to get off this island."
In recent years, Shatner has been spoofing his earlier musical career, performing in the same style for a series of Priceline.com television commercials. One such commercial featured Shatner with frequent collaborator Ben Folds performing an irony-laden version of the Diana Ross hit, "Do You Know Where You're Going To?". In his appearance on the animated science-fiction TV series Futurama he recited Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady" song during a feast, spoofing his own "Lucy" chant. Shatner also appeared on Ben Folds' "In Love" (on the album ), a "song" about how love can go ever so wrong.
In the fall of 2004, he released a new album entitled Has Been, produced and arranged by Ben Folds and with songs composed by Shatner and Folds. The LP has been critically acclaimed for its unique "pop-driven" style. Its sole cover, a version of Pulp's "Common People" performed with Joe Jackson, has received good notices, often to the surprise of the reviewers.
- Shatner appeared (before Star Trek) together with Leonard Nimoy in the first season of The Man from U.N.C.L.E..
- In 1965 he starred in the Esperanto-language film Incubus.
- Shatner appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone.
- Shatner has recently been noted for his role in the Priceline.com commercials.
- William Shatner has a TV star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6901 Hollywood Blvd.
- The Student Society Building at McGill University is unofficially named after William Shatner, and contains a sign in the lobby bearing his name.
- Recently Mr. Shatner has been leading charity Paintball Scenario Games to raise money for his favorite charity, handicapped children.
- Most recently, William Shatner has starred in a series of Kellogg's All-Bran cereal commercials.
- Shatner's latest invention has been Invasion Iowa, a fake movie being shot for a reality tv series on SpikeTV.
"I am not a Starfleet commander, or T.J. Hooker. I don't live on Starship NCC-170...[some audience members say "one"], or own a phaser. And I don't know anybody named Bones, Sulu, or Spock. And no, I've never had green alien sex, though I'm sure it would be quite an evening. [Pomp and Circumstance begins playing] I speak English and French, not Klingon! I drink Labatt's, not Romulan ale ! And when someone says to me 'Live long and prosper', I seriously mean it when I say, 'Get a life'. My doctor's name is not McCoy, it's Ginsberg. And tribbles were puppets, not real animals. PUPPETS! And when I speak, I never, ever talk like every. Word. Is. Its. Own. Sentence. I live in California, but I was raised in Montreal. And yes, I've gone where no man has gone before, but I was in Mexico and her father gave me permission! My name is William Shatner, and I am Canadian!"
- The Butler's Night Off (1951)
- Oedipus Rex (1957)
- The Brothers Karamazov (1958)
- City Out of Time (1959) (short subject) (narrator)
- The Explosive Generation (1961)
- Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
- The Intruder (1962)
- The Outrage (1964)
- Incubus (1965)
- White Comanche (1968)
- Big Bad Mama (1974)
- Impulse (1974)
- Land of No Return (1975)
- The Devil's Rain (1975)
- Miracles of the Gods (1976) (documentary) (narrator)
- A Whale of a Tale (1977)
- Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)
- The Third Walker (1978)
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
- The Kidnapping of the President (1980)
- Visiting Hours (1982)
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
- Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
- Seasons (1987) (short subject) (narrator)
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) (also director and writer)
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
- National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)
- Star Trek: Generations (1994)
- Land of the Free (1997)
- Trekkies (1997) (documentary)
- Jefftowne (1998) (documentary)
- Free Enterprise (1998)
- Falcon Down (2000)
- Miss Congeniality (2000)
- Osmosis Jones (2001) (voice)
- Festival in Cannes (2001) (Cameo)
- Shoot or Be Shot (2002)
- Showtime (2002)
- Groom Lake (2002) (also director and writer)
- Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
- Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005)
- (2006) (currently in pre-production)
- Tek series
- See TekWar
- Star Trek series, all with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
- Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden, 1995, ISBN 0671520350
- Star Trek: The Return, 1996, ISBN 0671526103
- Star Trek: Avenger, 1997, ISBN 0671551329
- Star Trek: Spectre, 1998, ISBN 0671008781
- Star Trek: Dark Victory, 1999, ISBN 067100882X
- Star Trek: Preserver, 2000, ISBN 0671021257
- Star Trek: Captain's Peril, 2002, ISBN 0743448197
- Star Trek: Captain's Blood, 2003, ISBN 067102129X
- War series
- Quest for Tomorrow series
- Comic book adaptations
- Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier", as told by Lisabeth Shatner , 1989, ISBN 0671686526
- Star Trek Memories, with Chris Kreski , 1993, ISBN 0060177349
- Star Trek Movie Memories, with Chris Kreski, 1994, ISBN 0060176172
- Get a Life!, with Chris Kreski, 1999, ISBN 0671021311
- Star Trek: I'm Working on That: A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact, with Chip Walker, 2002, ISBN 067104737X
- The Transformed Man (Decca, 1968)
- William Shatner Live (Lemli, 1977)
- Has Been (Shout! Factory, 2004)
- Official website
- William Shatner Interview at Slashdot
- William Shatners' on Fame Tracker
- NY Times story on William Shatner's "Has Been" album with Ben Folds
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