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William Alan Shatner was born in 1931, in Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec, Canada. His father Joseph was a clothing manufacturer. It was his grandfather Wolfe Shattner (a Jewish immigrant from the Ukraine) who changed the family name to "Shatner". William attended various schools in Montreal, and later studied there at McGill University where he was involved with theatre productions on campus.
Shatner graduated in 1952 with a B.A. and began work at the National Repertory Theatre of Ottawa. Keen on Shakespeare, he
he took leading roles in The Merchant of Venice and Henry V. After a run in Marlowe's play, Tamburlaine, in New York, Shatner signed a contract with the film company 20th Century Fox.
After marrying Canadian actress Gloria Rand in 1956, Shatner moved to New York and guest-starred in numerous TV series
A Shot in the Dark
William Shatner & Julie Harris in
series until his film debut as Alexei in the western The Brothers Karamazov (1958).
Lee Cobb, Yul Brynner & William Shatner in
The Brothers Karamazov
Shatner in The World of Suzie Wong
William Shatner & Gloria Rand
Shatner in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Shatner spent the next two years in theatre productions on Broadway. These included the starring role of Lomax in the first stage production of The World of Suzie Wong and Paul Sevigne in Harry Kurnitz’s Broadway comedy hit A Shot in the Dark.
With Jessica Tandy in The Glass Eye
My William Shatner autograph
After two more films - Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) and The Intruder (1962) and many more appearances in TV productions, Shatner landed the role for which he has become so famous, that of Captain James T. Kirk, commander of the Starship Enterprise, in Star Trek. He played the role from 1966 to 1969 appearing in all 79 TV episodes of The Original Series.
The Original Series dvd
Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner & Deforest Kelley in
Star Trek: The Original Series
This led on to a franchise of TV shows, more films, comics
Star Trek 2: TheWrath of Khan
comics and merchandise, and saw him later playing Kirk in a whole series of Star Trek movies: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979); Sta
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (1982); Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock (1984); Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (1986); Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier (1989); Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country (1991) and Star Trek: Generations (1994) where he is finally killed off!
Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock
Shatner's other big-screen roles during the 1970s & 80s were not especially noteworthy, an
The death of Kirk in Star Trek: Generations
For years, Shatner was accused of being difficult to work with by some of his Star Trek co-stars, especially James Doohan and George Takei. It was often said that Shatner was a self-centred and egotistical 'pain in the neck'!
Shatner playing himself in Free Enterprise
William Shatner in Groom Lake
Tiffany Bolling & William Shatner in
William Shatner as George Stapleton in
Shatner as Denny Crane in Boston Legal
Joan Collins & William Shatner in
Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever
William Shatner as Matt Stone in Impulse
The Kidnapping of the President
and included a few mediocre B-movies like the horror thriller Impulse (1974); Big Bad Mama (1974); The Kingdom
William Shatner as Mark Preston in
The Devil's Rain
Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) and The Kid-napping
napping of the President (1980). The better ones included The Devil's Rain (1975) a horror movie starring Ernest Borgnine, and made to cash in on the success of The Exorcis
Exorcist released in 1973.
On the back of his popularity following Star Trek, Shatner appeared in many different TV roles, mostly crime dramas, ranging from George Stapleton in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1972) to Dr Jeff Benedict in The Babysitter (1980). He also had parts in series like Ironside (1970-74)Mission: Impossible (1971-72)Th
However it was in the TV series T.J.Hooker (1982-86) that he was seen most regularly in the 90 episodes of this popular police drama.
Peter Falk & William Shatner in Columbo
The Rookies (1975), Columbo (1976) and Barbary Coast (1975
On the big screen, his more notable roles were as Bill (himself!) in Free Enterprise (1998), Aidan Cardell in Land of the Free (1998) and John Gossner in Groom Lake (2002) which was also written and directed by William Shatner.
Incident on a Dark Street
Shatner as Deaver G Wallace in
As Jeff Benedict in The Babysitter
Kingdom of the Spiders
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Shatner as Luke Harris in The Rookies
Shatner has remained active well into his 70s, mainly in television, commercials and voice-over work. He has won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of law-firm partner Denny Crane in 5 episodes of the television series The Practice (2004) and no less than 101 episodes of Boston Legal (2004-2008).
Heather Locklear & William Shatner in
Shatner commercial for Kelloggs bran flakes
Away from acting, Shatner breeds champion American Saddlebred horses on his ranch in Kentucky. He also hosts the annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show, an event that raises money for various children’s charities.
With an Emmy Award
William Shatner is co-author of more than 20 books of fiction (including the Star Trek series and the Quest for Tomorrow series) along with non-fiction - notably Star Trek Memories (with Chris Kres
Kreski) and his au
autobiography Up Till Now (with David Fisher). He has
has also written a series of sci-fi novels of his own. These include TekWar (1989), TekLords (1991) & TekPower (1994).
William Shatner has been married four times. He married his first wife Gloria Rand in 1956 but they divorced in 1968 (they had 3 daughters). He married his second wife, the actress Marcy Lafferty in 1973 but divorced in 1996. Shatner's third wife, Nerine Kidd, drowned in a swimming pool accident in August
August of 1999. Leonard Nimoy was the best man at their wedding.
Shatner married his current wife, Elizabeth Anderson Martin, in 2001 after they had met through their interest in horses soon after they were both widowed.
With Marcy Lafferty
William Shatner with Nerine Kidd
With Elizabeth Martin Anderson
In 2005, Shatner suffered from lower back pain whilst filming Boston Legal. He eventually passed a kidney stone which he later sold on eBay to a casino website - GoldenPalace.com - for $25,000. The money raised went to the housing charity Habit for Humani
William Shatner with the kidney stone
Shatner is well-known for wearing a hairpiece which accounts for the wide variety of hairstyles of his characters. He is reputed to have had a complete hair transplant in recent years, but his toupee has become the subject of an amazing, and fascinating, blog about the actor (link below).
Shatner - with hair transplant?
William Shatner has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside 6901 Hollywood Boulevard.
that he sold on eBay!
Shatner's Walk of Fame star
William Shatner in Big Bad Mama
I met the Star Trek actor William Shatner when he was a guest at the London Film and Comic Convention held at Earls Court in July 2010.
He signed my photo montage of characters from Star Trek: The Original Series and I had this photograph taken with him.
My photo-montage of characters from Star Trek: The Original Series signed by William Shatner