William "Bill" Shatner (born March 22, 1931) is a Canadian actor, singer, writer, producer, director, spokesman, and comedian. He gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, Captain of the United Federation of Planets starship USS Enterprise, in the science fiction television series Star Trek (1966–69), Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973–74), and in seven of the subsequent Star Trek feature films (1979–94).
He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of Star Trek, and has co-written several novels set in the Star Trek universe. He has also written a series of science fiction novels called TekWar which was adapted for television.
In his first TV show, William Shatner played Ranger Bob on Howdy Doody in 1954. In a beloved 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone, he played a passenger with a severe fear of flying. He played a crusading district attorney on the CBS series For the People in 1965, while Gene Roddenberry was filming the pilot for a science fiction series called Star Trek.
When CBS cancelled For the People, and NBC told Roddenberry to shake up the cast and film a second Star Trek pilot, Shatner replaced Jeffrey Hunter as the captain of the Enterprise. While Star Trek went on to great success on television and in movies, Shatner's Captain Kirk has become more identified with camp. With Shatner's overacting, bad toupee, and his trademark delivery of lines with lengthy dramatic pauses, his performance as Kirk has been parodied endlessly, often by Shatner himself.
Most of the cast and crew of Star Trek remember Shatner as an egotistical pain in the butt. He had a long-running friendship and feud with co-star Leonard Nimoy, who has said that Shatner's sense of humor basically consists of bad puns and practical jokes.
After Star Trek, Shatner remained a TV star with the western Barbary Coast, the cop show T.J. Hooker, the sci-fi TekWar based on his novels, and as a fading but still egotistical lawyer on Boston Legal. He co-wrote and directed the fifth Star Trek movie -- generally considered the worst. It is the only Star Trek film or episode to include a fart joke. Shatner has also directed episodes of T.J. Hooker, the 1990s Kung Fu, in addition to a horrendous science fiction movie called Groom Lake, starring Shatner and Dick Van Patten. In Invasion: Iowa, a 2005 reality series for Spike TV, Shatner travelled to Captain Kirk's attributed home town of Riverside, Iowa, and pretended to film a movie, essentially "punking" the whole community.
Shatner owns a horse-breeding facility in Kentucky, and was sued by ex-wife Marcy Shatner when she alleged she received frozen horse semen for breeding purposes, when their divorce agreement spelled out that the horse semen was to be "fresh cooled".
Shatner memorably destroyed "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" on his 1968 album The Transformed Man. In 2004 Shatner released another album, Has Been, which included a Shatner-Joe Jackson duet covering Pulp's "Common People", and Shatner warbling "I Can't Get Behind That" with Henry Rollins.
Author of books:
Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V, the Final Frontier (1989, memoir, with Lisabeth Shatner)
Star Trek Memories (1994, memoir, with Chris Kreski)
Star Trek Movie Memories (1994, memoir, with Chris Kreski)
Get a Life! (1999, with Chris Kreski)
Up Till Now: The Autobiography (2008, )memoir, with David Fisher)
Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large (2011)
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Father: Joseph Shatner
Mother: Anna (Garmaise) Shatner
Wife: Gloria Rand (m. 12-Aug-1956, div. 1969, three children)
Daughter: Leslie Carol Shatner (b. 31-Aug-1958, with Rand)
Daughter: Lisabeth Mary Shatner (sculptor, b. 12-Jun-1960, with Rand)
Daughter: Melanie Ann Shatner (actress, b. 1-Aug-1964, with Rand)
Wife: Marcy Lafferty (actress, m. 20-Oct-1973, sep. 1994, div. 1996)
Girlfriend: Vera Montez (actress, dated 1994-96)
Wife: Nerine Kidd (m. 15-Nov-1997, d. 9-Aug-1999 drowning)
Wife: Elizabeth Anderson Martin (m. 13-Feb-2001)
High School: Baron Byng High School, Montreal, PQ Canada
University: BA Business, McGill University
Fan Mail Address:
3500 West Olive Avenue Suite 1400
Burbank, CA 91505-5512