Franchise: Star Trek: The Original Series
Storyline: Memorial Books
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“I’m not a Starfleet commander, or T. J. Hooker. I don’t live on Starship NCC-170…or own a phaser. I don’t know anybody named Bones, Sulu, or Spock. And no, I’ve never had green alien sex, but I’m sure it’d be quite an evening. 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 I believe in Priceline.com, where you never have to pay full price for airline tickets, hotels, and car rentals! I’ve appeared on stage at Stratford, at Carnegie Hall, Albert Hall, and the Monkland Theatre in NDG. 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!” – William Shatner
It almost goes without saying that nobody occupies a place in pop culture that remotely resembles the one William Shatner finds himself in. As an actor who has been about as critically acclaimed as he has been lampooned, Shatner seems to relish every aspect of his image, whether he’s making fun of himself and others on a celebrity roast or appearing in humorous commercials as a spokesman for Priceline.com.
Given the length and scope of his career, it’s easy to forget that Shatner started as a pretty typical dramatic actor in his early years, including appearances in Judgment at Nuremberg, episodes of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents and even the Western series Outlaws. It’s almost impossible to believe now, but Shatner was once heralded as the peer of leading men like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. Of course, that all changed when Shatner took the role he has been most famously associated with ever since. Shatner was cast as Captain Kirk on the original television series Star Trek in an episode that was aired in 1966, and though the show was canceled in 1970, its unanticipated resurgence revived both the franchise and Shatner’s career. As Shatner joked, “Captain Kirk has been a source of pleasure and income for a long time.”
Even when he took other roles over the next few decades, including starring as a police officer in the television series T.J. Hooker, Shatner could never shake the effects that being typecast as Captain Kirk had on his career, at least in middle age. In addition to being permanently associated with Kirk, Shatner and his career were viewed as something of a joke, and he was often criticized for overacting. Shatner was frequently nominated for Razzies, including one for “Worst Actor of the Century”, and when he took his most recognizable role of the 21st century as Denny Crane in The Practice, a writer in The New York Times Magazine described his role as “William Shatner the man… playing William Shatner the character playing the character Denny Crane, who was playing the character William Shatner.” That said, Shatner’s character was beloved not just on The Practice but also on Boston Legal, winning him 2 Emmy awards and a Golden Globe, as well as nominations for a string of several straight years.
Legends of Hollywood: The Life of William Shatner examines the life and career of the famous actor. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Heston like never before, in no time at all.