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William Alan Shatner was born March 22, 1931 and is a Canadian actor and novelist. He gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk, captain of the starship USS Enterprise, in the television series Star Trek from 1966 to 1969, Star Trek: The Animated Series and in seven of the subsequent Star Trek feature films. He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of Star Trek as well as several co-written novels set in the Star Trek universe. He has also authored a series of science fiction novels called TekWar that were adapted for television.
Shatner also played the title veteran police sergeant in T.J. Hooker from 1982 to 1986. He has since worked as a musician, bestselling author, producer, director, and celebrity pitchman. From 2004 to 2008, he starred as attorney Denny Crane on the television drama Boston Legal, for which he has won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. As of 2009, Shatner stars as the voice of Don Salmonella Gavone on the animated series "The Gavones."
William Shatner was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the son of Anna (nÃ©e Garmaise) and Joseph Shatner, a clothing manufacturer. He has two sisters, Joy and Farla. His paternal grandfather, Wolf Schattner, anglicized the family name to "Shatner". Shatner's grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Hungary, and Shatner was raised in Conservative Judaism. He attended Willingdon Elementary School, in Notre-Dame-de-GrÃ¢ce (NDG) and Baron Byng High School, in Montreal, as well as West Hill high school in NDG. He is an alumnus of the Montreal Children's Theatre. He earned a Bachelor's degree in commerce from McGill University.
Trained as a classical Shakespearean actor, Shatner performed at the Shakespearean Stratford Festival of Canada in Stratford, Ontario. He played a range of Shakespearean roles at the Stratford Festival in productions that included a minor role in the opening scene of a famed production of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie (recorded on video and nationally televised), Shakespeare's Henry V and Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great. Shatner made his Broadway debut in the latter. In 1954, he was cast as Ranger Bob on the Canadian version of the Howdy Doody Show.
Though his official movie debut was in the 1951 Canadian film entitled The Butler's Night Off, Shatner's first feature role came in the 1958 MGM film The Brothers Karamazov with Yul Brynner, in which he starred as the youngest of the Karamazov brothers, Alexei. In 1959, he received decent reviews when he took on the role of Lomax in the Broadway production of The World of Suzie Wong. In 1960, Shatner appeared in two episodes as Wayne Gorham in NBC's The Outlaws Western series with Barton MacLane. In 1961, he starred in the Broadway play A Shot in the Dark opposite Julie Harris and directed by Harold Clurman. Walter Matthau (who won a Tony Award for his performance) and Gene Saks were also featured in this play. Shatner also starred in two episodes of the NBC television series Boris Karloff's Thriller, "Grim Reaper" and "The Hungry Glass".
In 1962, he starred in Roger Corman's award-winning movie The Intruder. He also appeared in the Stanley Kramer film Judgment at Nuremberg and two episodes, "Nick of Time" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", of the acclaimed science fiction anthology series The Twilight Zone. In the 1963-1964 season, he appeared in episodes of two ABC series, Channing and The Outer Limits. In 1963 he starred in the Family Theater production called The Soldier and received credits in other programs of the Psalms series. In 1964, he guest starred in the episode "He Stuck in His Thumb" of the CBS drama The Reporter starring Harry Guardino as journalist Danny Taylor of the fictitious New York Globe.
Shatner guest-starred in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in an episode that also featured Leonard Nimoy, with whom Shatner later would be paired in Star Trek. He also starred in the critically acclaimed drama For the People in 1965 as an assistant district attorney, costarring with Jessica Walter. The program lasted for only thirteen episodes. Shatner starred in the 1965 Gothic horror film Incubus, the second feature-length movie ever made with all dialogue spoken in the constructed language Esperanto.
Shatner was first cast as Captain James T. Kirk for the second pilot of Star Trek, entitled "Where No Man Has Gone Before". He was subsequently contracted to play Kirk for the Star Trek series and held the role from 1966 to 1969. In the episode "Operation Annihilate" he also played the corpse of the recently killed George Samuel Kirk (the brother of James T. Kirk).
In 1973, Shatner returned to the role of Captain Kirk, albeit only in voice, in the animated Star Trek series. He was slated to reprise the role of Kirk for Star Trek: Phase II, a follow-up series chronicling 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 first six Star Trek films, and directed the fifth. In 1994, he portrayed Captain Kirk on film for the last time in Star Trek Generations, which ended with the death of Captain Kirk. 1997 marked his final appearance as Captain Kirk in the movie sequences of the video game Starfleet Academy, although he recently reprised this role briefly for a Trek-parody DirecTV advertisement which began airing in late summer 2006.
In the summer of 2004, rumors circulated that the producers of Star Trek: Enterprise were considering bringing William Shatner back into the Trek fold. Reports in the media indicated that the idea was 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. Shortly thereafter, Enterprise was cancelled, likely ending all hope that Shatner would return to Star Trek.
Shatner was not "offered or suggested" a role in the 2009 film Star Trek.Director J.J. Abrams said in July 2007 that the production was "desperately trying to figure out a way to put him in" but that to "shove him in...would be a disaster." Shatner had invented his own idea about the beginning of Star Trek with his latest novel, Star Trek: Academy ï¿½" Collision Course.
In 2008, he joined Star Trek: The Tour in Long Beach, California - an exhibition which is planned to tour 40 cities in the U.S. and Canada. In an interview, he spoke about accepting the dominance of Star Trek in public recollection of his career, and coming to terms with the adoration of fans.
Shatner writes in Star Trek Memories that "The Devil in the Dark" was his favourite original Star Trek episode. From his perspective, the episode was "exciting, thought-provoking and intelligent, it contained all of the ingredients that made up our very best Star Treks."
Shatner has been married four times: to Gloria Rand from 1956 to 1969. His second marriage ï¿½" his longest marriage thus far ï¿½" lasted 21 years and was to Marcy Lafferty Shatner from 1973 to 1994. The couple divorced in 1994. His third marriage was to Nerine Kidd-Shatner from 1997 to 1999.
On August 9, 1999, Shatner returned home around 10 p.m. to discover the body of his wife Nerine at the bottom of their back yard swimming pool. Alcohol and Valium were detected in an autopsy, and a coroner ruled the death an accidental drowning. The LAPD ruled out foul play and the case was closed. Speaking to the press shortly after his wife's death, a clearly shaken and emotional Shatner said that she "meant everything" to him and called her his "beautiful soulmate". Shatner urged the public to support Friendly House, a non-profit organization that helps women re-establish themselves in the community after suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction. He later told Larry King in an interview that "...my wife, whom I loved dearly and who loved me, was suffering with a disease that we don't like to talk about, alcoholism. And she met a tragic ending because of it." In his new 2008 book Up Till Now: The Autobiography, Shatner discusses how Leonard Nimoy helped to take his third wife Nerine for treatment of her alcoholism. Shatner writes in an excerpt to his book:
" Leonard Nimoy's personal experience of alcoholism now came to play a central role in my life and it helped us bond together in a way I never could have imagined in the early days of Star Trek. After Nerine and I had been to dinner with Leonard and Susan Nimoy one evening, Leonard called and said: "Bill, you know she's an alcoholic?" I said I did. I married Nerine in 1997, against the advice of many and my own good sense. But I thought she would give up alcohol for me. We had a celebration in Pasadena, and Leonard was my best man. I woke up about eight o'clock the next morning and Nerine was drunk. She was in rehab for 30 days three different times. Twice she almost drank herself to death. Leonard took Nerine to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but she did not want to quit. "
In 2000, a Reuters story reported that Shatner was planning to write and direct The Shiva Club, a dark comedy about the grieving process inspired by his wife's death. Shatner's 2004 album Has Been produced with Ben Folds included a spoken word piece titled "What Have You Done" which describes his anguish upon discovering his wife's body in the pool.
His current wife is Elizabeth Martin whom he married in 2001. The couple came together through their interest in horses shortly after they were both widowed. Shatner has three daughters, Leslie Carol (b. 1958), Lisabeth Mary (b. 1960), and Melanie (b. 1964), from his marriage to Rand. Melanie had a brief career as an actress and is now the proprietor of Dari, an upscale women's clothing boutique. She is married to actor Joel Gretsch, with whom she has two daughters, Kaya and Willow.
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 Belle Reve, where he raises American Saddlebreds. His champion American Saddlebreds include Call Me Ringo, Revival, and Sultan's Great Day.
Shatner suffers from tinnitus and is involved in the ATA (American Tinnitus Association). His treatment for this condition involved wearing a small electronic device that generated a low-level, broadband sound (white noise) that "helped his brain put the tinnitus in the background".
In 2004, Shatner won his first Emmy Award for his role as "Denny Crane" on The Practice. In 2005, he won his first Golden Globe award and a second Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Boston Legal. In 2009, Shatner won a Streamy Award in the category of "Best Reality Web Series." Shatner also received a few Golden Raspberry Award nominations and a couple wins for the entire Star Trek Original Series.