40 Fun Facts About Shatner

November 21, 2014

William Shatner's rich history as an 

acclaimed actor, author, and producer:


  1. William Alan Shatner was born on March 22, 1931 in Montreal and his paternal grandfather, Wolf Schattner changed the family named after immigrating to Canada.

  2. Shatner graduated from McGill University in 1952 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce.

  3. He classically trained as a Shakespearean actor and performed at the Shakespearean Stratford Festival of Canada.

  4. Shatner landed his first American film role in 1958 as Alexi, the youngest brother in The Brothers Karamazov and appeared on Alfred Hitchcock Presents twice. First, in an episode entitled “The Glass Eye,” and then, a few years later in “Mother, may I go out to swim?”

  5. Shatner’s best-known role pre-Star Trek was a classic episode of The Twilight Zone, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”

  6. He played the part of Captain James T. Kirk on the television series Star Trek from 1966 to 1969. The show was canceled, but became much more popular in reruns post-moon landing.

  7. He starred as Kirk in Star Trek: The Animated Series and in the first seven Star Trek movies.

  8. He portrayed Captain Kirk in film for the final time in 1994 Star Trek Generations; in 2006 he reprised his role for a DirecTV advertisement.

  9. Thanks to a deal he made with Nimoy, Shatner directed the fifth Star Trek

    movie, 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. He also co-wrote it.

  10. Shatner was not given a role in J.J. Abram’s 2009 film Star Trek. He then refused to see it in theaters.

  11. Shatner was a regular celebrity guest on The $20,000 Pyramid in the 1970s. This ended when he accidentally gave a guest an “illegal” clue, causing them to forfeit their winnings and Shatner to throw a chair on set.

  12. In 1979′s Star Trek: The Motion Picture Shatner’s Captain James T. Kirk was promoted to Admiral.

  13. Shatner played the title role of veteran police sergeant T.J. Hooker from 1982 to 1986 on ABC.

  14. From 1989 to 1996 Shatner hosted Rescue 911.

  15. Shatner spoofed his Captain Kirk role in both Airplane II: The Sequel and National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon.

  16. He published a sci-fi series called TekWar that was then adapted into a comic, TV movies, a short-lived TV show, and a video game. Some people think that he didn’t write it.

  17. Shatner played a womanizing alien known as “Big Giant Head” on 3rd Rock from the Sun, which earned him an Emmy nomination.

  18. In 2004 Shatner photographed playmate Deanna Brooks for Playboy magazine.

  19. Shatner played Denny Crane on the final season of The Practice, and the same character in its spin-off series, Boston Legal. He won an Emmy for playing Crane on both TV shows, which is a rare feat also accomplished by his co-star, James Spader.

  20. Shatner sold a kidney stone he passed for $75,000 in 2006. The money went toward building a Habitat for Humanity home in northern Louisiana.

  21. Shatner plays on the World Poker Tour in the Hollywood Home games.

  22. Shatner vlogs about his life in a series called ShatnerVision, which he later renamed The Shatner Project.

  23. Shatner has been married four times and married his current wife, Elizabeth Martin, in 2001. They share a love of horses and have a 360-acre horse farm in Kentucky where he raises American Saddlebreds.

  24. Shatner is a big supporter of therapeutic horseback riding and founded the annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show in 1990, which he continues to host it each year.

  25. Shatner launched his spoken word career in 1968 with an album called The Transformed Man. In 1978, he did a spoken word cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” during the Science Fiction Film Awards. That infamous performance was later spoofed by David Letterman, Beck, and The Family Guy.

  26. Shatner landed his role as the “Priceline Negotiator” because an exec was a fan of his early spoken word work.

  27. Shatner provided vocals on two different Ben Folds tracks: “In Love” and “Rockin’ the Suburbs.” Folds returned the favor by co-writing and producing Shatner’s second studio album, Has Been, in 2004.

  28. He made U.S. dramatic TV history in 1968 by sharing an interracial kiss with Star Trek‘s Nichelle Nichols. It was purportedly the result of telekinesis.

  29. Halloween‘s Michael Myers wears a Captain Kirk mask that is spray painted white.

  30. Futurama‘s Zapp Brannigan is based on a 40/60 mixture of Captain Kirk and William Shatner.

  31. Incubus, a ’60s horror movie starring Shatner, is one of the few films to feature the artificial language of Esperanto.

  32. Along with English and Esperanto, Shatner is also fluent in French. His speech is so distinct that it has spawned its own adjective: “Shatnerian.”

  33. Shatner received his Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 1983.

  34. Shatner is a vegetarian and enjoys playing both paintball and tennis.

  35. Shatner says that he declined Richard Branson’s offer to send him into space because Branson expected him to pay for it.

  36. After playing the host of the Miss USA Pageant in 2000′s Miss Congeniality, Shatner hosted the real 50th Annual Miss USA Pageant in 2001.

  37. Back in the late ’60s both Shatner and Nimoy recorded covers of famous songs for an album entitled Spaced Out: The Best of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner.

  38. Shatner starred in the reality TV series, Invasion Iowa, which took place in Riverside, Iowa, the future birthplace of Captain Kirk.

  39. Shatner played the dad in CBS’s series, Shit My Dad Says.

  40. He recently launched a Kickstarter project to produce the new book, “Catch Me Up”. The book introduces a fresh, modern approach to teaching seniors how to leverage their lifelong skill sets to create viable businesses and become entrepreneurs.

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