93 Fascinating Facts About William Shatner

Shatner’s incredible, eclectic career has seen him work with George Lucas, record country music, and appear on a reality bowling show.
William Shatner has done it all.
William Shatner has done it all. / Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

Born March 22, 1931, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, William Shatner has been an indelible part of popular culture for a good portion of a century. Though he’s most recognizable as Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek film and television franchise, Shatner’s career has encompassed everything from the earliest days of television to spoken-word recordings to his own sci-fi book series (TekWar).

The nonagenarian will be celebrating his 93rd birthday in 2024, so we’ve compiled 93 of the more compelling facts and details of the actor’s life and career, from his painful encounter with Koko the gorilla to a failed attempt to get Captain Kirk some robot action. Happy birthday, Bill.

1. William Shatner was once an understudy for Christopher Plummer.

Shatner had been acting in a variety of theatrical productions before moving to Toronto, joining the Stratford Festival troupe, and putting on a production of Henry V in 1956. One night, when Plummer was suffering from a kidney stone—which the actor said he originally thought it was a bout of syphilis—Shatner was called to the stage and performed the title role flawlessly, receiving a standing ovation. In his autobiography, Up Till Now (2008), Shatner recalled “that was the night I knew I was an actor.”

2. Shatner’s dad was not thrilled about his son’s chosen profession.

Shatner had an early film role in 1961's The Explosive Generation.
Shatner had an early film role in 1961's The Explosive Generation. / Film Publicity Archive/United Archives via Getty Images

Shatner’s career path was not endorsed by his father Joseph, who wanted his son to join him in the men’s clothing industry. Shatner attended McGill University and received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in anticipation of doing just that before he decided to pursue acting instead.

3. He made his official acting debut in 1951.

Shatner’s first-ever credited film role was in 1951’s The Butler’s Night Off. He was billed as “A Cook.”

4. One of Shatner’s earliest financial investments was in uranium.

In the early 1950s, Shatner sank $500—his entire savings—into uranium stocks. A day later, the Canadian government announced they were no longer purchasing uranium. The financial loss delayed Shatner’s move to New York to pursue his acting career.

5. One of Shatner’s first big TV roles was opposite a clown.

One of Shatner’s first major television roles was as Ranger Bob on a Canadian version of The Howdy Doody Show that premiered in 1954. Shatner played opposite Clarabelle, a clown who responded by honking a horn. Appearances on live television, including Playhouse 90, as well as anthology series like The Twilight Zone, followed.

6. Shatner is a noted prankster.

Shatner pulled a prank during shooting of his classic 1963 The Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” in which he plays an anxious passenger who thinks he sees a gremlin destroying the wing of the plane. Director Richard Donner said Shatner was goofing off with a visitor on set—actor Edd Byrnes—and threw a dummy off the wing of the model plane, making Donner believe Shatner had slipped and fallen to his death.

7. Shatner’s appearance in the 1950s Broadway play The World of Suzie Wong led to a bit of violence.

One of Shatner’s co-stars, Ron Randell, began reacting to whether or not he’d get a laugh on one of his lines by hitting Shatner on the shoulder. When the actor refused to stop hitting Shatner, Shatner punched him in front of the audience. Fisticuffs ensued, which led to Randell accidentally hitting an 86-year-old prop man and knocking him unconscious.

8. The World of Suzie Wong helped to formulate Shatner’s trademark cadence.

Noticing some audience members were not returning after intermission, Shatner said he began emphasizing words—or yelling them—in order to command their attention.

9. Shatner tried to stay away from TV in the early days of his career.

Prior to Star Trek, Shatner was wary of accepting leading recurring roles in television, preferring to leave himself open for stage or film opportunities. But he did take on the title role in Alexander the Great, an ill-fated 1964 costume drama series co-starring Adam West and John Cassavetes. Only the pilot made it to air.

10. William Shatner and Adam West worked together again in 2017.

Shatner and West later worked together in the 2017 animated film Batman vs. Two-Face, with West reprising his role as Batman and Shatner providing the voice of Harvey Dent, a.k.a. Two-Face.

11. Shatner took the lead in the 1965 CBS legal drama For the People, which lasted just one season.

Shatner played David Koster, a New York City district attorney. The show focused on building cases rather than courtroom scenes, foreshadowing the premise of Law & Order decades later.

12. Shatner and George Lucas collaborated early on in their careers.

Shatner worked with George Lucas before Star Trek or Star Wars had ever materialized. In 1965, Shatner appeared in a short film titled The Soldier, which was financed by the Catholic production company Family Theater Productions and part of a series on the Psalms. Lucas, then attending the University of Southern California, was the assistant cameraman on the film.

13. Shatner wasn’t the first—or even the second—captain of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek.

On the set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. / Sunset Boulevard/GettyImages

The original pilot featured actor Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike. When both the show and Hunter failed to impress NBC executives, creator Gene Roddenberry approached Hawaii 5-0 star Jack Lord to take over the captain’s chair in a retooled pilot. When Lord wanted 50 percent ownership of the show, Rodenberry turned to Shatner.

14. Star Trek served as a reunion for Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (Spock) had worked together before: Both appeared on a 1964 episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

15. Shatner improvised some fight choreography that ended up in an episode of Star Trek.

Shatner expressed concern during one Star Trek scene where Sulu (George Takei), acting crazed, attempts to attack Kirk with an épée. To avoid being hurt, Shatner decided on some impromptu choreography and hurled Takei to the floor. The scene wound up in the episode.

16. Shatner made TV history with one of the earliest onscreen interracial kisses.

Shatner participated in one of the earliest onscreen interracial kisses on television in the 1968 Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.” In the show, Shatner’s Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) kiss while under the power of a malevolent alien race.

17. Shatner was prone to stealing Nimoy’s bicycle on the set of Star Trek.

Ostensibly a prank, it was also Shatner’s way of expressing his frustration at Nimoy being able to get to the commissary for lunch faster than everyone else in the cast.

18. Shatner has some trouble with the Vulcan salute.

Shatner is apparently unable to do the Vulcan salute, where the Vulcans of Star Trek spread their four fingers to form a V shape. When prompted to do so by Conan O’Brien in 2009, Shatner gave the talk show host the middle finger instead.

19. Shatner never actually uttered the phrase Beam me up, Scotty on Star Trek.

“Scotty, beam us up” was often used.

29. Shatner’s daughters co-starred in an episode of Star Trek.

Shatner with daughter Melanie in 1981.
Shatner with daughter Melanie in 1981. / Melanie Shatner, Online USA/Getty Images

In the 1966 Star Trek episode “Miri,” Shatner acted alongside his two daughters, Leslie and Lisabeth, who appeared as kids on a planet consisting solely of children.

21. Shatner was invited to a NASA gathering in 1968 to inspect a lunar module.

When NASA engineers presented him with a replica of the Enterprise, it crumbled into pieces.

22. He earned a prestigious NASA award.

NASA did not apparently hold a grudge about the Enterprise incident, as the agency awarded Shatner its Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2014 for his continued advocacy for space exploration.

23. In 2011, he recorded a voice greeting for the crew of the space shuttle Discovery.

Shatner’s wake-up call was set to the theme to Star Trek: “These have been the voyages of the space shuttle Discovery. Her 30-year mission: To seek out new science, to build new outposts, to bring nations together in the final frontier, to boldly go and do what no spacecraft has done before.”

24. Shatner reprised his role of Captain Kirk for an animated series.

After Star Trek ended in 1969, Shatner assumed the role of Kirk next in an animated Star Trek series that aired from 1973 to 1974. Shatner said he often recorded his lines into a tape recorder while traveling or on another acting project. “It is very strange, reading your lines alone,” he said in 1974. “It feels so disembodied.”

25. He recreated a famous Star Trek fight scene more than 40 years after it first aired.

In 2013, Shatner recreated his famous fight with the Gorn—a kind of alien gladiator—in the 1967 Star Trek episode “Arena” for a television commercial promoting a new Star Trek video game.

26. Shatner was a Hollywood Square.

Among Shatner’s post-Trek projects in the 1970s was a recurring gig as a square on Hollywood Squares as well as a sister program for kids, Storybook Squares (1976), where actors assumed roles in order to play the game. On the latter, he appeared in character as Captain Kirk. Charo portrayed Lady Godiva; Roddy McDowall appeared as Sherlock Holmes.

27. Shatner did some stand-up comedy—including once in character as Captain Kirk.

Shatner also made one appearance in character as Captain Kirk during a stand-up comedy booking in the 1970s. His idea was that Kirk fancied himself a comedian and that the humor would come from the jokes being purposely bland. The audience didn’t grasp the meta humor and the performance was met with resounding silence.

28. The fame garnered from Star Trek netted Shatner an offer to record an album.

On The Transformed Man, Shatner contrasted great written works with popular songs. But when he appeared on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson in 1968, producers trimmed the written-word part, leaving Shatner to perform a bizarre spoken-word rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

29. Johnny Carson banned Shatner from The Tonight Show.

Actor William Shatner, photographed in 1988.
Actor William Shatner, photographed in 1988. / John Downing/Getty Images

In his 2011 book Shatner Rules, Shatner related that Carson later banned him from The Tonight Show in the mid-1980s because Shatner “talked too much and monopolized our discussion.”

30. Shatner performed more than one bizarre spoken word performance.

In 1978, Shatner performed a spoken-word rendition of “Rocket Man” by Elton John, a performance made slightly more bizarre by the fact it took place during The Science Fiction Film Awards, a televised awards ceremony broadcast in syndication. Shatner also hosted the show. “Rocket Man” co-writer Bernie Taupin introduced Shatner.

31. He performed a one-man show.

In the late 1970s, Shatner toured a one-man show, Symphony of the Stars: Music From the Galaxies and Beyond with the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. Shatner performed dramatic readings from the work of science fiction authors like H.G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke.

32. Bowling is among the many talents Shatner has showed off.

Shatner made an appearance on Celebrity Bowling in 1974.

33. He lost his temper on The $20,000 Pyramid.

Shatner once flubbed an appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid, accidentally using the word in a clue with a contestant. Host Dick Clark recalled that Shatner grew “enraged” and threw a chair across the stage. “Fortunately, he didn’t hit anybody,” Clark said.

34. Shatner was in consideration as a possible host of Family Feud.

Owing to his successful game show appearances, Shatner was considered for the hosting role on Family Feud in 1976. The job eventually went to Richard Dawson.

35. He appeared on Circus of the Stars.

Shatner made two appearances on Circus of the Stars, the variety series in which celebrities performed circus acts. In his first appearance, Shatner broke flaming boards with his hands; he later appeared with horses.

36. His long career in TV commercials began in the 1970s.

The 1970s were a prime time for Shatner to begin commercial endorsements. He appeared in spots for Promise margarine and the Commodore Vic-20 computer, among others.

37. He was famously the face of a Canadian grocery store for several years.

Shatner’s most memorable commercial spots may have been for Loblaws, a Canadian grocery chain that also had stores in Western New York. Shatner appeared in their advertising from 1972 to 1978 before being replaced by Loblaws president David Nichol. Shatner’s catchphrase: At Loblaws, “more than the price is right, but my gosh—the price is right!”

38. His most recognizable advertising work was for Priceline in the 1990s.

Priceline, a travel website that allowed people to name their own price for travel bookings, offered Shatner shares of the company instead of a fee. But Shatner sold the stock too early, when it was down to just $1 a share, in 2000. When it jumped up, a story began to circulate that Shatner had made $600 million in stock sales. (He didn’t.)

39. Priceline killed off Shatner’s character in 2012.

In 2012, Priceline killed off Shatner’s Negotiator character by placing him on a runaway bus that goes over a cliff.

40. It took him a while to fully understand Star Trek’s impact and appeal.

(L-R) DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, and Leonard Nimoy reunited for 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
(L-R) DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, and Leonard Nimoy reunited for 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture. / Film Publicity Archive/United Archives via Getty Images

In his 1994 book Star Trek Movie Memories, Shatner says that he first understood the enduring appeal of Star Trek in 1975, when the series—which had ended in 1969—was in syndication. Appearing in a one-man show where he performed Shakespeare sonnets, Shatner decided to spend a portion of one evening opening the floor to questions. Most of them were about Star Trek. Soon after that, Shatner attended his first Trek convention.

41. He was set to return to TV as Captain Kirk in the late 1970s.

Shatner was originally set to reprise Kirk in Star Trek: Phase II, a sequel television series planned for a fourth broadcast network owned by Paramount. When 1978’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind opened, executives believed the franchise stood a better chance on the big screen, and the project became 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

42. One of Shatner’s ideas for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was for Kirk to have a robot love interest.

“For the first movie, I suggested an idea which was turned down, in which there was a female robot with no emotions, and I make love to her, because if she can be made to feel emotion, humanity will be saved,” Shatner told Roger Ebert in 1986. “They didn’t like that idea. I did.”

43. Shatner disliked the script for 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

However, writer and director Nicholas Meyer was able to make changes in 36 hours that won Shatner’s approval.

44. Shatner was thrilled when Sadiq Khan was elected London’s mayor.

In 2016, when Sadiq Khan was elected mayor of London, Shatner buoyantly tweeted out “Kaaaaahn!” in homage to his iconic line delivery in Star Trek II. Mayor Khan responded by following Shatner on Twitter.

45. Shatner brought The Wrath of Khan back to theaters—and tagged along.

In early 2020, Shatner toured with Star Trek II, hosting a fan Q&A following a screening of the film.

46. Shatner helped put out a fire on the set of 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

A blaze had engulfed a standing set on the Paramount lot that would have threatened the set of the Genesis planet in the film. Shatner, fearful that the film’s production would ground to a halt if the set had to be rebuilt, picked up a fire hose and sprayed it down.

47. Shatner hosted Saturday Night Live in 1986.

When Shatner appeared on SNL in 1986 to help promote Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, he made a memorable appearance as himself in a skit in which he implored Star Trek convention attendees to “get a life.” But he was actually in two Trek sketches that night. The other involved his Kirk heading up an Enterprise that’s been turned into a theme restaurant.

48. He directed 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier as a result of a contractual detail.

Because co-star Leonard Nimoy had directed 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and because Shatner and Nimoy had a “favored nations” clause that meant one would get whatever the other had, Shatner had the opportunity to helm the fifth film.

49. He was not thrilled about Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Shatner was not overly enthusiastic about the 1987 premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the first Star Trek show following the original series without the original cast. “I think it is a mistake,” Shatner told Starlog in 1987. “To call a series Star Trek that doesn’t have the cast and the ship in it is an error. The error seems to me to be overexposure of the Star Trek name and the possibility of not having the Star Trek quality we’ve become accustomed to. It remains to be seen.”

50. Shatner had to shoot Kirk’s death scene in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations twice.

In the first version, Kirk is shot in the back with a phaser by the villainous Soran (Malcolm McDowell). Test screening audiences thought it was too cheap a death for the captain, so Shatner and the production team reshot it with Kirk sprinting across a collapsing piece of scaffolding to save the day before it falls on him.

51. Shatner’s idea for a great line in that scene was dismissed.

Shatner, who had often uttered the phrase captain on the bridge during the original series, wanted to say “bridge on the captain” during that climactic scene. The idea was turned down.

52. He resurrected Captain Kirk in a book.

Although Kirk died in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, Shatner revived him—in book form. The actor wrote a novel in 1996 titled The Return in which Kirk lives.

53. He permanently retired Captain Kirk onscreen in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations.

However, he did wind up appearing on a future Star Trek series. In a 1996 episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine titled “Trials and Tribble-lations,” the crew traveled back in time to save Kirk’s life from an assassination attempt. Producers used footage from an episode of the original series, “The Trouble With Tribbles,” and inserted Kirk and other cast members into the frame digitally.

54. He approved of the William Shatner Fan Fellowship.

Shatner endorsed a fan club named WISH, or the William Shatner Fan Fellowship, in the 1980s. For $8 annually, fans would receive a bimonthly newsletter, yearbook, and magazine devoted to Shatner’s career. The fan club’s president, Sonni Cooper, said that letters addressed to “William Shatner—Hollywood” typically got to them.

55. When Shatner agreed to appear in T.J. Hooker, he didn't realize he’d be starring in T.J. Hooker.

Shatner starred in five seasons of the ABC cop drama T.J. Hooker (1982-1985), though he didn’t realize he was committing to a starring role. According to Up Till Now, the series was originally conceived as a show that would rotate the focus among eight young cops under the senior Hooker’s guidance. A strong audience response convinced producers to focus on the Hooker character specifically.

56. He did some of his own stunt driving on T.J. Hooker.

Among these stunts was a “power slide,” in which Shatner’s patrol vehicle would careen into the frame.

57. Shatner once directed traffic while in costume as T.J. Hooker.

During a traffic jam, Shatner—who was shooting the series—jumped out of his vehicle and began to motion for cars to move. Not realizing he wasn’t a cop (or perhaps realizing he was William Shatner), the drivers followed his instructions.

58. Leonard Nimoy made an appearance on T.J. Hooker.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy present the award for "King of Zing / Queen of Quip" at the 2005 TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, California.
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy present the award for "King of Zing / Queen of Quip" at the 2005 TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, California. / Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Shatner reunited with Leonard Nimoy on a 1983 episode of T.J. Hooker, which was an attempt to bolster the show’s ratings against NBC comedies Diff’rent Strokes and Silver Spoons. Nimoy played a police lieutenant out for vigilante justice.

59. Shatner inadvertently helped fund a wayward POW rescue mission.

In 1983, a Vietnam veteran named James “Bo” Gritz told Shatner and Clint Eastwood of his intention to rescue captured Americans in Laos, Vietnam. Shatner paid him $10,000 for the rights to his story; Eastwood paid $30,000. Gritz failed to find any POWs and was briefly arrested in Thailand.

60. Shatner wrote a novel in 1989.

Shatner has said he essentially amalgamated his two major franchises—Star Trek and T.J. Hooker—with TekWar, the 1989 novel he published with Ron Goulart, about a private eye named Jake Cartigan in the 22nd century.

61. TekWar was optioned for television.

TekWar was turned into a series of syndicated made-for-television movies, ultimately resulting in a USA Network series that premiered in 1995.

62. Shatner teamed up with the WWE to promote TekWar.

Shatner got into the WWE ring on Monday Night Raw in 1995 to promote TekWar, which was also airing on the USA Network. He tossed Jerry Lawler over his shoulder.

63. Shatner helped save hundreds of lives with a reality TV show.

From 1989 to 1996, Shatner hosted the reality show Rescue 911, about real-life emergency calls. The show was estimated to have saved the lives of more than 350 people who acted quickly based on information gleaned from watching the series.

64. Rescue 911 turned Shatner into a kind of authority on life-saving techniques.

As a result of his affiliation with Rescue 911, Shatner endorsed the National Safety Council’s 1996 book, First Aid Handbook, which reviewed the proper protocol for a number of health and safety emergencies.

65. Shatner’s face is seen throughout John Carpenter's Halloween.

Filmmakers used a Captain Kirk mask turned inside-out for the original (1978).

66. He once went out on Halloween wearing a William Shatner mask.

Two of them, actually. (He took one off to reveal another one.) “Everybody who opened their doors recognized me,” Shatner wrote in Up Till Now, “but nobody knew who I was.”

67. He had a memorable meeting with Koko the gorilla.

In 1988, in order to raise awareness for the Gorilla Foundation’s Endangered Species Campaign, Shatner met Koko, the famed gorilla who had mastered sign language. Koko greeted Shatner by grabbing him by the testicles.

68. Shatner performed at the 1992 MTV Movie Awards, but has no recollection of it.

Shatner once performed spoken-word versions of all five Best Song from a Movie nominees for the 1992 MTV Movie Awards, including Color Me Badd's “I Wanna Sex You Up” from New Jack City. Shatner later said he had suffered a concussion earlier in the day as the result of falling off a horse and doesn’t remember the show.

69. He is a two-time Emmy winner.

Shatner has won two Emmys—not for Star Trek, but for his portrayal of Denny Crane, the eccentric Boston lawyer that was introduced in The Practice in 2004 and later spun off into his own series, Boston Legal (2004-2008), co-starring James Spader.

70. Shatner earned an Emmy nomination for 3rd Rock from the Sun.

Boston Legal co-stars James Spader (L) and William Shatner (R) in May 2006.
Boston Legal co-stars James Spader (L) and William Shatner (R) in May 2006. / Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Shatner also received an Emmy nomination in 1999 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Big Giant Head, an alien supervisor visiting John Lithgow on Earth, in the NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun.

71. Shatner got into the cooking show game.

In 2001, Shatner hosted Iron Chef USA, based on the popular Japanese cooking game show. It failed to find an audience. A retooled version, Iron Chef America, ran from 2005 to 2018.

72. Shatner starred in a sequel to American Psycho.

In 2002, Shatner appeared in American Psycho 2: All-American Girl, a direct-to-DVD sequel to the 2000 film starring Christian Bale as a white-collar killer. Bale does not appear (Mila Kunis takes over the starring role); Shatner is a college professor.

73. Shatner and Ben Folds made an album.

Shatner teamed up with musician Ben Folds for 2004’s Has Been, another spoken-word album. Shatner’s rendition of “Common People” by Pulp was well-received.

74. He has played a lot of paintball for charity.

Shatner has participated in a number of paintball games to raise money for charity, including 2004’s Celebrity Paintball Mobster Mash event in Chicago.

75. Shatner pranked Captain Kirk’s birthplace.

Shatner starred in a 2005 prank reality series, Invasion Iowa, in which he moved a fake production into Riverside, Iowa, which promotes itself as the birthplace of Captain Kirk.

76. He briefly chaired his own DVD subscription service.

The Shatner DVD Club launched in 2006. For $47.99 annually, the club promised to send members a selection of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films personally curated by Shatner.

77. Shatner spent some time as a talk show host.

In 2008, Shatner debuted an interview show, Shatner’s Raw Nerve, in which he invited guests to come sit across from him in a unique s-shaped seating pattern. Shatner recalled that the singer Meat Loaf brought him to tears during a particularly emotional moment in their conversation.

78. He starred in a CBS sitcom based on a Twitter feed.

In 2010's $#*! My Dad Says, Shatner embodied the father of Justin Halpern, a comedy writer who quoted his father’s musings online. It lasted one season.

79. In 2011, he released an album of cover songs.

Shatner on stage for Comedy Central's Last Laugh special in December 2004.
Shatner on stage for Comedy Central's Last Laugh special in December 2004. / Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde appeared on Seeking Major Tom, in which Shatner covered “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath.

80. Shatner is an official Golden God.

To help promote Seeking Major Tom, Shatner received an Honorary Headbanger Award at the 2011 Revolver Golden Gods Awards.

81. In 2012, Shatner returned to Broadway with a one-man show.

After a three-week engagement on Broadway, Shatner took his one-man show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It, on tour. In 2016, Shatner said he used Priceline to book travel for the show.

82. Shatner played Mark Twain on Murdoch Mysteries.

In 2015, Shatner portrayed Mark Twain in an episode of the Canadian drama series Murdoch Mysteries. Set in 1903, the show sees Twain the target of an assassination, with Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) assigned to protect him.

83. Shatner released a holiday album.

In 2018, Shatner released Shatner Claus, a collection of holiday favorites. Henry Rollins was among those who appeared on the album.

84. He also released a country music album.

In 2019, Shatner released a country music album, Why Not Me? He spoke “Should’a Loved” and “Too Old to be Vegan,” among others.

85. He is very fond of horses.

As a teenager, the actor swept stables in Montreal. Later in life, he began purchasing horses, owning stables, and engaging in competitive riding events.

86. Shatner had a mishap during a horse and buggy competition.

In 2017, Shatner was taking part in a horse and buggy competition in Kentucky when his horse reared up and sent the actor flying from his cart. He stood up unharmed, and went on to win the race.

87. Shatner wrote a book about his love of horses.

Shatner wrote about his love for horses in 2017’s Spirit of the Horse, a chronicle of his equine experiences.

88. Shatner reportedly got some horse semen in a divorce settlement.

Shatner hanging out in October 1970.
Shatner hanging out in October 1970. / King Collection/Photoshot/Getty Images

In a 2020 divorce settlement, Shatner split ownership of four horses with ex-wife Elizabeth Martin. Shatner was reported to have retained ownership of horse semen for breeding purposes.

89. He has been outspoken about the dangers of deep-frying a turkey on Thanksgiving.

Owing to what he described as a number of turkey-related accidents, Shatner agreed to film two cautionary videos for State Farm in 2011 on safe turkey-frying. “I love to fry turkey and have been doing it for years, but I am not immune to frying accidents,” Shatner said in a press release. “In fact, my family now gathers together to watch my mishaps. Several years ago I was even burned on my arms after accidentally dropping the turkey in hot oil. People need to remember that hot oil and turkey can be a dangerous combination.”

90. Shatner sold a kidney stone for $25,000.

Decades after getting a major break thanks to Christopher Plummer’s urinary troubles, a kidney stone helped Shatner make an impact on the lives of others. In 2006, Shatner passed a stone and then sold it for $25,000 to an online casino. The casino wanted the ensuing publicity. Shatner donated the money to Habitat for Humanity.

91. Shatner is the oldest person to go to space.

In October 2021, Shatner became the oldest person in space by allowing himself to be blasted into the sky courtesy of Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space program. The trip, which took a total of 11 minutes, allowed Shatner to view Earth from suborbital space. The experience, he said, “was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered. The contrast between the vicious coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below filled me with overwhelming sadness.”

92. Shatner was on The Masked Singer.

William Shatner appeared on The Masked Singer in 2022 as “Knight” and performed “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Though he was eliminated in the singing competition, Shatner expressed satisfaction in appearing on the series, as he had several projects—including his book Boldly Go—to promote at the time.

93. William Shatner would consider reprising the role of Captain Kirk—even if he’s not around to do it himself.

Shatner’s Kirk hasn’t been seen onscreen since 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, which is somewhat of a surprise given Hollywood’s continued reliance on nostalgia.

It’s not that Paramount hasn’t tried. In 2004, the producers of Star Trek: Enterprise pitched Shatner a storyline in which he’d return, but as the “evil” Kirk from the 1967 original series episode “Mirror, Mirror.” Shatner, as the sinister Kirk, would attempt to escape the pocket universe to which he’d been banished, culminating in a showdown with Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). That never happened, reportedly due to Paramount and Shatner not being able to come to a contractual agreement.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter to promote his documentary You Can Call Me Bill in March 2024, Shatner was not completely against the idea of returning to the role that made him a household name. “If they wrote something that wasn’t a stunt that involved Kirk, who’s 50 years older now, and it was something that genuinely added to the lore of Star Trek, I would definitely consider it,” he said.

The actor previously stated that a CGI or AI version of Kirk wouldn’t bother him. “It's an interesting question,” he said in a ComicBook.com interview in January 2024. “The [2023 Hollywood actors’ and writers’] strike was all about getting permission to do that. And so if I'm alive, I don't want AI to do that. But if I'm dead and they ask my family and they're going to pay my family very well to sound like me, I would advise them to say yes.”

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A version of this article was originally published in 2021; it has been updated for 2024.