Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Sci-Fi Entertainment

The Many Iterations of William Shatner 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the denny-crane dept.
pickens writes "The NY Times weekend magazine has a long profile, well worth reading, of self-described 'working actor' William Shatner. He began acting at age 6 and at one point in the late 1950s was mentioned in the same breath as his contemporaries Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford — until, without explanation, his career faded before it bloomed. Shatner, now 79, pulls no punches in his memories of the Star Trek years. 'I never thought it'd become a big deal, just 13 episodes and out,' says Shatner. 'I didn't think I was hard to get along with. There were a few disaffected actors who came in once a week. I had nothing to do with them. Friendly! I was working seven days a week, learning 10 pages of dialogue a day. They had one line!' Which was the beginning of the William Shatner character. 'They said I was this William Shatner character, and I figured I had to be it. Pompous, takes himself seriously, hardheaded.' Shatner said that that character evolved slowly, until one day he realized he couldn’t change it. 'So I played it. But I didn’t see it. That character doesn’t seem like me to me. I know the real William Shatner.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Many Iterations of William Shatner

Comments Filter:
  • Hmmmm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:17PM (#33476244)

    Yes.... well... this... should.... be an interesting.... read...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      William Shatner always seem to speak his mind. I'd pay good money to see a Shatner interview where he suffered from Tourette Syndrome.
      • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hey! (33014) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:04PM (#33476630) Homepage Journal

        Well, I'm not so sure that William Shatner always seems to speak his mind. It seems to me that William Shatner the person always seems to speak the mind of 'William Shatner' the public persona, while being very clear that the two aren't necessarily the same. I find that slightly terrifying, like the clown from the Stephen King novel.

        Actors are sometimes persons prone to insecurity and self-loathing. Perhaps the nature of the job attracts such people. Anyhow, one likes to see an interview with a favorite actor in which the actor seems like a *real person*. Of course that "real person" may be (probably is) a work of art. That's what actors do. When you get an entertainer who is so clueless you see the person behind the persona, it's disturbing.

        Shatner is in a class of his own. He's completely up front about playing a persona ... but who is it who's being up front about that? It's just another persona. Underneath the blatant egotism and insecurity you get a peek of the guy who's laughing at the whole circus, but what would you see if you look behind *that* guy? You peel back the outer layers of the onion, and you get ... more onion.

        What's fascinating, fun, and frightening aren't the *iterations* of William Shatner, but the *recursions*.

        • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Drakonik (1193977) <drakonik@gmail.com> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:36PM (#33476822) Homepage

          It's fat, white actors all the way down, son.

        • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by osu-neko (2604) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:45PM (#33476870)

          It seems to me that William Shatner the person always seems to speak the mind of 'William Shatner' the public persona, while being very clear that the two aren't necessarily the same.

          We are who we pretend to be. Our interactions with others define the kind of person we are. The "real you" that no one ever sees is an idealized fantasy...

          • The "real you" that no one ever sees is an idealized fantasy...

            Stop thinking about me that way, or I will have to charge you $2.99 a minute.
          • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by williamhb (758070) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @11:52PM (#33479454) Journal

            We are who we pretend to be. Our interactions with others define the kind of person we are. The "real you" that no one ever sees is an idealized fantasy...

            But probably neither you nor I nor anybody else in this Slashdot thread has ever had an interaction with Shatner. Claiming that our non-interactions-just-reading-about-him-in-the-media is "the real Shatner" would be absurd. Do you think Barack Obama's interactions with family and friends are the long prosaic speeches you see on television? That the Wiggles sing and dance in yellow jumpsuits as they do their shopping at the supermarket? Do you think the stage-managed appearances of actors on Oprah is "the real them"? That the Cillit Bang guy really shouts all the time when he's cleaning his own kitchen? Shatner's pretty up-front that when he's in front of a camera, a reporter, a public appearance, or groups of people he doesn't know, he treats it like being on stage. Are you surprised? He's just telling you what should be obvious to you already, unless you've been completely taken in by the media/PR business. I dare say his family and friends probably do see quite a different persona than you do.

            • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

              by cusco (717999) <<brian.bixby> <at> <gmail.com>> on Sunday September 05, 2010 @02:02AM (#33479956)
              "But probably neither you nor I nor anybody else in this Slashdot thread has ever had an interaction with Shatner."

              I worked with the bastard in 1979, it was during the time of his "TJ Hooker" series where he played the 'tough on drugs' cop. The man is a total and absolute ass. I was a techie in a summer stock theatre in Michigan when the Broadway show he was in came to town. The luxury condo that the theatre had, which that same summer hosted actual actors like Van Johnson and Dottie Lamor, wasn't good enough so we had to rent him a the most expensive suite in the most expensive hotel in town, rent him an 18 foot sailboat that he could pilot alone for the entire week (which he never used), and have 12 bottles of Perrier water in the refrigerator at all times. He was arrogant, rude, and condescending to everyone below his lofty status. None of us could stand the asshole.
          • by hey! (33014)

            Your point has a certain philosophical validity, but who we think we are and who we "pretend" to be are *both* part of who we are. The difference between who we think we are and how we believe others will perceive us are an important driver of our behavior and a major source of subjective pain.

            I think we all know instinctively that people are these ways. The creepy think about the Shatner persona performance is that it at least purports to violate this common unspoken assumption. It's probably not quite

        • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by EReidJ (551124) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:59PM (#33476936) Homepage
          There was a story a while back about William Shatner going out trick-or-treating with a kid (can't remember if it was his or not) on Halloween. He wore, not one, but TWO William Shatner masks. When he'd go up to a house, he'd whip off the first mask... to reveal another William Shatner mask. He'd then pause a moment and whip off the second one... to reveal William Shatner himself. I think that one story completely solidifies your Recursion Theory of Shatner.
        • by msobkow (48369)

          However, Shatner was an asshole in school, too. My uncle went to school with him and Shatner was not well-liked by most of his classmates.

  • Distance to himself (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K (682162) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:17PM (#33476250) Homepage

    Shatner has what some actors actually lacks - a kind of distance to himself so he doesn't think that he is something more than he is.

  • by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:19PM (#33476266)
    http://www.cinemassacre.com/2010/08/21/top-10-shitty-shatner-movies/ [cinemassacre.com]

    The 70's weren't good to the Shat. That and Star Trek V. The only reason there were so many horses in that movie is because he liked them.

    • by mccalli (323026) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:24PM (#33476298) Homepage
      "If one has a very high standard of living,one sometimes has to do a very low standard of movie" - Michael Caine, but I think relevant there as well. Shatner, like Caine, describes himself as a working actor not a precious artist.

      Cheers,
      Ian
      • by Shivetya (243324) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:12PM (#33476688) Homepage Journal

        and regardless of negative traits assigned to him I see him as what I would want in most actors. Yes he stuck with the Kirk role a long time but he did good clean breaks from it. Kirk was an iconic character and any actor with that as part of his resume will always be shadowed by the character's traits which may not necessarily be the actors. Yeah, read all the "Bad blood" between him and Takei, the "feud" with Nimoy, but honestly, which of all them did as much as he did? He didn't stop. Of course I do like Koneig from TOS too. At least Shatner wasn't afraid to make jokes about his role, let alone slip little asides into other shows which automatically connected you back to Kirk without being outlandish (his phone on BL was pretty good and subtle)

        73 years, I wonder what it is like to do something you love for so long, hell I would be happy with half that in a career I enjoyed.

      • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:22PM (#33476742)
        Oblig Caine quote [wikipedia.org], in reference to 'Jaws - The Revenge': "I have never seen it [the film], but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific!"

        In an Michael Caine movie, you can be pretty sure it will at least have a bit of good acting. But there's no guarantee about anything else in the film; it may be crap, so the fact he's in it is not, in itself, much incentive to go see it. In contrast, an actor with a good track record is a big draw, and that is reflected in the actor's paycheck. Both quantity and quality are valid strategies for turning a buck, but are you saying the strategy of quantity is actually more respectable?

    • Of course they skipped some of his history - they had to condense eighty years into one magazine article.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      but it's been a long time and I've worked hard to block out certain memories.

      My main memory of Generations was my wife and I sitting in the theater, watching Kirk ride a horse. At one particular scene where Kirk is on his horse, silhouetted against the sky, I turned to my wife and said in my best pair of mock upper-class British accent:

      "Did you hear about old Kirk? He's retired from Starfleet and went to some godforsaken planet to marry a horse."

      "Marry a horse? Is it a female horse?"

      "Of course it's a female

  • SNL skit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bennomatic (691188) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:25PM (#33476318) Homepage
    His best role was as himself, hosting Saturday Night Live, years ago when it was funny. I remember a skit set at a sci-fi convention, and all the convention goers insisted on asking him questions about the science and logic of specific episodes. He blew up at them, telling them to get a grip. Best line: "You... have you ever *kissed* a girl?"
    • Re:SNL skit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jjohnson (62583) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:43PM (#33476484) Homepage

      That same episode of SNL had a send-up of TJ Hooker where Shatner is trapped on the hood of a car full of fleeing felons, writing a note to his ex-wife: "it's been three days now... they have to run out of gas soon..."

      Shatner's on my list of celebrities who I like just because they went on SNL and were good at either mocking themselves, or worked hard to actually do good comedy. See Garth Brooks (who did a Mango sketch), Jason Priestly, and Justin Timberlake as the dancing milkshake.

      • That same episode of SNL had a send-up of TJ Hooker where Shatner is trapped on the hood of a car full of fleeing felons, writing a note to his ex-wife: "it's been three days now... they have to run out of gas soon..."

        Shatner's on my list of celebrities who I like just because they went on SNL and were good at either mocking themselves, or worked hard to actually do good comedy. See Garth Brooks (who did a Mango sketch), Jason Priestly, and Justin Timberlake as the dancing milkshake.

        How about Tom Cruise [youtube.com] ? That video almost made me forget what a nutball he is and definitely makes me feel better about liking some of his movies.

      • And "Dick In A Box". Timberlake's music is horrible, but the guy himself is brilliant and funny.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Saturday Night Live, years ago when it was funny

      SNL has always been a better as a memory than when you watch it. During that very season when Shatner was on, people were saying "years ago when it was funny ..."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        This is a recuring theme with SNL. When I was a kid, I used to stay up and watch it with my cousins. Then later, I would think back to the "good old days" when SNL was funny. Another 10 years later, and SNL is still "back when it was funny". I think SNL is only funny in retrospect. It's never actually funny at the time. Maybe funny moves at half the speed of light?
        • I think it's more that the show has gone through good and bad periods. When it premiered, it was very funny indeed, then it declined, then it got better, then it declined ... there have been plenty of episodes which were hysterically funny the day they were broadcast, and many others which no amount of aging will improve.

          • The SNL formula has always been to have a couple skits that attempt to be humorous, and then use the rest of the show to create bad memes and one-note recurring characters (which can be converted into movie franchises).

            People remember when they strike gold (like the Shatner episode), and completely forget the next episode which starred football players and the "pathological liar".

            http://snltranscripts.jt.org/86/1986.phtml [jt.org]

      • SNL was good enough that my parents and I used to sit down and watch it every Saturday night together. That doesn't mean every skit was funny all the time, but over all it was great. Not saying we didn't occasionally look back on the days past, because of course good actors came on, rose, and then left. New people always felt a bit wrong since they were new, but quickly fit in well.

        I can't pin down when SNL started sucking, but the way I know it did was that we stopped watching it regularly. Some time in th

        • by MsGeek (162936)

          Late '90s? Feh, SNL started sucking after Eddie Murphy outgrew it. And even at that point, it had seen better days. Really, the best years of SNL were the first 3 or 4.

          And yeah, get the F off my lawn, whippersnappers.

          • by Thing 1 (178996)
            Ah, the days of Mr. Robinson. "The word of the day is 'bitch'. Say it, kids! Now go say it to your mother. Did she slap you? No? Then you didn't say it right!"
          • Yes. Eddie Murphy, and before him, John Belushi and Steve Martin and that crew. But !#$@$, Eddie Murphy was funny back then. "The dogs are barking... do they bite? I don't know! Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord!"
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by crumley (12964) *
        The golden age of SNL is 17.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by keytoe (91531)

        SNL has always been a better as a memory than when you watch it. During that very season when Shatner was on, people were saying "years ago when it was funny ..."

        Well, to be fair, when looking at the constant downward slope of quality over the life of SNL, that statement is true no matter which point on the X axis you choose...

      • No the first season or two were that funny as you watched them.
        I remember laughing so hard I couldn't breath back when gilda radner, chevy chase, dan akroyd and the rest were on.
        And the cool parts were really cool too. Only lasted a few years that way.

      • It's true; I think "years ago, when it was funny" should be part of SNL's official name. I said it semi-tongue-in-cheek. Thanks for calling me out on it.
    • Re:SNL skit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mischi_amnesiac (837989) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @04:00PM (#33476944) Homepage
      I also really liked him als big giant head in 3rd rock from the sun. Between him and John Lithgow, they cranked the overacting up to eleven.
    • Re:SNL skit (Score:4, Interesting)

      by camperslo (704715) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @04:35PM (#33477144)

      He was a bit funny in the SNL bit, but I find it a bit uncomfortable to watch him in other roles as a puffy-faced obnoxious alcoholic or whatever.

      It is fun to do through old pre-Trek classic tv shows and see him and other Trek actors. The Twilight Zone had a good 1963 episode with the big Shat in the episode Nightmare at 20,000 feet.

      (from wikipedia) "Bob Wilson (William Shatner) is a salesman on an airplane for the first time since his nervous breakdown six months ago. He spots a gremlin on the wing of the plane. Every time someone else looks out the window, the gremlin leaps out of view, so nobody believes Bob's seemingly outlandish claim. Bob realizes that his wife is starting to think he needs to go back to the sanitarium, but also, if nothing is done about the gremlin, it will damage the plane and cause it to crash. Bob steals a sleeping policeman's revolver, and opens the window marked "Auxiliary Exit" to shoot the gremlin, succeeding despite the fact that he is nearly blown out of the plane himself. Once the plane has landed, although he is whisked away in a straitjacket, a final shot reveals evidence of his claims: the unusual damage to the plane's engine nacelle -- yet to be discovered by mechanics."

      Perhaps less remembered, is an episode of the Outer Limits - Cold Hands, Warm Heart also from 1963. It's really strange seeing him associated with something called "Project Vulcan" years before Trek...

      (from an Amazon review) "Brig. General Jeff Barton, (William Shatner), completes a round-trip one man space flight to the planet Venus to promote the feasability of the Mars colonization project "Vulcan". During a break in radio communication Barton encouters an alien being on Venus who manages to infect his body causing him to change gradually into something not entirely human. These changes require him to seek out higher temperatures as though adapting to the climate of planet Venus. Upon discovery of Barton's condition, Dr. Mike, (Malachi Throne), uses blood transfusions and a high temperature pressure chamber to reverse the process. Oddly enough, this is actually a love story focusing on Mrs. Ann Barton, (Geraldine Brooks), and her struggle to win back her husband from both his driving ambition and the alien interloper."

      I think it's more fun finding catching other Trek and SciFi actors in different shows. George Takei (Sulu) in a 1960 Episode of detective series Hawaiian Eye... Seeing Ted Cassidy [wikipedia.org], better known as Lurch, as the blond buffed-out shirtless slave in 1966 Lost in Space - The Thief from Outer Space was a surprise (of course just seeing him human and colorful was quite a contrast). Cassidy portrayed the voice of the more aggressive version of Balok in the Star Trek episode "The Corbomite Maneuver", and he played the role of the android Ruk in the episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?." He also voiced the Gorn in the Star Trek episode "Arena". He also had guest shots on the classics The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I Dream of Jeannie, and The Beverly Hillbillies.

      Looking back and seeing where some more recent sci-fi actors have been can bring a few chuckles too. It was funny realizing the Ronon Dex [wikipedia.org] (actor Jason Momoa) of Stargate Atlantis had also been a Baywatch lifeguard. During one mission some fun was made of the nature of old Earth television...facial expressions had a hint of the inside joke.

      • The Outrage (1964 Western remake of Kurosawa's Rashomon) - didn't care to see much more of that. Japanese film class professor showed us a clip of that one almost because it was comically bad.

      • (from wikipedia) "Bob Wilson (William Shatner) is a salesman on an airplane for the first time since his nervous breakdown six months ago. He spots a gremlin on the wing of the plane. Every time someone else looks out the window, the gremlin leaps out of view, so nobody believes Bob's seemingly outlandish claim. Bob realizes that his wife is starting to think he needs to go back to the sanitarium, but also, if nothing is done about the gremlin, it will damage the plane and cause it to crash. Bob steals a sleeping policeman's revolver, and opens the window marked "Auxiliary Exit" to shoot the gremlin, succeeding despite the fact that he is nearly blown out of the plane himself. Once the plane has landed, although he is whisked away in a straitjacket, a final shot reveals evidence of his claims: the unusual damage to the plane's engine nacelle -- yet to be discovered by mechanics."

        Well damn, The Simpsons did that one on one of the "Treehouse of horror" shows didn't they ? The more you know...

      • Dam it, I couldn't help reading that entire post in the Twilight Zone announcer's voice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KingAlanI (1270538)

      SNL's main problems always seemed to me to be the following:

      Hit-or-miss: some skits good, some not, each episode
      Dragging out for too long a joke that might have been decent the first time

  • He had talent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:32PM (#33476380)

    Shatner was definately talented.

    Not sure if he lacked "big screen" presence, just had a couple bad breaks on the big screen, or if he got typecast by Star Trek.

    He seemed to break free of the typecasting at the end. Denny Crane is not Kirk.

    And as the other person said, Shatner had both a large ego and a unique ability to puncture that ego himself.

    Not sure about the bad blood between him and the other stars. Could just be the nature of the game (He and Nimoy were bigger stars and got different treatment).

    I thought Galaxy Quest was an excellent send up of the whole trek phenomenon.

    • by jbeach (852844)
      I saw Shatner while flipping channels on another couple of shows that were before the original Star Trek - "Judgement at Nuremberg" and I think also a made-for-TV movie where he played a soldier. Both times I thought he was great - but both times he was also playing a strange kind of strident martinet - a little power-mad, even.

      He seems to have fun with the arrogance, and great casting works with what actors most directly have inside them. He probably was both a good guy and a bit of a pompous ass, on th
    • Re:He had talent (Score:5, Interesting)

      by oldmac31310 (1845668) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:47PM (#33476880) Homepage
      I thought Galaxy Quest was really funny and clever. I have never had any time for Tim Allen, but this film was a rare case of getting it right on so many levels.

      Very, very funny.

      To the best of my knowledge, any profession that involves getting up in front of huge numbers of people requires a certain kind of ego - or projection of an ego whether it be the real person or not. Most actors, musicians etc. get up there and act a part. Some of them are really bad at it. Bono, for example is probably a decent guy but he has never failed to come across as a total douchebag. Tom Cruise can't really be a total c**t. Can he? I'm guessing that Shatner has spent so long doing this stuff that his 'real life' persona in interviews is some weird projection of what he thinks he is and what he expect people to think he is. So he, like so many 'stars' plays it up and sometimes the results are decidedly weird. Combine that with idiot reporters and we have a panoply of stars that resemble sideshow freaks!

      These days, I tend to err on the side of giving people a break. Big targets are easier to hit, so we trash them at the expense of our own integrity.

      Live long and prosper Jim Kirk

      • Out of all the stars in Hollywood, Cruise is the only one who messed up his brand so badly that I don't want to see his films. His mixup with Brooke Shields was the end for me. Attacking pregnant women with post partam depression is pretty callous.

        I think scientology has messed him up but apparently a lot of it was getting a big ego and firing his publicist (who had been successfully managing his image for a long time apparently). He didn't want to be managed any more.

        Angelina Jolie is close. I really l

      • I thought Galaxy Quest was really funny and clever. I have never had any time for Tim Allen, but this film was a rare case of getting it right on so many levels.

        Not to mention a blond Sigourney Weaver!

      • To the best of my knowledge, any profession that involves getting up in front of huge numbers of people requires a certain kind of ego - or projection of an ego whether it be the real person or not. Most actors, musicians etc. get up there and act a part. Some of them are really bad at it.

        I assume the last section of your quote implies the converse as well: that some are good at it?

        The meta-commenter of my subject line? Lady Gaga.

        "Art is a lie; I fight every day to make it real"

        "The minute you say something about who you are, people think you're just playing the 'edgy card' and that's not what I want people to think of me as."

        "It is in the theory of perception that we have established our bond, or a lie, I should say for which we kill. We are nothing without our image, without our rejection,

      • by syousef (465911)

        Tom Cruise can't really be a total c**t. Can he?

        You lost me at "can't"

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Not sure if he lacked "big screen" presence, just had a couple bad breaks on the big screen, or if he got typecast by Star Trek.

      1) His presence seems just fine. Besides his starring role in Star Trek and subsequent films, I've seen him in many other films before, and he had no problem playing the lead.
      2) Hmm. Always hard to argue with that, whether true or not.
      3) When Star Trek: TOS ended, he was just shy of 40, and had appeared in DOZENS of TV shows and films. In short, he took the role on Star Trek BEC

    • by argorg (854330)
      He's not dead, Jim. Err, Maxo.
    • I know, everybody here likes the Star Trek TOS. But really, is that great acting?

      I like some Schwarzenegger movies, but I've never considered him a great actor either.

    • Grand post there.

      Make no mistake, the Star Trek typecasting was deadly. It took him some 15 years to grind out of it, and that only just barely.

      As for the Big Stars thing, some of that is the fault of show design, giving the Big Three better placing than the rest. I believe part of this was that the Big Three were meant as subconscious anchors for the rather untrained audience of that time. Midwest Farmboy, Southern Gentleman, and Boston Brahmin Intellectual (Nimoy). Brilliant trick really, to make intellec

  • Slow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jorl17 (1716772) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:34PM (#33476398)
    ...News day?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:38PM (#33476430)

    ...I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.

    • Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
      when you're perfect in every way,
      I can't wait to look in the mirror
      cause I get better looking each day
      To know me is to love me
      I must be a hell of a man.
      Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
      but I'm doing the best that I can.

      -- Mac Davis

  • by Ransak (548582) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:46PM (#33476494) Homepage Journal

    Certainly I don't know what Tim Allen was doing. He seemed to be the head of a group of actors and for the life of me I was trying to understand who he was imitating. - William Shatner, on Galaxy Quest

    At the 2009 Vegas ST convention Shatner was on stage and fans were asking questions. A fan of the original series went up to the mic and told him how good of an actor he was; he then proceeded to take the next 20 minutes agreeing with her. At some point I said in a low voice 'It's like throwing gasoline on a flame,' (a quote from Galaxy Quest describing the parody character of Kirk at a convention) and the entire section burst out laughing so much he had to stop talking to find out what was going on.

  • When his wife died by drowning in the pool at their home, I got weirded out because I had just watched an episode of Columbo where he played the murderer and, you guessed it, he killed his wife by drowning her in the pool.

    Truly, a life imitates art moment.

  • decent bloke (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symes (835608) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @02:59PM (#33476594) Journal
    I like Shatner, he might come across a little larger than life sometimes but there's a lot who are a whole load worse in the acting industry. And I'm not even much of a fan of the original Star Trek (do I lose my slashdot membership for saying this?) I'd certainly put him in the same class as Caine, in as far that both can easily mock themselves with a wry grin.
    • by syousef (465911)

      I like Shatner

      I like James T. Kirk the character. I may even like some of his other performances. But the blowhard actor that plays Kirk can go fuck himself. Sorry but I like to separate my fiction from reality.

    • by nametaken (610866) *

      And I'm not even much of a fan of the original Star Trek (do I lose my slashdot membership for saying this?)

      Not if, in return, you state for the record that Star Wars is WAY awesomer.

  • by scosco62 (864264) * on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:14PM (#33476710) Journal
    Bottom line, the world will be a less place when he is gone......he is an entertainer, through and through
  • by oldmac31310 (1845668) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @03:29PM (#33476774) Homepage
    The NY Times article is amusing and a little insightful despite the poor writing skills of Pat Jordan. What a poorly put together article. Seems the best writing is not to be found in the printed papers anymore.

    Anyway, I have always had a soft spot for William Shatner. I grew up with the Star Trek series and loved it. Still do. Now it has more of an ironic appeal (it's great because it is so cheesy), but I am also really enamoured with the look and sound of it, the production values. They did amazing stuff with limited resources. and every once in a while there was some really good writing. And the actors just got on with the job and were believable and consistent in their roles. Shatner was Jim Kirk. No question in my mind about that.

    I really have no interest in the Star Trek movies. The subsequent series failed to get my attention. There is something special about the original series.

    I confess to having watched and enjoyed TJ Hooker (kill me now!) but in my defense I must posit that it was a case of pubescent hormones. Can't imagine what I saw in Heather Locklear. Tramp!

    A friend put me on to the album that Shatner did. Musically it was uninteresting to me but Shatner's lyrics and delivery were surprisingly listenable. Yes, funny and silly, but there is also a surprising depth.

    Sounds to me like he might actually be a bit of fun to hang out with. Amazing energy for an old guy. Not bad for an old geezer. Pat Jordan strikes me as an untalented whiner. I'd be delighted to hang out with William Shatner for a day and a half. He/she made it sound like a chore. And of course Pat had to inject his/her whiny biographical details into the piece. Who is it about, Pat or Bill? Ultimately it is all about Pat. Poor Pat. Poor poor Pat.

    Yes, I RTFA!

    • I'm glad that I'm not the only one who noticed it. The odd comma here and there would have made it far more readable. I spent most of my time very confused. It looks like it made it to the web without any sub editing.
  • 'They said I was this William Shatner character, and I figured I had to be it. Pompous, takes himself seriously, hardheaded.' Shatner said that that character evolved slowly, until one day he realized he couldn't change it. 'So I played it. But I didn't see it.

    Anyone else catch Kevin Pollak's recent comedy show The Littlest Suspect? [imdb.com]

    He does impersonations and his Shatner is apparently so good that Shatner asked him write a little bit about it for his autobiography. To hear Pollak tell it, he slagged it off until the last minute and then made up some bullshit about how Shatner was just doing an incredible sort of method acting with all the random pauses. Apparently not only did Shatner buy the line of bs, he ran with the hook, line and sinker and adopted that exp

  • 1. Read the article without looking at the byline

    2. Read the article assuming that "Pat Jordan" is male.

    3. Read the article assuming that "Pat Jordan" is female.

    Notice anything different in the dynamic between subject and interviewer in any of those readings?

    • by darthflo (1095225)

      (Spoiler alert)

      The first paragraph of page 4 answers the question of gender. It's quite fun to get through the first three pages assuming the opposite and finding some aspects of that dynamic quite odd.

  • Yes, but... why?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU2ftCitvyQ [youtube.com]

  • That writer is a jerk.. Verbal sparring is not a pleasant way to spend a day, and it's not the best way to get someone to be honest with you. His interviewing skills even as he presents them need work, his writing is short, clipped, and irritating, and lacks rhythm and even a trace of poetry. He is also mildly cruel and says very inappropriate things at inappropriate times. I would never spend a day with someone like that.

    Brutal interview. Bravo to William Shatner for dealing with him as he did. It's the on

  • He does a great job playing a parody of himself in Free Enterprise [imdb.com]. If you haven't seen it, do so. It is a perfect movie for the geek crowd, and Shatner is hilarious.

  • Shatner's Music (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eggy78 (1227698) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @06:45PM (#33477876)
    I'm a bit sad they don't mention his music at all. The first album he recorded was pretty terrible, but Has Been is a surprisingly interesting, and often very good, album. Throughout this article I was reminded of several of the songs on it, most specifically "Real." The album as a whole is pretty self-reflective and fairly humorous, so you get to see another iteration of Bill. Oh, and he doesn't try to sing, which helps a lot.

    If you happen to be looking for something a little different and have an open mind, I'd say it's definitely worth a listen. It is definitely one of the most pleasant nearly-random musical finds of my life. Ben Folds had a pretty big hand in it, so fans of Ben may be more likely to appreciate it than others.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      'Has Been' is a brilliant album - highly recommended. It's self-referential, mockingly over-serious, and a huge amount of fun.
  • I haven't fully researched this, but I'm guessing that Shatner went on to a bigger career after Incubus [imdb.com] than anyone else who starred in any Esperanto film.
  • by bokmann (323771) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @07:53PM (#33478176) Homepage

    Shatner might have almost been a character actor, except that all the characters he has played are so *different*. I was a fan of Boston Legal, and I'd occasionally stop and look at this Denny Crane character and have to think "Thats the same guy who player Kirk!". Granted, they were 35+ years apart, but his skillset is anything but one-dimensional.

    I can't wait to see "Shit my Dad Says".

    And he cracks me up, the way he signs all of his tweets "My best, Bill"...

    • Have you ever seen that early Canadian/French language movie he made with some woman playing a Succubus/Demon?

      It was oddly entertaining.

      • by Bemopolis (698691)
        I presume you mean INCUBUS — in which case the dialogue wasn't in French Canadian, it was in Esperanto.
        • by Dareth (47614)

          Sorry, I'm an American. The only foreign language I speak is bloody English!

  • Weigh the evidence (Score:4, Informative)

    by steveha (103154) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @12:24AM (#33479588) Homepage

    I bought William Shatner's books on his time in Star Trek. I also bought Nichelle Nichols's book, George Takei's book, Walter Koenig's book, and James Doohan's book. (I might even have one or two others I forget now.) In Shatner's book he claims to be bewildered why his former castmates seem to hold him in low regard, and claims that while filming Star Trek he never knew they didn't like him. In all the castmate books, they make clear that Shatner was not popular among the castmates, ever. I haven't read these books in over a decade; but I think their biggest complaint was that Shatner felt his character was far more important than theirs (well, fair enough) and that therefore he felt justified in treating them poorly, which made them consider Shatner a big jerk (well, seems fair enough also).

    I read an essay by Harlan Ellison about his experience with Star Trek, when he wrote the episode "The City on the Edge of Forever". (Summary: according to him, he wrote a totally brilliant and award-winning script, which Gene Roddenberry and company then messed up a whole lot, yet even this messed-up version was a fan favorite, and he is bitter about the whole thing even decades later.) The part that really made me wake up, though, was when he described a visit from Shatner.

    According to Ellison, Shatner came over to Ellison's home and started going through the script. He counted how many lines of dialog Kirk had compared to the other cast members, and started lobbying Ellison to increase the Kirk dialog (and thus inevitably cut back other dialog).

    I guess Ellison could be lying. But I also remember watching the Shatner-directed Star Trek V and I remember how much that movie revolved around Kirk. Of all the characters, only Kirk was smart enough to ask the incredibly insightful question: What does God need with a starship, given that He is omnipotent and all? The Nimoy-directed Trek movies did not focus overmuch on Spock.

    Actions are a more dependable guide to character than statements, even earnest ones, from the person in question. There is also the evidence from people around him. I don't think I'd be in a big hurry to be friends with Shatner.

    Yet, it seems that Nimoy really is friends with Shatner and has been for decades, so Shatner must have some redeeming qualities that Nimoy sees.

    P.S. The most interesting thing from the Nichelle Nichols book was her description of the first black/white interracial kiss on broadcast television. She says that everyone was antsy about the scene, so they decided to film two versions: the real kiss, and an almost-sort-of kiss that might be less offensive to people bent out of shape over race issues. Shatner suggested they film the real kiss first, and they did so. Then, in each take of the fake kiss, Shatner made some obvious gaffe that ruined the scene. He didn't admit he was doing it on purpose, but he ruined every attempt to shoot the fake kiss. Perforce they ran the real kiss as part of the episode and made TV history. Shatner apparently forgot all about this, or at least remembered it differently, and Nichols expressed puzzlement that Shatner could forget such an unusual series of events in which he played such a large role.

    steveha

    • by steveha (103154)

      More on the kiss here: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Plato's_Stepchildren_(episode) [memory-alpha.org]

      steveha

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      That seems consistent with Shatner viewing Trek as another here-today-forgotten-tomorrow show. Might as well get as much screen time as possible. What's surprising isn't that he did that, it's that the other cast members didn't - or at least aren't admitting to it now.

      In mitigation, it's clear that even though he viewed it as a throwaway role, he took it seriously enough to actually work on the character himself. And boy, did he nail it, and crank it up to 11. It's easy to dismiss 'method', but I have

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @02:17AM (#33479982)

    My nephew told me that he was a fan of William Shatner. I asked him if he knew what role Shatner was most famous for.
    "Boston Legal," he replied.
    "No, before that"
    (blank look)
    "He was the first captain on Star Trek."
    He looked puzzled, then asked,
    "You mean the bald dude?"

  • We had William Shatner. It's odd; I never really liked TOS in general, in terms of the TV series, but for some reason warmed up to the characters during the movies. Yes, I always thought Kirk was a jerk, and truthfully that was one of the main reasons why I was grateful for TNG; having a captain who wasn't a pain in the neck. At the time, however, I wasn't aware that Shatner was a member of the, "starring as himself," class of acting.

    Truthfully, I've never really understood why the "method," is considere

  • I can't believe no one has brought this up yet - from IMDB: "William Shatner spoofs/punks a whole midwestern town, (Riverside, Iowa, aka: the birth place of his Star Trek character, Captain Kirk) who think he is in town to shoot a big-budget, action-adventure film." A definite must-see for Shatner fans!

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

Working...