- 1. Early life
William Shatner is a Canadian actor, author, producer, director, screenwriter, and singer. In his seven decades of acting, he became a cultural icon for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek franchise. He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk, being a part of Star Trek, and life after Star Trek. He has also co-written several novels set in the Star Trek universe and a series of science fiction novels called TekWar that were adapted for television. Shatner also played the eponymous veteran police sergeant in T. J. Hooker (1982–1986) and hosted the reality-based television series Rescue 911 (1989–1996), which won a People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Dramatic Series. Shatner also appeared in two episodes of the television detective series Columbo almost two decades apart. He also appeared in seasons 4 and 5 of the NBC series 3rd Rock from the Sun as the alien "Big Giant Head" to which the main characters reported.
From 2004 until 2008, he starred as attorney Denny Crane both in the final season of the legal drama The Practice and in its spinoff series Boston Legal, a role that earned him two Emmy Awards. He appeared in both seasons of the comical NBC real-life travelogue with other male companions "of a certain age" in Better Late Than Never, from 2016 to 2018. Shatner has also pursued a career in music and spoken word recordings since the late 1960s, having released eight albums.
Shatner is scheduled to fly on Blue Origin's second human spaceflight on October 12, 2021. Shatner, age 90, will become the oldest person to fly to space, surpassing Wally Funk, age 82.
Shatner was born in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood of Montreal, Quebec, Canada to a Conservative Jewish household. His parents were Ann (née 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".
All four of Shatner's grandparents were Jewish immigrants. They came from Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine and Lithuania).
Shatner attended two schools in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Willingdon Elementary School and West Hill High School, and is an alumnus of the Montreal Children's Theatre. He studied Economics at the McGill University Faculty of Management in Montreal, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1952. In June 2011, McGill University awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Letters. Shatner was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from New England Institute of Technology in May 2018.