William Shatner is a name and face that is instantly recognizable. He is best known to multiple generations for his role as the unstoppable Captain Kirk, the valiant and courageous leader of the Star Ship Enterprise.
His science fiction adventures on television entertained viewers all throughout the 1960s, and his own popularity has grown in tandem with that of the show. This popularity is the result of numerous appearances on television and in movies, as well as times of self-parody and introspection.
In addition to his role on Star Trek, William Shatner has had a successful career spanning seven decades and starring in a variety of hit television shows, including the police procedural T.J. Hooker.
His connection to the Star Trek fandom, his roots in Shakespearean literature, and his own bombastic acting style have all evolved over time; however, did you know the following fascinating facts about the screen legend and sci-fi icon?
1. William Shatner Worked as An Understudy for Christopher Plummer at One Point in His Career.
Before moving to Toronto, becoming a member of the Stratford Festival troupe, and performing in a production of Henry V in 1956, Shatner had already been acting in a number of different theatrical productions.
Shatner was called to the stage one night when Plummer was sick with a kidney stone, which the actor said he initially thought was a bout of syphilis. Shatner performed the title role flawlessly and received a standing ovation for his work.
Plummer said he initially thought it was a bout of syphilis. In his autobiography titled “Up Till Now,” which was published in 2008, William Shatner recalled, “that was the night I knew I was an actor.”
2. William Shatner’s Father Was Not Pleased with The Career Path that His Son Chose for Himself.
Joseph Shatner did not want his son to follow in his footsteps and work in the men’s clothing industry as he did; instead, he encouraged Shatner to pursue an acting career.
Before deciding to pursue acting as a career, Shatner received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from McGill University, where he studied with the intention of pursuing a career in business administration.
3. William Shatner Made His First Official Appearance in A Role as An Actor in The Year 1951.
The Butler’s Night Off, which was released in 1951, marked the beginning of Shatner’s career in the film industry. He was listed in the credits as “A Cook.”
4. William Shatner Made One of His First Financial Investments in Uranium when He Was Just Starting Out.
Shatner put all of his savings, which amounted to $500 at the time, into uranium stocks at the beginning of the 1950s. A day later, the Canadian government announced they were no longer purchasing uranium.
Shatner’s move to New York to pursue a career in acting was put on hold as a result of the financial loss.
5. One of The First Major Roles that William Shatner Played on Television 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. Clarabelle, the clown who played opposite Shatner, would respond to him by blowing into a horn.
After that came appearances on live television, such as Playhouse 90, as well as guest spots on anthology television series like The Twilight Zone.
6. William Shatner Is Famous for Playing Jokes on People.
During the filming of the classic episode of The Twilight Zone from 1963 titled “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” in which Shatner plays an anxious passenger who believes he sees a gremlin destroying the wing of the plane, Shatner played a practical joke on the other cast members.
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. There Was Some Physical Altercation in The 1950s Broadway Play The World of Suzie Wong Due to William Shatner’s Appearance in The Play.
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 tapping Shatner on the shoulder. This was done in anticipation of whether or not the audience would laugh at the line.
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.
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8. The World According to Suzie Wong Was Instrumental in The Development of William Shatner’s Signature Cadence.
Shatner stated that he began to emphasize words or even yell them in order to command the attention of the audience after noticing that some audience members were leaving after the intermission.
9. In The Early Stages of His Acting Career, William Shatner Made Every Effort to Avoid Appearing on Television.
Prior to his role on Star Trek, Shatner was hesitant to accept leading recurring roles in television, preferring instead to keep himself available for opportunities on stage or in the film industry.
However, he did play the title role in the doomed 1964 costume drama series Alexander the Great, which also starred Adam West and John Cassavetes. The series was a complete failure. Only the pilot was able to make it to the plane.
10. In 2017, William Shatner and Adam West Collaborated on A Project Together For The Second Time.
Later On, Shatner and West Collaborated on The 2017 Animated Film Batman vs. Two-Face, in Which West Reprised His Role as Batman and Shatner Provided the Voice of Harvey Dent, Also Known as Two-Face. West and Shatner Both Reprised Their Roles in The Film.