What can you say about the icon of icons, the cult figure of cult figures, the man who is one of the most worshiped individuals in television history, Mr. William Shatner? Although he has had a very checkered and eclectic movie, stage, and TV acting career for almost six decades, as we all know so well, Shatner will forever be Captain James Tiberius Kirk, the captain of the starship USS Enterprise, on the classic TV series Star Trek in the minds of his legions of devoted fans.
Shatner starred in 79 episodes of the beloved series (1966-69), as well as reprising his Captain Kirk role in seven Star Trek films. Frequently parodied for his intense, over-the-top acting style (often dubbed "Shatnerian"), William Shatner is a four-times-married, Canadian-born, Jewish vegetarian who loves to ride and raise horses. Okay, let's take a look at a few facts you might not have known about Mr. William Shatner.
*In his early performing days, Shatner was once required to play the piano in a scene (with music supplied off-camera), then pull a weapon from a drawer to kill another actor. First the piano cue went badly, then the only "weapon" available turned out to be a corkscrew. Shatner carried on, and in his own words, "I screwed him to death!"
* As a teenager, Shatner worked as a camp counselor Camp B'nai Brith in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec.
* He wrote and directed a college musical: The Red, White and Blue Revue.
* He was the understudy of Christopher Plummer in a stage production of Shakespeare's play Henry V in Canada.
* Shortly after the original Star Trek series ended its run in 1969, Shatner's wife Gloria Rand left him and took a lot of his money with her. With very little money and his acting prospects low, he lived in a pick-up truck camper until continual acting in bit parts led into higher-paying roles.
* A Halloween mask in Shatner's likeness was painted white and used as the mask of Michael Myers in the original Halloween film (1978).
* His face appears on the cover of the official first aid handbook issued by the National Safety Council, stemming from his time hosting Rescue 911.
* His recorded version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was voted as the worst massacre of a Beatles song ever in May 2003.
* He performed in the 1966 film Incubus, a movie whose entire dialogue was in Esperanto.
* Shatner suffers from tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, along with his Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy. Shatner's left ear is affected; Nimoy's right ear is. The two both had their hearing damaged in a 1967 episode of the series ("Arena"), when they were both too close to a special effects explosion.
* He and Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy were born within four days of each other. Shatner was born on March 22, 1931, and Nimoy was born on March 26, 1931.
* Shatner claims he cannot do the hand gesture for the Vulcan salute ("Live long and prosper"). When he had to do the salute on the show, his fingers needed to be taped or wired in place.
* He auctioned a kidney stone to GoldenPalace.com for $75,000. The money went to Habitat for Humanity, a charity that builds houses for the needy.
To this day, he has not fully recovered from the depression brought on by the death of his father, Joseph Shatner, in 1968.
* His daughter, Lisabeth Shatner, was "Miss Golden Globe" 1985.
* He owned a Doberman in the 1970s named "Kirk".