William Shatner has cultivated a career that has spanned 50 years as a professional actor, director, producer, screenwriter, recording artist, author, and horseman. He is one of pop culture’s most recognizable figures and has also established himself as a major Hollywood philanthropist.
In September 2004, Shatner won an Emmy for his guest appearance as the eccentric law firm partner “Denny Crane” on David E. Kelley's The Practice. The highly acclaimed legal drama finished its impressive run on ABC in 2004. Shatner reprised the role but this time as a series regular on Boston Legal, which premiered on the ABC network on October 3, 2004. He will also be starring in the limited reality series Lift Off for Spike TV.
Shatner’s love and appreciation of music inspired him to go into the studio and record Has Been, a compilation of songs he recorded with such musical artists as Ben Folds (who also produced the record), Brad Paisley, Joe Jackson, Aimee Mann and Henry Rollins. The album features Shatner’s trademark vocalization and shows off his passion for poetry and lyricism. Has Been will be released through Shout! Factory on October 5.
Born in Montreal , Shatner developed an early interest in acting and started working professionally at the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) even before he reached his teens. He found himself drawn to the theater and eventually joined the Stratford Shakespeare Festival under Sir Tyrone Guthrie. Tamburlaine, one of the festival’s productions, moved to Broadway and Shatner was immediately noticed by the New York Critics. He later returned to Canada, winning the Tyrone Guthrie Award soon thereafter.
Also while at Stratford, Shatner found time to write plays for the CBC. He moved to New York and was a part of television’s Golden Age, working on programs such as Playhouse 90 and Studio One. He made his film debut in the 1957 film The Brothers Karamazov, followed by Judgment at Nuremburg and The Intruder. During the same period, he starred on Broadway in The World of Suzie Wong and A Shot in the Dark.
He has since guest starred in over several hundred television programs including classics such as The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Mission: Impossible. He also recurred on other staples including 77 Sunset Strip and Dr. Kildare before garnering an Emmy nomination for his appearances in 3rd Rock from the Sun.
In 1966, Shatner originated the role of Captain James T. Kirk in television series Star Trek, which rocketed into fame only after the show was cancelled and re-launched in syndication. The series spawned a feature film franchise and Shatner reprised the role of Captain Kirk in seven of the Star Trek motion pictures.
He has since appeared in other movies such as Airplane II: The Sequel, Loaded Weapon 1, Showtime, and Miss Congeniality. Miss Congeniality was successful enough to warrant a sequel and Miss Congeniality 2 is currently in production.
Larry with Bill on set of TJ Hooker
Shatner played the title role in the ABC network television series hit T.J. Hooker before hosting the CBS series Rescue 911 for six seasons. Since the show first aired, over 300 lives have been saved by people who learned a life-saving technique from the show.
He made his feature film directorial debut in 1989 with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (in which he also starred as well as helped conceive the story). Since then, he has directed several other features, television movies, and series episodes. Most recently, he directed (as well as produced and starred in) Love Lake , a picture about the mysterious area surrounding Roswell , New Mexico .
Since April 1998, Shatner has served as the spokesman for Priceline.com. He was one of the first celebrities in Hollywood to recognize the importance of the Internet and his enduring appeal has proven to be an integral part of the company’s ad campaigns and brand marketing program. As the celebrity spokesperson for Priceline.com, he contributes his trademark sense of humor and entertaining style to the groundbreaking and humorous series of television and radio commercials.
Off the screen and broadcast waves, Shatner has authored over 20 best-selling books in both the fiction and non-fiction genres. His novel series TekWar was turned into a television series for The Sci-Fi Network (in which he starred and directed). Some of his other popular novels include Man O’ War, Star Trek Avenger and Ashes of Eden. He wrote two books on his Star Trek career in the titles Star Trek Memories and Star Trek Movie Memories before penning Get A Life!, a hilarious but endearing look at the cult of StarTrek Conventions.
Shatner has also become a success at another career-- horse breeding. A longtime dedicated breeder of American Quarter horses, he has had smashing success with the beautiful American Saddlebred, developing and owning the World Champion “Sultan’s Great Day.” In August 1997, he won the World Harness Championship at Louisville , Kentucky , with his Saddlebred, “Revival.”
This love for horses led him to his involvement with AHEAD With Horses, a charity organization that gives physically and mentally challenged children the thrill of riding a horse, and boosts their confidence and self-esteem. For the past 14 years, he has hosted the Hollywood Charity Horse Show at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center . The event, held every spring, benefits AHEAD With Horses and other child-oriented charities in the Los Angeles area. He has also worked with the American Tinnitus Association, and has raised awareness of this debilitating illness through numerous television appearances and interviews.
Shatner continues to act, write, produce and direct while still managing to find time to work with charities and further his passion in the equestrian sports. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Los Angeles .
EXCLUSIVE FOR PROJECT RISE & SHINE™
Q&A With William Shatner:
PR & S: If you had one piece of advice to offer, what would it be?
Shatner: Be true to yourself.
PR &S: When did you know exactly what you wanted to achieve?
Shatner: Six years old.
PR & S: What natural born talent(s) did you identify early on that you nurtured and ultimately contributed to your success?
Shatner: The ability to persuade people.
PR & S: Who are/were 3 of your greatest support team members?
Shatner: The 1st Baseman, The 2nd Baseman, The 3rd Baseman
PR & S: What was the luckiest moment in your career?
Shatner: There were so few and so many, it’s hard to say.
PR & S: Of the Four Essential and Attainable Elements for fulfillment and success – TALENT, RAGE, TEAM and LUCK – in what order would you rank your possession of them?
PR & S: What (if anything) did you have to sacrifice to achieve your goal?
PR & S: What would you most like to be remembered for?
Shatner: That’s an individual’s perception.
PR & S: What charitable organizations do you support?
Shatner: Children in need, Animals in need and the Environment in need; The Hollywood Charity Horseshow
To learn more about William Shatner and his Hollywood Charity Horseshow, visit www.williamshatner.com.