William Shatner, OC (born March 22, 1931 in Montreal) is a Canadian actor, producer, director, screenwriter, author, singer and voice actor. He is also a two-time Emmy Award winner and a Golden Globe Award winner. He is known to a wide audience for his roles as Captain James T. Kirk in Spaceship Enterprise, as T. J. Hooker in the series of the same name and as Denny Crane in the lawyer series Boston Legal. Since a ten-minute suborbital flight in October 2021, at the age of 90, he has been the oldest person to have been in space.
William Shatner grew up as the son of Joseph Shatner and Anna Garmaise in Montreal. His grandfather Wolfgang Shatner (originally Schattner) was a Jewish emigrant of German descent from the Ukraine. His maternal grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Austria and Vilkaviškis in Lithuania. Shatner had been fascinated by acting since he was six years old when he took part in a theater performance at a summer camp. Two years later he appeared at the Montreal Children's Theater as Tom Sawyer. At the age of ten he already achieved a certain level of awareness as a radio play speaker on the Canadian radio station CBC.
After high school, he graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a degree in economics in 1952.
In 1953 Shatner starred in several Shakespeare performances at the Stratford Festival of Canada.
In 1956 he moved to New York City, where he worked for television and on Broadway, where he was noticed by film producers. His first film appearance was in 1958 in The Karamazov Brothers, where he played the role of Alexei Karamazov. Three years later followed a supporting role in the judgment of Nuremberg and in 1962 the leading role in Roger Corman's racism drama White Terror. Shatner made his debut as a leading actor in a television series in For the People, which aired from January to May 1965. He became world famous for his role as Captain Kirk in the television series Starship Enterprise, the three seasons of which ran from September 1966 to September 1969. He did not appear in the series' original pilot episode, The Cage; in her, Jeffrey Hunter played the role of Captain Pike, who was in command of the Enterprise before Kirk.
In the early 1970s, Shatner lived in a pickup truck for a while because of financial difficulties. Shatner later played Kirk again in the first seven parts of the Star Trek movie series (1979-1994), and he also directed the fifth film.
Other films with Shatner include The Hound of Baskerville (1972) and The Abduction of the President (1980) with Ava Gardner and Hal Holbrook, as well as two episodes of the US crime series Columbo. From 1982 to 1986 he played in the crime series T.J. Hooker again starred and also directed several episodes. From 1989 to 1996 he presented the TV show Rescue 911, where accidents and rescue operations with the police and fire brigade were re-enacted. In 1993 he took on a supporting role in the comedy Loaded Weapon. Between 1994 and 1996, four television films and 18 series episodes were made by Tek War - Warriors of the Future, based on Shatner's science fiction novels of the same name. Here he played as Walter Bascom in a supporting role and took over the direction of the first film and two episodes of the series.
After the independent comedy Free Enterprise (1998), in which Shatner parodies himself, other roles followed in films such as Miss Undercover (2000), Showtime (2002) and Full of the Nuts (2004). From 2004 to 2008 he starred alongside James Spader in the role of Denny Crane in the justice series Boston Legal, for which he received an Emmy for best supporting actor in a drama series and the Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a television production. In addition, he moderated the weekly game show from November 2006