Happy Birthday, William Shatner

Actor William Shatner celebrates his 81st birthday today. He is best known for his role in the Star Trek television series and films, but has had a long and wildly varied career that... continues to... boldly go where no man has gone before, one might say.

Captain James T. Kirk was a constant presence in my home, growing up—my dad was a huge Trekkie. I think it's fair to guess that many Boing Boing readers also consider this character, and Shatner's broader body of work, a formative part of their lives as nerds.

I recently attended his one-man-show, "Shatner's World," in Hollywood. It was a hoot. You should catch it when it comes to your town. The fate of Star Trek: The Original Series was closely linked to that of the American space program in the late 1960s, and Shatner tells some wonderful anecdotes about the historic ties to NASA in his touring performance. My favorite? His visit to Kennedy Space Center to see the Apollo LEM up-close, and a funny prank the astronauts and engineers played on him. But I won't blog any spoilers, go see it yourself.

Also, his most recent book, Shatner Rules (2011), might help you make sense of the universe. To the extent that the universe really makes any sense, that is.

Happy birthday, Rocket Man.


  1. My friend’s sister briefly dated Shatner back in the (Toronto) day. My pal told me that whenever Shatner would call to speak with his sister, it would invariably be their dad who would answer the phone, and he would shout: “Carolyn! It’s Captain Kirk!” to let her know, much to her annoyance.

  2. When I was doing design work for Billy Idol in the early 1990s, we had a discussion about Star Trek. Billy said he loved the original series, and didn’t care for the later versions because William Shatner was the only man worthy to captain a starship. I agree with Billy 100%. Happy Birthday William Shatner!

  3. I have that exact photo autographed. Only… crap… I am not sure where that it… also missing my MW Kaluta sketch.

    Anyway – I had a chance to interview him one on one, but I had to attend a stupid wedding shower. My own :o/

  4. His show (which he performed in Dallas tonight) was pretty much greatness all around. His account of how Koko the gorilla tried to seduce him is hilarious, whether it’s true or not. I don’t know how many performances he has left in this tour, but if you can make it, go.

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