- March 22, 1931
- Bachelor's degree in commerce from McGill University, Canada
William Shatner is a Canadian actor, recording artist, and author. He gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, in the science fiction television series ' from 1966 to 1969, ' from 1973 to 1974, and in seven of the subsequent Star Trek feature films from 1979 to 1994. He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of Star Trek as well as several co-written novels set in the Star Trek universe. He has also authored a series of science fiction novels called TekWar that were adapted for television.
Shatner also played the eponymous veteran police sergeant in T. J. Hooker from 1982 to 1986. He has since worked as a musician, author, producer, director, and celebrity pitchman. From 2004 to 2008, he starred as attorney Denny Crane in the television dramas The Practice and its spin-off Boston Legal, for which he won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.
Shatner was born in Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec, Canada, the son of Anna and Joseph Shatner, a clothing manufacturer. He has two sisters, Joy and Farla. His paternal grandfather, Wolf Schattner, anglicized the family name to "Shatner". Shatner's grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Austria, Poland, and Hungary, and Shatner was raised in Conservative Judaism. He attended Willingdon Elementary School, in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Baron Byng High School, in Montreal, as well as West Hill High School in NDG. He is an alumnus of the Montreal Children's Theatre. He also attended McGill University in Montreal.
Trained as a classical Shakespearean actor, Shatner performed at the Shakespearean Stratford Festival of Canada in Stratford, Ontario. He played a range of roles at the Stratford Festival in productions that included a minor role in the opening scene of a renowned and nationally televised production of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex directed by Tyrone Guthrie, Shakespeare's Henry V, and Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great. Shatner made his Broadway debut in the latter, in 1956. In 1954, he was cast as Ranger Bob on The Canadian Howdy Doody Show. Shatner was understudy to Christopher Plummer; the two would later star as adversaries in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.