William Shatner at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International
(1931-03-22) March 22, 1931
Notre-Dame-de-GrÃ¢ce, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Education||Westhill High School|
|Alma mater||McGill University|
|Occupation||Actor, author, producer, director|
|Home town||Notre-Dame-de-GrÃ¢ce, Quebec, Canada|
Gloria Rand (m. 1956; div. 1969)
People’s Choice Award
I think that prog rock is the science fiction of music. Science fiction speculates on what the future might be and look like and how we’ll get there, and yet there’s always a central theme of humanity, or there should be. Progressive rock has the same concept of exploration into the parts of the music world that hasn’t been explored.
I didn’t want to do the sitcom thing, but I didn’t know what else to do.
No matter how prosaic something is that you’ve done and been a part of again and again, there is so much more there that you haven’t seen.
We live in grief for having left the womb, for having left the teat, then school, then home. In my case, it was leaving marriages, and the death of my wife.
I sometimes find that in interviews you learn more about yourself than the person learned about you.
Gradually the live TV scene simmered out, replaced by film, and that took place in L.A. So many actors left New York.
We meet aliens every day who have something to give us. They come in the form of people with different opinions.
Montreal is a very cosmopolitan, sophisticated, erudite, educated, glorious city today. But it wasn’t quite that way when I was growing up there. There was a lot of anti-Semitism. And I had to deal with that in an area of the city that had very few Jews.
I watch movies and sports. I can count on the fingers of my hand the number of times I have watched an hour show. I never watch a half-hour show, and I never watch myself.
But if you want to know the truth, the weirdest thing that has happened has been my discovery that people who attend the conventions are filled with love.
Writing an acceptance speech gives you the expectation of winning, and you are therefore devastated or hurt if you didn’t win.
Writing is truly a creative art – putting word to a blank piece of paper and ending up with a full-fledged story rife with character and plot.
Nobody could have imagined the phenomenon that ‘Star Trek’ became. It’s still almost impossible to imagine.
My wife and my three kids and my grandchildren are my life, but my horses and my dogs are everything else.
The mysteriousness and mystique of space is such, that science fiction attempts to tantalize you by telling you a story that could possibly be out there and that’s the appeal of science fiction.
Sci-fi films are the epic films of the day because we can no longer put 10,000 extras in the scene – but we can draw thousands of aliens with computers.
Everybody has their 15 minutes, and those 15 minutes should be spent in a private limo and a private plane. It’s the ultimate.
Instead of playing something heavily, I play it lightly. Since people like to cast cyclically, once you’ve done one thing, people want to put you in that bag again. And since I want to work, I let it happen.
I find age such a foreign concept. I have to be reminded. I still have the extraordinary feeling of adventure, striking out into unknown fields.
You and I and everybody in show business and the entertainment industry fly by the seat of our pants. We don’t know quite what is going to happen.
I find the whole time travel question very unsettling if you take it to its logical extension. I think it might eventually be possible, but then what happens?
Over the years, I’ve become barraged by comments from people, such as, ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’ and I became defensive. I felt they were derisive and engendered an attitude. I am grateful for the success, but didn’t want to be mocked.
My fear is dying badly, through illness or injury. But what a glorious demise it would be to burn up in space.
How do I stay so healthy and boyishly handsome? It’s simple. I drink the blood of young runaways.
When I’m interviewing somebody I don’t work from prepared questions.
I think the supernatural is a catch-all for everything we don’t understand about the vast other parts of life that we cannot perceive.
Getting that audience approval is always a question mark, and it’s always that flag that flutters in front of you.
I’ve never not appeared in front of a live audience for any longer period than a month or two.
With three kids, it was always very, very tight, and it was always a scramble for what was my next job. So I learned never to go into debt because I don’t want those monthly payments to preoccupy my thoughts.
My kids say if there’s any family dinner that doesn’t result in somebody crying, it’s not a good dinner. They cry because it helps relieve them of a guilt or some onerous emotional burden. It’s like a family tradition.
When I did the film Generations, in which the character died, I felt like a guest for the first time. That made me very sad.
The possibilities that are suggested in quantum physics tell us that everything that we’re looking at may not be in fact there, so the underlying nature of being is weird.
I’ve never been without a dog. I’ve made trips across the country with a dog.
I’ve been in that angst of loneliness, where you’re really alone in the universe, except for the dog.
The actor is in the hands of a lot of other people, over which he has no control.
These people who come to Comic-Con and dress up – all across the country, the rest of the population who doesn’t understand are scoffing at them.
And I enjoyed the celebrity and the creativity that was involved in Star Trek.
I spent years doing ‘Star Trek’ bits and things, and a lot of people loved it, a lot of people mocked it.
I think of doing a series as very hard work. But then I’ve talked to coal miners, and that’s really hard work.
Although I’m a business major out of McGill University, I know nothing… but then I found out much later in life, nobody knows anything.
I’m not technically adept at music, but I’d love to be part of a discussion of where progressive rock ends and country music begins.
Regret is the worst human emotion. If you took another road, you might have fallen off a cliff. I’m content.
My understanding is, the fans are so ravenous in Canada, they gnaw on the stars.
I’ve been breeding Dobies for years. Almost won the breed in Westminster at one time.
I love to go to a movie, get a Diet Coke and a barrel of popcorn, and sit there with my kids and watch a film.
I had been in a Shakespeare company for three years and done a lot of Shakespeare. That was fun. That was interesting.
Spencer Tracy was a man who did very much what I do on a set, and that is, he comes down and he does his job, and then he goes back to his dressing room.
The basic quality that any great story must have is a story that illustrates the human condition.
The essence of paint ball is the fact that when you get hit by a ball full of paint, it hurts just enough to say, ‘Ow, I gotta get out of the way,’ but not enough to say, ‘I quit.’
The problem is I don’t know anything or anyone. I am so focused on the immediate picture in front of me.
Acting is easier – writing is more creative. The lazy man vies with the industrious.
I don’t know how I got to this point but it must be as a result of everything that has come before so if I were to change something, I might not be at this point now.
The longer I go about living, I see it’s the relationship that is most meaningful.
Things people say strike me as amusing, and I am prone to saying out loud what everybody’s thinking.
I can’t stand the gossip of celebrities’ lives, all the time! Every minute!
I love technology. Matches, to light a fire, is really high tech. The wheel is really one of the great inventions of all time. Other than that, I am an ignoramus about technology.
Marriage is a reflection of your life in general: how you treat people, how you argue, how secure you are in your own thoughts. How vehemently do you argue your point of view? With what disdain do you view the other’s point of view?
No, I don’t regret anything at this point. That may change on the next phone call, but at the moment I don’t regret anything.
I know very little about the viral, electronic world, but I use Twitter to communicate not only information that I think some of the fans want to hear about but also ideas.
What is down will go up. At the same time, you have to be prepared for what is up to go down.
This is my saddest story: In grade school, they would have us open our Valentine’s cards and read them out loud. I always sent cards to myself because nobody else did.
I didn’t realize that, in doing a documentary, there is this process of discovery. It’s not like a film or a play with a set script. It sort of reveals itself.
I’m gonna reveal something to you that’s going to come as a shock: If you’re a stupid young man, you’re usually a stupid old man. Most people, including myself, keep repeating the same mistakes.
Babies have big heads and big eyes, and tiny little bodies with tiny little arms and legs. So did the aliens at Roswell! I rest my case.
Voice acting is very interesting, I’ve done several animated projects, and you have to make the voice reflect the character and try and do as much with a word as you can with a look in a live-action film.
I am not a Starfleet commander, or T.J. Hooker. I don’t live on Starship NCC-1701, or own a phaser. And I don’t know anybody named Bones, Sulu, or Spock.
When you’ve done the technical part, you’re then into the joy, the zen, into being. Technology no longer exists for you. You’re then into the mystery of the thing you’re doing.
Why does the lizard stick his tongue out? The lizard sticks its tongue out because that’s the way its listening and looking and tasting its environment. It’s its means of appreciating what’s in front of it.
Every piece of entertainment is made with the idea that ‘This is going to be terrific’ and ‘This is the best thing I’ve ever done’ and then it hits the public and then the public tells you whether it’s good or bad.
I envy the people who say, ‘oh, well, I’ve got my name in the golden book and I’m going to be entered into the pearly gates.’
The name Shatner is Austrian and partly Germanic, and there’s Germanic reticence and silence perhaps, but there is passion underneath.
I frequently dream of being on these horses’ backs and running across a field. And the horse and I are one.
I’m always open to the possibility that somebody’s got a better idea than I have. It happens with some frequency.
I see people putting text messages on the phone or computer and I think, ‘Why don’t you just call?’
The only subject I know anything about is myself and I don’t know that too clearly.
A tree you pass by every day is just a tree. If you are to closely examine what a tree has and the life a tree has, even the smallest thing can withstand a curiosity, and you can examine whole worlds.
There’s an ecstasy about doing something really good on film: the composition of a shot, the drama within the shot, the texture… It’s palpable.
It’s irksome to read about someone I don’t recognize. It frightens me.
There’s a joy and a pain about directing where the dreams you have are becoming concrete but the attention to detail, the need for time is such that it’s overwhelming at times, and the stream of responsibility.
If I’m given an opportunity to do something, I do it. Or else I fool around with it.
The political scene is already so turgid, it doesn’t need more of that from me.
I’ve been approached to do some things with astronauts and the preparation that astronauts go through.
If you make a fool of yourself, you can do it with dignity, without taking your pants down. And if you do take your pants down, you can still do it with dignity.
If you read my books, especially the Star Trek books and the Quest for Tomorrow books, you’ll see in them the core theme of the basic humanistic questions that Star Trek asked.
The ability to breathe the air and drink the water will be what the wars will be about from here on in. And it’s coming with alarming rapidity.
My beautiful wife is dead. She meant everything to me. Her laughter, her tears and her joy will remain with me the rest of my life.
When there are tiers of meaning in an ad it intrigues the audience and they look for it again and again.
In my proudest moments, I think I had a real hand in the creative force of making ‘Star Trek.’ But most of the time, I don’t think about it.
You know, the process of making a documentary is one of discovery, and like writing a story, you follow a lead and that leads you to something else and then by the time you finish, the story is nothing like you expected.
In entertainment, whether it’s movies or television or whatever, I’m a great audience, but I don’t remember the names of the people I’ve seen or the groups that I’ve heard.
I was always working. Maybe you weren’t aware of the movies I was making, or the television I was doing, or the shows I was creating, or the books I was writing; there have been thirty. But I have always been solidly at work, running as fast as I can.
Here’s something pompous – you take your day and artistically create it, so every moment has an artistic flavor.
It was the early 1970s and I was recently divorced. I had three kids and was totally broke. I managed to find work back east on the straw-hat circuit – summer stock – but couldn’t afford hotels, so I lived out of the back of my truck, under a hard shell.
Success is different for everyone; everybody defines it in their own way, and that’s part of what we do in ‘Close Up’, finding what it was each person wanted to achieve and what their willingness to sacrifice for that was.
I also derive a great deal of pleasure from horses and dogs… the ocean… and love.