Hollywood veteran William Shatner is coming to Dubai this weekend as the lead star of the Middle East Film & Comic Con. It goes without saying that Shatner’s most prominent role was that of Captain James T. Kirk in the sci-fi TV series "Star Trek" – for which he is the ultimate cult hero. His other famous roles include TV cop TJ Hooker – who was forever jumping on moving cars while everything around him exploded – and in Boston Legal as Denny Crane.
Few actors poke fun at themselves quite like Shatner, and his repertoire goes way beyond Star Trek, TJ Hooker, and Boston Legal. We’ve read his autobiography, Up ‘til Now, and picked out 25 things that you may not know about the man himself:
1. Shatner was born on March 22, 1931 in Montreal, Canada.
2. After Star Trek was cancelled in 1969 he hit rough times. In the early 1970’s he lived in the back of his car for a short while.
3. One Thanksgiving he wanted a deep-fried turkey. But he laughed in the face of science and was burned by the hot oil.
4. Despite their on-screen camaraderie in Star Trek, Shatner did not get on with his main co-stars; Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, James Doohan and, of course, George Takei.
5. In 1952, he graduated from McGill University in Canada with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce.
6. Shatner sold a kidney stone he passed in 2006 for $75,000. The money was donated to a charity housing complex in Louisiana.
7. He has been married four times. His third wife, Nerine, tragically died in the pool at their LA home after a long battle with alcoholism. He has been married to Elizabeth Shatner since 2001.
8. Shatner and Star Trek co-star Nichelle Nichols made history in 1968 when they performed TV’s first ever inter-racial kiss – Nichols being of African ancestry.
9. He was recognised for his on-screen efforts in 1983 when he was given his own Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
10. Shatner suffers from chronic tinnitus, a perceived ringing in the ears although actually coming from the brain. The condition made him contemplate suicide.
11. While he never mastered Klingon, he speaks fluent Esperanto and French.
12. Zapp Brannigan, the animated space captain in Matt Goening’s “Futurama”, is based 40 per cent on Captain Kirk and 60 per cent on William Shatner.
13. Shatner is a classically trained Shakespearean actor who was an understudy to Christopher Plummer – who would later play a villain in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country".
14. The 1951 Canadian film “Butler’s Night Off” was his official on-screen debut.
15. He came to the public’s attention in 1958 in the film "The Brothers Karamazov".
16. Shatner appeared in the classic “Terror at 20,000 feet” episode of "The Twilight Zone" before Star Trek
17. He wrote and directed "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" after agreeing a deal with producers and Leonard Nimoy, who had directed III and IV – for which Shatner originally resented.
18. The 1966 series 1 episode, the "Devil in the Dark", was Shatner’s favourite Star Trek episode.
19. He has a love of horses, owning a 360 acre ranch in Kentucky where he breeds saddlebreds. He is also a supporter of horseback thearapy.
20. Shatner does a regular Vlog called “The Shatner Project”.
21. When he was young, he worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
22. Shatner is a vegetarian.
23. During the 1980’s, Shatner’s weight became an issue when he kept growing out of costumes during filming.
24. He refused Richard Branson’s offer of a trip into space on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Enterprise, fearing he “wouldn’t come back” and that he had to pay for his own ticket.
25. He has covered several songs in his trademark “spoken song” style. Many of these were released on an album called the “Transformed man”. His most famous moment was performing Elton John’s “Rocket Man” at the Science Fiction Film Awards in 1978.
Find out which other celebrities are coming to Comic Con here.