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NPR FOR THE DEAF: Sh*t Captain Kirk Says

[Artwork by COMICRAZY]

FRESH AIR

William Shatner has played an attorney, a starship captain, an alien and a Roman tax collector, among many other roles. Over the past half-century, the Canadian actor has performed on television, in commercials, in movies and on Broadway — and penned several novels. He recently returned to Broadway for the first time in over 40 years with a new solo show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It. In the 90-minute performance, Shatner talks about his childhood growing up in Montreal and reflects on his many acting roles with an assortment of photos and video clips. A sizable chunk of Shatner’s performance, of course, is devoted to his iconic role as Capt. James T. Kirk. He speaks candidly about how Star Trek‘s popularity made him begin to see his own acting career in a negative way, until he heard Patrick Stewart speak about his own role on the show’s sequel series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. “I have a lot of respect for Patrick Stewart, and [it was seeing] the gravitas that this great Shakespearean actor gave to his role that I suddenly realized that this guy is taking Capt. Picard every bit as seriously as Macbeth,” Shatner says. “And I used to. And I stopped. And what the hell’s the matter with me? It was a great piece of work. Everybody contributed to it for three years, and it has lasted 50. It’s a phenomenon. Why aren’t I proud of it? And that’s when I had a moment.” MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: He’s late. He calls to explain. “A mix-up,” he says, and then, “I read all your stories.” Pause. “You. Are. A. Grrreat. Writer.” Another pause. “What’s your name?” I tell him. He says, “Of course it is.” I ask what his name is. “MY NAME? I. Am. William. Shatner!” Well, yes, but which William Shatner? The child actor from Canada, descended from Eastern European rabbis? The 23-year-old Shakespearean whom Sir Tyrone Guthrie called the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s most promising actor? The young actor who made his debut on Broadway two years later, in 1956, in “Tamburlaine the Great,” then appeared in his first Hollywood film, “The Brothers Karamazov,” with Yul Brynner in 1958 and starred on Broadway in “The World of Suzie Wong” that same year and “A Shot in the Dark” in 1961? That actor was mentioned in the same breath as his contemporaries Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Robert Redford — until, without explanation, his career faded before it bloomed. The great movie roles weren’t coming his way, so in the ’60s, waiting for stardom, he took parts in forgettable movies like “The Outrage” and “Incubus”; guest roles on TV dramas like “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone”; parts on TV serials like “Route 66,” “Gunsmoke” and “Dr. Kildare.” At 35, he was a working actor who showed up on time, knew his lines, worked cheap and always answered his phone. In 1966, he accepted a starring role in a sci-fi series called “Star Trek,” joining a no-name cast, some of whom later accused him of being pompous, self-aggrandizing, clueless and insufferably William Shatner, which became his greatest role once he finally accepted the fact of it. MORE

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WILLIAM SHATNER: LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS

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