Star Trek’s William Shatner’s life in van, selling kidney stone and wife tragedy

TV

Star Trek legend William Shatner, famous for his role as Captain James T Kirk in the hit TV series and movies, turns 90 on Monday, March 22.

The screen icon is still taking on acting roles too – appearing as a retired Nasa test pilot in the new romantic comedy Senior Moment.

Here Daily Star reveals 15 out of this world facts about the star…

1. Born in Montreal, Canada, in 1931, the son of a tailor, he can speak French fluently. He studied economics at college, originally planning a career in finance.

2. Switching to drama after his mum Ann encouraged him to perform, Shatner became a Shakespearean stage actor before early screen roles which included roles on The Twilight Zone.

William Shatner attends C2E2 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo at McCormick Place on March 1, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

William Shatner pictured last year

3. He also appeared in the bizarre horror flick Incubus shot in the experimental international language Esperanto.

4. Shatner got the part of Kirk – captain of the USS Enterprise – in 1966 thanks to a second pilot of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek series.

5. As well as battling Klingons, highlights included US TV’s first scripted interracial kiss between Kirk and Nichelle Nichols as Lt Uhura. But he never actually said “Beam me up, Scotty!”

6. When the show was axed Shatner found it hard to get roles and, having split with his first wife Gloria, ended up living in the back of his camper van.

7. But Star Trek re-runs made it cult viewing and he went on to star in seven spin off movies. He also starred in films like Miss Congeniality and 1980s TV cop show TJ Hooker alongside Heather Locklear.

Shatner in a scene from an episode of 'Robert Herridge Theater' entitled 'The Story of a Gunfighter,' New York, New York, October 9, 1959

Shatner in a scene from an episode of ‘Robert Herridge Theater’ entitled ‘The Story of a Gunfighter,’ New York, New York, October 9, 1959

8. Having admitted dabbling in drugs in the past himself, in 1968 Shatner recorded a bizarre album, The Transformed Man, including a spoken version of the Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, saying he imagined it from the perspective of an LSD user.

9. Shatner once admitted he can’t sing, but has recorded everything from country to pop records and a Christmas album called Shatner Claus. His The Blues album went to the US no1 last year.

10. Having divorced his second wife, Marcy in 1996, his third wife, model Nerine Kidd died tragically in 1999 when she accidentally drowned in the swimming pool at their home. The 40-year-old had been suffering from alcoholism.

11. The star, who has three daughters, Leslie, Lisabeth and Melanie, divorced his fourth wife Elizabeth Martin in 2020 after 19 years of marriage. She was 27 years his junior.

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12. Today Shatner is worth an estimated £75million. He lives in LA and his hobbies include breeding horses and keeping Doberman dogs – he called one of them Kirk.

13. In 2006 he auctioned off his kidney stone for £14,000 to raise money for a housing charity.

14. Shatner, who boasts 2.5million Twitter followers, also writes sci-fi novels. He loves mysteries and recently hosted the History Channel’s paranormal series The UnXplained.

15. Despite admitting he hasn’t even seen many of his own Star Trek performances, Shatner will ‘boldly go’ into his nineties with a special birthday bash on a replica of the Enterprise.

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