After starting out as a classically-trained Shakespearean actor, Shatner swapped the theatrical stage for the bright lights of Hollywood in the late 1950s and went on to win the part that has defined his career – Captain James T. Kirk in classic sci-fi TV show Star Trek.
When the series came to an end in 1969, he reprised his role as Kirk on numerous occassions, including seven Star Trek movies, but has continued to find success on the small screen career in recent years, picking up a Golden Globe and an Emmy for his stint in Boston Legal.
To celebrate Shatner’s 80th birthday, WENN has compiled 10 fascinating facts about the actor from the final frontier:
– In March this year (11) Shatner recorded a message for the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery, backed by the famous Star Trek theme tune. His deep space message mirrored the iconic opening credits of Star Trek.
– Before landing his role in Star Trek, Shatner appeared in a 1964 episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with his future co-star Leonard Nimoy, who also turns 80 this week.
– Nimoy later joined his pal onscreen with a number of cameo appearances in Shatner’s 1980s cop show T. J. Hooker.
– In 2006 Shatner sold one of his kidney stones and raised $75,000 (£46,875) for charity.
– During the 1970s, Shatner enjoyed guest spots in a number of successful TV shows, including Columbo, The Six Million Dollar Man and Mission: Impossible.
– He won his first Emmy Award for playing attorney Denny Crane in The Practice, he continued the character in Boston Legal and won another Emmy Award, making him one of only a handful of actors, including his co-star James Spader, to have been feted twice for playing the same character in two different TV shows.
– Shatner suffers from hearing condition tinnitus.
– He has authored his own series of sci-fi novels, called TekWar, which were adapted for television and also made into comic books and video games.
– He has been married four times and has three daughters.
– Shatner forged out a music career using the spoken word instead of singing – his 1968 album The Transformed Man featured creative recitations of songs including Mr. Tambourine Man and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
– Shatner’s hobbies include breeding and showing horses.