Today is William Shatner's 80th birthday. You've gotta admire the guy. For a while it looked like he was forever going to be typecast as Captain Kirk, but then in the mid-90s, he went through a career resurgence. After Captain Kirk was disappointingly killed on-screen in Star Trek Generations, Shatner went on to pen several memoirs, co-author ten Star Trek novels, and get a new lease on his career by sending up his image in Priceline commercials.
But even after that he still spent the first few years of the millennium appearing in low-budget direct-to-DVD fare and Hallmark movies... until his recurring role on The Practice as Denny Crane. The popular character was quickly spun off into Boston Legal, and Shatner officially began the "respected elder statesman" portion of his career, winning the awards and respect that eluded him in the days he wore a Starfleet uniform.
These days he's starring on $#!+ My Dad Says, and he's the lone bright spot on the sitcom. His more interesting venture is the interview show Shatner's Raw Nerve, where his unusual interviewing style leads to conversations more engaging than you'll find on most talk shows. His recent interview with former co-star Walter Koenig was an often-tense conversation between two guys with a lot of history and not all of it pleasent. The Jason Alexander interview was one of the more revealing I've seen with the man. He managed to make Rush Limbaugh seem not sub-human for a few minutes even while confronting the man's arrogance head-on and not giving Rush an opening to pull his usual bulldog replies when challenged. Even when the guest on Raw Nerve is someone you might not usually find interesting, the conversation is worth 22 minutes of attention.
So you have to salute the man. The man's starting his ninth decade and he's keeping busier than most guys half his age. Most actors are lucky to get one iconic role in their careers. Shatner's had at least three: Captain James T. Kirk, Denny Crane... and William Shatner.
What's your favorite Shatner?
1 week ago