First aired on Q (2/11/11)
Even at the age of 80, the great Canadian entertainer William Shatner isn't slowing down. He first found fame, of course, at the helm of the USS Enterprise on the original Star Trek TV series. He's currently in the midst of a cross-country tour for his stage show, How Time Flies: An Evening with William Shatner, and promoting his new book, Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large.
In a recent interview on Q, he reminisced about getting his start at the CBC, first in radio and then in television. "I put myself through college on CBC Radio," he told host Jian Ghomeshi. His first role in a TV series was in Space Command, the CBC's first dramatic series. The CBC also bought his first screenplay, Shatner said.
In his book, Shatner shares some of the principles that he has lived by. He emphasizes taking a positive approach and being open to new ideas. "Follow the adventure," he said. He believes it's not a question of age but of attitude.
At the same time, he's pragmatic. "Dedication is necessary, and by dedicating yourself to something, you're going to sacrifice something else," Shatner acknowledged.
Another "Shatnerism" from the book: "Life is hard, get as much free cake as you possibly can." He explained that it came from an incident with his mother. On her 84th birthday, the family took her to a number of restaurants, and in each place she told them it was her birthday so that she would get a free piece of cake. Shatner said he felt embarrassed at the time, but in retrospect he realized, "Hey, my mother had something there!"
What's his "free cake"? Shatner is quick to respond: "Living this extraordinary life, working hard, loving hard...and yet I'm in great health and vigour."
Age hasn't blunted his faculties either. Shatner says he feels as mentally sharp as ever, and he points to fellow Canadian actor and friend Christopher Plummer as another octogenarian who is at his peak as a performer."He's like fine wine," Shatner said.
Shatner has had many roles in his 60-year career, but of course he's most associated with Captain Kirk. He often joked about it in subsequent years, but says he has regained his sense of pride in the role, thanks to his work on a new documentary, The Captains, in which he interviews the actors who have played Kirk in the series' various incarnations. He has also been putting together a documentary about Star Trek fans, and that has given him newfound respect for the place of Star Trek in our culture. "I discovered the mythology of Star Trek and what my contribution was."
Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large
by William Shatner
Buy this book at:
From the publisher:
"This collection of rules, illustrated with stories from Bill's illustrious life and career, will show you how Bill became WILLIAM SHATNER, larger than life and bigger than any role he ever played. Shatner Rules is your guide to becoming William Shatner. Or more accurately, beautifully Shatneresque..."
Read more at Penguin Canada.