In honor of William Shatner's 79th birthday, I'm re-posting an entry from the early days of this blog...
A true King of All Media, Shatner's career spans more than half a century and includes success in the fields of Broadway Theatre, Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, Music and Publishing.
He has the distinction of starring in two of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes. In Nick of Time (1960), he played a man nearly trapped by his own superstiton. In Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (1963) his over the top performance as a terrified plane passenger is a classic.
His 1968 concept album The Transformed Man is arguably one of the most parodied and derided recordings ever, yet it is actually an amazing melange of Shakespeare and 60's Pop Music. Spoken rather than sung (think Rex Harrison on acid), Shatner's renditions of Mr. Tamborine Man and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds are nothing less than legendary. It was a mere 36 years until Bill next entered the recording studio. The result being the intriguing and honestly entertaining Has Been. Produced by Ben Folds, the critically aclaimed (I'm serious) album features collaborations with Joe Jackson, Henry Rollins, Adrian Belew and Brad Paisley among others. That's my man Bill, never afraid to grow as an artist.
Bill has written or co-authored over 30 novels and works of non-fiction. That's over three times the output of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I think I may have just found a new literary idol!
Author Emeritus Bill Shatner (left) and Literary Slacker Fitzgerald (right)
In recent years Bill has won over a new generation of fans through his self-parodying Priceline.com commercials and his absolutely brilliant, multi-layered and award winning performance as attorney Denny Crane (Denny Crane) on Boston Legal. Is Denny's grasp on reality really as tenuous as it seems at times or is it an act? I envy actor James Spader; his character Alan Shore gets to share cigars and cocktails with Denny in a sort of coda to each episode. What could be better than kicking back with a well-rolled Montecristo, an aged single malt and Bill Shatner?