There are few men who exemplify the spirit of science fiction in the media more than veteran actor William Shatner, who is 91 years old today. He is best known as Captain James T. Kirk from the original Star Trek series, and his life has been defined and shaped by the iconic role.
One of the four surviving members of the original seven bridge crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, he starred in every episode of the famed science fiction television series, an animated Star Trek series, and seven subsequent feature films.
Known for his creative interpretation of the iconic captain almost as much for his tendency to eat the scenery, Shatner’s singular magic and energy is arguably a huge part of the success and popularity of Star Trek.
The Montreal-born Shatner also played the eponymous veteran police sergeant in T. J. Hooker (1982–86). He also hosted the reality-based television series Rescue 911 (1989–96), which won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Dramatic Series. He has since worked as a musician, author, director and celebrity pitchman. He also starred as attorney Denny Crane in the television dramas The Practice (2004) and its spin-off Boston Legal (2004–08), for which he won two Emmies and a Golden Globe Award.
Shatner in Space
Eventually Shatner had to go to space himself, and in October of 2021, he did, on Jeff Bezos Blue Origin New Shephard.
The flight duration was 10 minutes, 17 seconds, and apogee hit 107 kilometers (66 miles straight up). The rocket used for this mission was a New Shepard (NS4), and the official launch time was 14:49 UTC. The launch and landing site were the same: Corn Ranch, 31°25?24?N 104°45?32?W, in Van Horn, Texas.
The US military, the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA define the edge as 80 km off the ground, towards the upper part of the mesosphere; in the 1950s, the US Air Force awarded “astronaut wings” to anyone who flew above 50 miles (80 km).
It hasn’t been a smooth road for William Shatner, and parts of his career have been hard. He suffered permanent damage to his hearing during the filming of the episode Arena, when he was standing too close to a pyrotechnic explosion when it went off. He lost his wife Nerine Kidd to an accidental drowning in 1999, and survived a cancer scare.
Yet through it all, he has perservered. His advice for a long life?
That’s it; that’s the secret. Simply keep living and try not to slow down.
Many people have shared their secrets to a long and happy life. Do this; don’t do that. Eat pickles. Don’t eat pickles. And everyone of them has worked — for them. Other people have passed along the wisdom they have gained. Meditate. Don’t hold in your anger. Treat people as you want to be treated — unless you don’t like somebody; then treat him or her differently. It all works; none of it works. One size doesn’t fit all.”
We’d like to with him a very happy 91st birthday today, and to thank him for holding onto his dreams all these years, so that so many of our own could be realized as well.
Happy birthday, Mr. Shatner. Well done indeed.
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