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->''"'Has been' implies failure. Not so. 'Has been' is history. 'Has been' ''was.'' 'Has been'... ''might again''."''
-->-- '''William Shatner''', "Has Been".

'''William Shatner''' (born March 22, 1931) is one of the [[NarmCharm most charming]] [[LargeHam largest hams]] of all time. Most well known for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk in ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', he has offered an assortment of [[ChewingTheScenery impossibly intense, emotive performances]], [[PunctuatedForEmphasis often ... including! oddly placed ... emphasis and ... pauses!]] His recitation of the Preamble to the US Constitution in the episode "The Omega Glory" is legendary: "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b56e0u0EgQ WEEEEE . . . the PEEEE-ple!]]"

As if his broad over-acting weren't enough, he also saw fit to record an album of spoken-word readings of poetry and pop-song lyrics called ''The Transformed Man'' that has to be heard to be believed. His renditions of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" are particularly legendary and inspired the ''Golden Throats'' compilations of bad celebrity music recordings. An equally [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lul-Y8vSr0I jaw-dropping video rendition]] of "[[EltonJohn Rocket Man]]" became a favorite bit of nonsense that was re-created years later by [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ1JmKW08vI Chris Elliott]] on ''[[LateNight Late Night With David Letterman]]'' and Stewie on ''FamilyGuy''. Lesser-known is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBWOmHUvKBw his cover of Harry Chapin's "Taxi"]] on ''The Dinah Shore Show'' circa 1973 (and yes, that's a timecode).

In the late [[TurnOfTheMillennium 2000s]], Creator/ConanOBrien picked up the gag: "To read the speeches of SarahPalin in the style they were meant to be performed, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1pH5DGmDYY beat poetry]], please welcome Emmy-award winner and master thespian William Shatner." Shatner also read some of Levi Johnston's writings...and once, Palin went on ''Series/TheTonightShow'' to strike back, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM-mgBvCJmo reading from Shatner's autobiography.]]

An ego the size of his native UsefulNotes/{{Canada}} also did not help his reputation among his co-stars. Details vary, but he has said that he was unaware of how arrogant he was on set. LeonardNimoy helped him understand that just being nice to them personally doesn't mean that they respected him trying to take away what little screen time they had, and most of the other cast have in the past expressed dissatisfaction with what WalterKoenig referred to as "them and us", "them" being Shatner, Nimoy and DeforestKelley, "us" being Koenig, GeorgeTakei, NichelleNichols and JamesDoohan. His most famous spat was with Doohan, who was one of the most distinguished character actors before his role on ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}''; Doohan once famously said "I like Captain Kirk, but I sure don't like Bill." He outright refused an interview with Shatner during the writing of the "Star Trek Memories" book, but showing genuine regret for alienating the cast allowed the two to reconcile before Doohan was incapacitated by Alzheimer's Disease. ''Memories'' also allowed Shatner to settle affairs with Nichols, with Nichols shocking him by telling him "[[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech how much I despise you]]," though after his willingness to listen to her critiques and offering his sincere apologies, they reconciled and have remained friends. He similarly mended fences with Takei, but apparently their relationship soured again when Shatner [[SnubByOmission did not receive an invitation]] to Takei's wedding (Takei [[PoorCommunicationKills insists that he sent an invitation]] to Shatner).

In more recent years, Shatner has redeemed himself somewhat by developing a sense of humor, [[AdamWesting mostly about himself]], and becoming a new model of SelfDeprecation. This has included playing a ludicrous version of himself in the film ''FreeEnterprise'', and parodying his "musical" stylings in a series of commercials and a new, well-received recording with Music/BenFolds (''Has Been''). He also appears in the videos for the Brad Paisley songs "Online" ("What? I can't sing?"), and "Celebrity". ("I liked the end of the song. No, the end, [[BackhandedCompliment when you stopped singing]]. I liked that part.")

Not to mention his famed "Get A Life" sketch on ''SaturdayNightLive'', wherein he berated ''Trek'' fans for [[BasementDweller living in their parents' basement.]] This later became the title of his 1999 autobiography, in which he self-deprecatingly admits he didn't give Trek fans enough credit. He has since been known to show up at conventions in Klingon guise, confirming that, decades later, he is finally [[OneOfUs one of us]]. Since then, he's joined {{reddit}} (username "williamshatner"), where he refuses to be treated as a celebrity.

Shatner has also developed a moderately successful reputation as a writer, starting with two autobiographies about his time with ''Star Trek'' that may have started his redemption; in the books, he faithfully recounts the brutal interviews he held with his former co-stars, who, one after another, lambasted him for being such an overbearing jerk, and admits to being humbled by the experience. His latest book is an autobiography titled ''Up Till Now'', which is actually really funny, partly because he spends a great deal of it mischievously poking fun at himself, but mostly because Shatner is actually an extremely good (and funny) non-fiction writer.

Shatner also starred as a cop in ''TJHooker'', and was one of the core cast of ''BostonLegal'', winning an Emmy for his role as the [[LargeHam bombastic]], [[CrazyAwesome possibly insane]] Denny Crane. He has also dabbled in RealityTV, hosting ''{{Rescue 911}}'' and the UPN version of ''IronChef''. His popular ''Tekwar'' novels were adapted into a short-lived series and a video game, in both of which he played a supporting role. On the A&E Channel in 2008 he began ''Shatner's Raw Nerve'', an intimate interview show (no studio audience) where he talks with guest much like a news interview but done in a much more casual and friendly setting. In fall 2010 he starred as the title father in the CBS DomCom ''[[ShitMyDadSays $#*! My Dad Says]]'', which only lasted one season.

He also got first billing on several ''Star Trek'' novels (known as the "[[Literature/StarTrekShatnerverse Shatnerverse]]" as it apparently has its own continuity separate from that of other ''Trek'' novels) that were actually largely authored by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, though the later books of the series have more of Shatner's influence-- and it shows. In these books [[TheKirk Kirk]] comes BackFromTheDead and becomes even more of a MartyStu. Kirk was also a MartyStu in the Shatner-directed ''Film/StarTrekVTheFinalFrontier'', which opens with an obvious stunt double climbing El Capitan and ends with him fighting God (or at least an alien imposter with nifty powers).

Shatner also happens to be an expert equestrian, and has been breeding and showing horses for years - namely, American Quarter Horses in reining competitions and Saddlebreds in their breed classes. Incidentally, the horse he [[TheCastShowoff rode]] in ''Film/StarTrekGenerations'' was his own Saddlebred mare Great Belles of Fire. He also breeds Dobermans.

For a quick primer on how do a passable William Shatner impersonation, simply emphasize the first noun, then say the rest of the sentence as rapidly as possible:
* "YOOOOUUUU . . . can'tjustletthemalldie!"

Alternately, insert pauses at all conceivable (and a few inconceivable) opportunities:
* "Must... draw... on... old... drama club... training!"

Make sure you ''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis emphasize]]''. '''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis every]]'''. '''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis WORD]]''', or the pauses without emphasis will sound more like BarackObama. Also make sure you include dramatic hand gestures, otherwise you'll just look silly (as opposed to [[NarmCharm the correct way you'll look silly while doing it right]]).

(Shatner has himself claimed that the first, more accurate example of a Shatner impression was a result of how scripts tended to be delivered on the show... revised, often, and late. He basically said that the pauses sometimes came from struggling to remember a line he might have been given ten minutes ago and certainly hadn't rehearsed, and the rush came from making sure it would still fit into the allotted camera time. He also claims that the overall hamminess was because he really wanted the show to succeed, and so he "put everything! I! had! ... intotherole.")

(Still another story claims that Shatner, back in his theater days, was tapped at the last second to play a major role in "Julius Caesar". He spent most of the time trying desperately to remember his lines and not screw up... and woke up to critical praise for his "[[AchievementsInIgnorance brilliant reinvention of Shakespeare]]". Hey, if it ain't broke...)

Note that [[ImpersonationParadox the more people try this, the better chance they're bad at it.]]

There is also a book called ''Literature/{{Shatnerquake}}'', in which all of Shatner's characters come into our world to destroy the original.

Shatner has now created a new social networking site for arts patrons called [[http://www.myouterspace.com myouterspace.com]], which draws much influence from ''Franchise/StarTrek'' and is laid out in a way not too different from a sci-fi RPG.

In 2010, there was a movement about to have him appointed the next Governor-General of {{Canada|Eh}}. For those who don't know, the Governor-General is the Queen's representative in Ottawa, and one of his/her most important jobs is to deliver the "Throne Speech," which is a speech outlining the government's intended plans for the next year. It'd be worth it just to hear him read it. Alas, the government chose a far more appropriate candidate, but no doubt everyone will try again around 2015--although his great age at that time may put a crimp in the plan (he would be 84 in 2015).

In May 2010, [[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/7683943/William-Shatner-earns-600m-from-Priceline-adverts.html The Daily Telegraph reported]] that when Shatner began doing ads for travel website Priceline.com in 1997, he took payment partially in stock. Since the company was young and unproven (having been founded earlier that year), the stock wasn't worth much, and it bottomed out at $1.80/share during the dot-com bust in 2000. It recovered, however, and was eventually worth about US $600,000,000. However, in an April 2012 appearance on ''[[{{Series/Conan}} Conan]]'', Shatner revealed he never made any money from the stock. Basically, everyone who took a stock payment had to sign a waiver agreeing not to sell the stock for 18 months, which was when its value soared. By the time the waiver expired, the stock was back down to almost nothing, and Shatner (along with most of the other shareholders) sold it. ''Then'' it went back up.

As of June 2, 2011, he is now ''Doctor'' William Shatner, having received an honourary doctorate from [=McGill=] University, his alma mater. In other words, [[ImADoctorNotAPlaceholder he's a doctor, not a starship captain]]!

Is currently the host and narrator of a SpeculativeDocumentary series on {{SyFy}} called Series/WeirdOrWhat.

!!{{Trope}}s Applying to William Shatner:
* AdamWesting: Both regarding his role as Kirk and his singing career.
** From the music video for "Online":
--->'''Estelle Harris''': "... and he [BradPaisley] can sing!"
--->'''Shatner''': "I can't sing?"
--->'''Harris''': "NO!"
* ''Literature/TheBrothersKaramazov'': One of his earliest roles was Alyosha (the ''nice'' brother) in the movie.
* CanadaEh \ FakeAmerican: He was born and raised in UsefulNotes/{{Montreal}}, attending college at [=McGill=]).
* ChewingTheScenery: Shatner's acting is actually a very good barometer for judging the quality of an episode of ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}''. It's no coincidence that in all the ''really'' good episodes, Kirk is either remarkably calm ("The Corbomite Maneuver", "The City on the Edge of Forever") or he has a double through whom Shatner can channel his urge to overact (see "The Enemy Within", or that one scene in "Mirror, Mirror"). Or it's a comedy episode, in which case ''Kirk'' is deliberately overacting ("A Piece of the Action"). Gotta give the guy credit... how many other actors can claim four hit series? (''Franchise/StarTrek'', ''TJHooker'', ''{{Rescue 911}}'' and ''BostonLegal''). And while people are quick to remember the "[[SayMyName KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!]]" moment[[note]]and people are quick to forget that Kirk was quite probably hamming it up for Khan's benefit -- Kirk knew that Spock would bring the Enterprise around to save them in short order, but Khan didn't[[/note]], reviewers have often praised Shatner's performance in the second movie - particularly for the grief Kirk displays over [[spoiler: [[TheSpock Spock's]] death]]; a scene Shatner actually conceived himself. In fact, in ''all'' of Shatner's ''Franchise/StarTrek'' work, his best acting moments are those centering around [[TheNotLoveInterest Spock]] (but he also does very well opposite [[HeterosexualLifePartners [=McCoy=]]]). ''Star Trek 2'' writer-director Nicholas Meyer has said that he intentionally ran Shatner through repeated takes of each scene until he got tired and stopped overacting.
* DramaticPause: Some have ... criticized him of ... overusing this.
* EvilIsHammy: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bZKEhgieoc I'M CAPTAIN KIRK!!!]]
* GoKartingWithBowser: He's [[http://movies.yahoo.com/video/star-trek-video-game-spot-213028647.html kept in touch with that Gorn captain.]]
* IAmNotSpock: He's done more than anyone else from the original ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' to escape this {{trope}}, mainly by AdamWesting to such a degree that '''The Shatner''' became an overriding identity, for which Kirk is but one small part. Still, we all know that when he dies, his obituary is going to read "Best known as [[TheCaptain the original Captain James T. Kirk]] from the classic ''Star Trek'' series..." Even Shatner himself is aware of this, and seems to be okay with it.
** This was brought up in his documentary "The Captains" specifically in his scenes with Patrick Stewart. He talks about how he originally wanted to distance himself from the role, but eventually he finally realized how important it was to people, and as a result, [[CrowningMomentofHeartwarming it became important to him too.]]
* {{It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY}}: "I don't say sabotage. You say sabotage, I say sabba-tadge."[[note]]Thus the inclusion of the Beastie Boys song "Sabotage" in the [[Film/StarTrek reboot]].[[/note]]
* UsefulNotes/{{Judaism}}: He was raised (and by most accounts remains) in the Conservative Jewish tradition. This might have helped with his friendship with LeonardNimoy, who is a member of the not-too-different Modern Orthodox stream; Nimoy, by his own account, helped Shatner get back in touch with his roots and encouraged him to be more observant.
* LargeHam: Some say he is, in fact, the most defining example in American television. He even adorns the page image.
* NiceCharacterMeanActor: In one of the more famous instances of this trope, he developed a reputation for this during the original Star Trek series. Since then, he has taken steps to reconcile with those he offended and by all accounts has ceased throwing around the ego he had in his youth.
* OfCorsetsFunny: His infamous girdle. Which he may or may not have worn.
* OlderThanTheyLook: He looks like he's in his fifties despite being in his ''eighties''.
* OneOfUs
* PunctuatedForEmphasis
* RageQuit: He did this on a celebrity episode of ''WheelOfFortune'' in 1997.
* SayMyName: The trope formerly known as The Khan.
* SelfDeprecation: He's well aware of his status as SnarkBait and very good-natured about it.
* {{Shakespearian Actor|s}}: Seriously, he performed both on TV and in Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival, one of ''the'' classiest theatre venues in the nation. Like with AveryBrooks, the years of reciting the Bard's lines in their specific cadences is thought to have played a large part in his ''Star Trek''-era acting style.
** He once claimed, in ''Get a Life!'', that he developed the style when acting in some minor theater, to keep the audience awake.
* StarMakingRole: Who knows what would have happened if Jeffrey Hunter had chosen to stay with ''Star Trek''?
* YourCostumeNeedsWork: According to ''Get A Life'', he was once told that his Captain Kirk was inferior to that of Kevin Pollack. By his daughter. The next time he saw Pollack, he got some tips from him.
* YouSayTomato: The way he pronounces sabotage as "sabataage".
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