At 91, Star Trek’s William Shatner is still going strong￼
I still remember when, as a teenager in 1966, I eagerly watched every episode of Star Trek, as the crew of the Starship Enterprise went on its mission, boldly going where no man had gone before.
Now, in 2022, those crew members who are still with us are getting quite old. This past week’s news of the passing — from natural causes at the age of 89 (see https://uhura.com) — of Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Communications Officer Lieutenant Uhura in the first Star Trek television series and with whom Captain James T. Kirk shared the first interracial, on-screen, Prime-Time television kiss, back when that was unprecedented, was a real reality check. Slowly but surely, we are losing the crew of the Starship Enterprise.
I saw William Shatner on the morning of July 21, during the first full day of Comic-Con, in the lobby of Theatre Box San Diego.
There he was honored in a ceremony in which he memorialized his autograph and handprints in concrete, to be added next to those of other famous people at Theatre Box San Diego (a theater affiliated with the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood).
I could not believe my eyes when I realized that he is 91 years old, and yet he is still going strong. Perhaps his secret for a long and active life is our shared Canadian roots.
Shatner was joined by Paul Wesley — this year’s Captain Kirk, as seen in Paramount+’s “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” streaming series…
…famous film critic Leonard Maltin…
…Master of Ceremonies Stephen Kramer Glickman — actor, comedian and host of “The Night Time Show” podcast…
…and Legion M’s co-founder and CEO Paul Scanlan…
Citing, as an example, his stellar performance in the 1997 recreation of Orson Welles’ 1938 radio drama “War of the Worlds,” Leonard Maltin said that “William Shatner is the complete actor. He can do anything, and anything he puts his mind to…” — interrupted by Shatner who quipped “I do windows, as well!” (LAUGHTER from the audience).
Maltin continued, adding: “Whatever he does, you know he’s going to do it well, and that’s why we love him, and we remember him and we want to honor him today.”
As Paul Wesley (the new Captain Kirk) said: “How do you replace a legend? Well, you don’t. It’s simply not possible. Why would you try? Instead you promise to safeguard the legacy entrusted to you, and then you go out and you do the work. You find some way to make the role your own, while honoring the history. … This character’s place in entertainment history is indelible. … No matter where you go, no matter where you are, an image of Captain Kirk brings instant recognition. … For nearly 60 years that role has been personified by a man of equally renowned stature — Mr. William Shatner. … Thankfully Bill, or Mr. Shatner — the original Captain himself, went out of his way to make a newcomer like me feel welcome, and for that I will ever feel grateful. So, without further ado, Mr. Shatner, you have the con.”
Before signing his name in the concrete and adding his handprints, Shatner thanked everyone for being there, made a few brief comments and, to the delight of the audience, added this quip: “Do I put my face in it?” (in the cement).
The first time he wrote his name he then said “I didn’t leave enough room for Shatner. There’s a big William there, and then Shatner peters out — and that’s the story of my life! … (more LAUGHTER) … I’ll sign it again.”
Then Santos Resendiz, the third person who has been the concrete artist at the world-famous TCL Chinese Theater’ in Hollywood, smoothed over the area, and Shatner tried again. This signature attempt was good, as were his handprints.
After everyone left, Resendiz meticulously removed the excess cement and then took the block away to harden.
This was a Legion M event.
Legion M, the world’s first entertainment company designed to be owned by fans (with over 150,000 people in the community, and over 35,000 investors), is working with Exhibit A Pictures to produce a definitive documentary film about the life of William Shatner.
Shatner, who joined Legion M’s advisory board, said: “For years I’ve had people approaching me to do a documentary about my life, but I turned them all down because it didn’t feel like the right fit. Alexandre (director Alexandre O. Philippe) and I hit it off right away, and when I heard how Legion M wanted to incorporate audiences to be a part of it, it was perfect. Fans have been responsible for my career — it only seems right that they should own this doc.”
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