William Shatner facts: Star Trek actor's age, movies, wife, children and career explained

14 February 2024, 15:32

William Shatner in 2018
William Shatner in 2018. Picture: Getty

By Tom Owen

William Shatner is a Canadian actor who has achieved iconic status in the world of entertainment.

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He is best known for his portrayal of Captain James T Kirk in the Star Trek franchise, a role that he played for nearly three decades across TV and film.

He has also starred in many other popular shows and movies, such as TJ Hooker, Boston Legal, and Miss Congeniality. He has won several awards, including two Emmys and a Golden Globe, and has been honoured as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Besides acting, Shatner is also a prolific writer, musician, producer, and philanthropist. He has authored dozens of books, ranging from science fiction novels to memoirs, and has recorded several albums, featuring his distinctive spoken-word style of singing.

He has also been involved in various charitable causes, such as animal welfare, environmentalism, and space exploration. William Shatner is a remarkable figure who has left an unforgettable mark on the culture and history of the 20th and 21st centuries.

  1. How old is William Shatner and where was he born?

    Captain James T Kirk
    Captain James T Kirk. Picture: Getty

    William Shatner is 92 years old as of 2024, and he was born on March 22, 1931 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

    His parents were Joseph Shatner and Ann Garmaise. His father was a clothing manufacturer and his mother was a homemaker.

    He had two sisters, Joy (who died in 2023) and Farla.

    His paternal grandfather, Wolf Schattner, anglicized the family name to Shatner. Shatner’s grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Austria, Poland, and Hungary, and Shatner was raised in Conservative Judaism.

  2. How did he get his start in acting?

    Portrait Of William Shatner in the 1950s
    Portrait Of William Shatner in the 1950s. Picture: Getty

    William Shatner got his start in acting by performing in radio productions for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Montreal Children’s Theatre as a child.

    He also acted in student productions at McGill University, where he graduated with a degree in commerce in 1952. He then joined the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1954, where he played supporting roles in various classic plays under the direction of Tyrone Guthrie.

    He moved to the United States in 1956 and began appearing in Broadway shows and television dramas. He made his film debut in The Brothers Karamazov (1958) and his first major TV role was in the series For the People (1965).

  3. Is William Shatner married and does he have children?

    William Shatner with first wife Gloria and daughter Melanie
    William Shatner with first wife Gloria and daughter Melanie. Picture: Getty

    William Shatner has been married four times:

    • Gloria Rand (1956–1969), a Canadian actress and the mother of his three daughters
    • Marcy Lafferty (1973–1996), the daughter of a television producer and an actress who appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
    • Nerine Kidd (1997–1999), a model and actress who tragically drowned in their pool.
    • Elizabeth Martin (2001–2020), a horse trainer whom he divorced in 2020

    He has three children from his first marriage to Gloria Rand: Leslie, Lisabeth, and Melanie.

    William Shatner with fourth wife Elizabeth in 2018
    William Shatner with fourth wife Elizabeth in 2018. Picture: Getty
    William Shatner with daughter Melanie in 2006
    William Shatner with daughter Melanie in 2006. Picture: Getty
    William Shatner with daughters Lisabeth and Leslie in 2008
    William Shatner with daughters Lisabeth and Leslie in 2008. Picture: Getty
  4. What are his most famous film and TV roles?

    William Shatner has had a long and diverse career in film and television, but some of his most famous roles are:

    • James T. Kirk in the Star Trek franchise, including six feature films and the original TV series
    • T.J. Hooker in the police drama T.J. Hooker (1982–1986)
    • Denny Crane in the legal comedy-drama Boston Legal (2004–2008), for which he won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award
    • Buck Murdock in the comedy film Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
    • Stan Fields in the comedy films Miss Congeniality (2000) and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005)
    • Kazar in the animated film The Wild (2006)
    • Santa Claus in the animated film Gotta Catch Santa Claus (2008)