With the hype surrounding the J J Abrams re-imaging of Star Trek, renewed interest has been focussed on the original and especially on the iconic self-promoter William Shatner, the most famous Trekker of them all, Captain James T. Kirk. His autobiography launched last year. Up Till Now has received renewed attention especially as Shatner doesn’t have any part to play in the new movie.
It is a rocketing good read about a man who is not easily embarrassed or phased in his quest for celebrity. An actor for almost sixty years, he started out as a stand-in understudy for Christopher Plummer in Shakespeare’s Henry V, had a blast as Kirk and twice re-invented himself on prime-time television as T J Hooker and Boston Legal.
He starred in the world’s first and probably only, all-Esperanto – language film and he had a hit LP called Has Been. His first big budget movie was The Brothers Karamazov with Lee J. Cobb, Claire Bloom, Richard Basehart and Yul Brenner back in the fifties. Shatner was the original Commander of the Enterprise. In the first pilot programme, Jeffrey Hunter played Captain Pike and the series was turned down by NBC. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, got a second chance at a pilot programme and as Junter wasn’t available, Shatner became James Tiberius Kirk for the Desilu Studios back in 1966 to explore new worlds… To boldly go where no man has gone before.
Shatner is a value for money celebrity and he tells it all, the tear in the eye, the ego in the limelight, his marriages, his wife’s tragic death in their swimming pool. He takes pleasure in debunking his fame, he is never embarrassed and was even shocked to find out his co-stars didn’t love him or his antics but like a Trekkie he survived – Up Till Now. Get it before it goes in the remaindered bin and boldly go back to the fifties and the beginning of celebrity television.