Star Trek would not be the same without William Shatner’s portrayal of Captain Kirk, and the series turned him into a pop culture icon. He’s still active on the convention circuit and continues to work in Hollywood. He’s had a lengthy career outside of the Star Trek franchise, and fans also know him for his comedic chops, youthful disposition, and his long run at being the Priceline spokesperson. Learn about the beloved actor’s backstory, career, and net worth.
How Shatner got his start in the acting world
The Canada native has been into show business since he was a young child, where he first discovered his love for performing while doing radio programs. According to Biography.com, as Shatner got older, he jumped into theater and did stage plays, even after graduating from college with a business degree in 1952.
During the mid to late 1950s, Shatner made his debut on Broadway and got his feet wet by playing small roles in television shows. But he was in his first film in 1958, The Brothers Karamazov, with Yul Brenner. Between 1960 and 1965, Shatner was cast in movie roles and numerous TV series including Dr. Kildare, For the People, and The Defenders. And then in 1966, Star Trek came along.
For three seasons, Shatner brought the character of Captain James Kirk to life. Though the show was cancelled, it turned him into a cult figure and enabled him to reprise the role in multiple films years later. Recently, there have been murmurings that the 88-year-old could return to the part if Quentin Tarantino decides to do a Star Trek film.
Shatner is a songwriter and author too
Over the years, Shatner has been a busy man off screen. His foray into music includes a discography with 10 albums in several genres: spoken word, country, and rock. Some of these projects have been the topic of ridicule, but he’s not going to stop recording. After the release of his last country album in 2018, he told The Associated Press that he plans to do a blues album next.
Not only is Shatner an actor and musician, but he’s also an accomplished author. It’s hard to keep up with the number of books he’s written, but there are more than two dozen titles to his credit. He has a penchant for science fiction (just check out The Shatnerverse Series), but Shatner also penned several memoirs that include an autobiography and book about his friendship with Leonard Nimoy.
Priceline was a savvy move for William Shatner
One of the things people love about Shatner is his distinct delivery of his lines, which has been described as somewhat Shakespearean, monotone, and peppered with pauses. It’s made him stand out, and along with his sense of humor, grabbed attention when he landed the Priceline gig. Being the company’s spokesperson for 20 years proved to be a lucrative move for Shatner, but in spite of the rumors, he did NOT make $600 million from Priceline stock.
Shatner signed on with Priceline in 1998 in exchange for a few hundred dollars and some stock, according to Travel Weekly. He later sold his equity in the company before its share price soared above $1,000. But according to Priceline CEO Jeffery Boyd, Shatner is doing just fine.
Entertainment is where it is for Shatner
Shatner has openly shared that after Star Trek was cancelled, he was broke and living out of his RV trailer. He kept going and was able to land other shows and create an acting career that’s spanned more than 50 years. The Practice, Boston Legal, T.J. Hooker, and Star Trek are just a few of his gems. Shatner’s work in the entertainment field and his other ventures have helped him build his wealth. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his fortune is somewhere between $100 to $150 million.