William Shatner Was Reportedly Jealous of ‘Star Trek’ Co-Star Leonard Nimoy

William Shatner is one of the most enduring television stars of all time. He’s best known for his work in the groundbreaking science fiction series Star Trek. Shatner, who lives a notoriously public life, is still a staple at fan conventions and award shows. He is well-known for his outspoken attitude and tendency to make off-the-cuff remarks. The actor engaged in numerous well-documented feuds on the set of Star Trek. Several reports document the deep jealousy William Shatner felt toward his Star Trek co-star, the esteemed Leonard Nimoy.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy worked together on ‘Star Trek’

william shatner leonard nimoy
American actor Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and Canadian actor William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk appear in a scene from ‘The Man Trap,’ the premiere episode of ‘Star Trek,’ which aired on September 8, 1966. | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Shatner was already an established presence in Hollywood when he was cast as Captain James T. Kirk in 1965. Star Trek made waves on television. It went on to become wildly popular with fans of all ages, spawning a media empire still going strong to this day. Shatner became closely intertwined with the role of Kirk. He continued to play the character for decades in various projects, with his final appearance in the 1994 movie Star Trek Generations.

Shatner worked with many talented actors on the set of Star Trek, including Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy portrayed Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan who helped Kirk run the Starship Enterprise with dignity and courage. While Nimoy’s character balanced out Shatner’s in the television show, behind the scenes there was some animosity between the two thespians.

Was William Shatner jealous of Leonard Nimoy?

Nimoy died in 2015. In the years since his death, there has been plenty of talk about the supposed feud between Shatner and Nimoy. According to The New York Post, Shatner and Nimoy weren’t on speaking terms in the five years leading up to Nimoy’s death. Reportedly, tensions between the two actors bubbled up on set due to Nimoy’s rigid devotion to the staid character of Spock. 

Conflicts over character development might have initially started the feud. But the Post details how Shatner eventually became jealous because Nimoy started receiving more fan mail than he did. They eventually went on to establish a tentative friendship, spending a lot of time together on convention circuits. But the publication notes that there was a very real undercurrent of hostility between the two, stemming from tensions formed on the set of Star Trek productions.

William Shatner recently slammed the modern ‘Star Trek’ franchise

Nimoy wasn’t the only Star Trek cast member that Shatner feuded with. The actor has infamously not gotten along with Star Trek castmate George Takei for decades. According to Uproxx, Takei has been open about his issues with Shatner, claiming that the two had beef for the entire original series run.

Shatner is known far and wide for his controversial opinions. And recently, the iconic actor made headlines due to his comments at San Diego Comic-Con. Reportedly, Shatner slammed the current state of the Star Trek franchise when he appeared as a speaker at the event. “I got to know (series creator) Gene Roddenberry in three years fairly well,” he said. “He’d be turning in his grave at some of this stuff.” Additionally, when asked what Star Trek series matched up with the original series, Shatner said flatly “none of them.”

In the days that followed, Roddenberry’s son spoke out to defend the current Star Trek projects. According to Fansided, Roddenberry said that his father would be “very proud of it. I think something that surprised me a bit is the uniqueness of each episode of Strange New Worlds. I’m impressed that they’re doing that.”

RELATED: William Shatner Once Revealed What ‘The Blacklist’ Star James Spader Refused to Do on Set: ‘He’d React With Horror’