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Feature: Star Trek at 40

Continuing tales…

Happy Birthday Star Trek! Five television series and 10 movies (with another on the way) isn’t a bad way to notch up a 40-year franchise... To celebrate, Starburst chats to original series stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy

In the recent Starburst Special #77, we featured a very special interview with actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy – forever Captain Kirk and Mr Spock – to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek. They both have fond memories, not only of making the original series and the subsequent movies, but of the warmth of the fans that have followed their work. Here we continue that interview, with more from the much-loved intergalactic double-act.

Being closely identified with a television character can often damage an actor’s career. Performers like Henry Winkler, (Fonzie on Happy Days) or Peter Falk (Columbo) are forever tied to those roles. While Spock and Kirk have become indelibly drawn in the public’s memories, neither Shatner nor Nimoy resent the fact.

“I don’t have any regrets,” says the Canadian-born Shatner. “This character was a leading man. He ran and jumped and fought his way through a myriad of women that he bedded – yes, it’s true – and so to be typecast as that was not a terrible thing. It gave me celebrity so that subsequent work was enhanced because of the identification. I have never regretted being Captain Kirk.”

“I always considered myself a character actor,” says Nimoy “and I’ve always believed – and I’ve taught acting classes – and I always taught that the most successful thing that an actor can accomplish is to have an audience believe the character. If the audiences came to believe my performance as Spock, I found that flattering. That to me was a degree of success. The fact is, that from the moment that Star Trek went on the air in September 1966 to this very day, I’ve never had to worry about where my next job is coming from. This was a big change for me because for 15 years prior to that I was always, always worried about where my next job was coming from. So since September ’66 I’ve had no problem.”

by Luaine Lee

Read the first part of the interview in Special #77 and the full version of this part in
Starburst #342

Star Trek © Paramount
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #342
October 2006
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