Iconic Star Trek actor William Shatner celebrated his 84th birthday today.
Shatner, born in Montreal, Canada, on March 22, 1931, rose to fame in the late 1960s playing the role of Captain James T. Kirk on original Star Trek series. According to the Independent, Shatner never missed an episode of the TV show, and reprised his role as Captain Kirk in six popular feature films based on the series over the past 40 years.
Comic Book reports that Shatner also had a successful career after the Star Trek television series ended, taking on diverse roles in several movies and television programs such as a cop in T.J. Hooker, a sleazy lawyer in Boston Legal, and a crusty curmudgeon in $H*! My Dad Says.
In addition to his role in Star Trek, Shatner is well-known for being the face of the online discount travel agency, Priceline. For the past several years, his character, the suave “Priceline Negotiator,” has been the focus of their ad campaign. Shatner was recently joined in Priceline television commercials by Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Sweeting Cuoco in the role of the Negotiator’s daughter.
Fans have taken to social media to wish Shatner a happy birthday, and post some great pictures of his career.
— HappyLion’s Tweets (@HappyLionTweet) March 22, 2015
— Stefan Frommann (@StefanFrommann) March 22, 2015
Happy…….84th………birthday….. William…..Shatner. pic.twitter.com/g4fFf51SA0
— Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) March 22, 2015
Shatner also tried his hand at a music career, and in the 1960s and 1970s released several albums in which he usually spoke the words to popular songs to a background of music. His spoken word performances were criticized by serious musicians, and the target of many parodies. It is unclear if Shatner truly thought he had musical talent, or, as some thought, he was parodying himself, since the performances are similar to his Star Trek character’s overly dramatic and halting speech. In either case, his performances were, to say the least, unusual and entertaining, as evidenced by this 1978 rendition of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”
Shatner recently caused quite an uproar in the media when, according to this Inquisitr report, he did not attend the funeral of fellow Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy due to a previous charity engagement in Florida. He did, however, speak to Star Trek fans on Twitter on the day of the funeral, and shared memories of his long-time co-star.
[Images via Ethan Miller/Getty Images and The Museum of Classic Chicago Television/ YouTube]