‘Star Trek’ Star William Shatner Speaks Out On The Feud With Leonard Nimoy That Ended Their 50-Year Friendship

Star Trek wouldn’t have quite been the same without both William Shatner as Captain James Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. Much of the original series, as well as the Star Trek feature films, revolved around the friendship between those two characters and that friendship filtered off screen as well, even though rumors suggested that the two actors were little better than lifelong foes. Now, Mr. Shatner is coming forward with a new book that gives an inside look at the 50-year friendship that bonded Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, as well as the source of contention that ultimately ended that once-in-a-lifetime bond.

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man Is A Memoir Unlike Any Other

The new book by William Shatner explores his friendship with Mr. Nimoy, beginning with the early years of Star Trek, when the two actors started out as opponents competing for the adoration of fans and the spotlight on the Gene Roddenberry-run series. As they first began working together, Shatner recalls that Leonard came to Star Trek, after having had a much harder time making a name for himself than William. The former Star Trek captain says that instilled a fire in Nimoy that drove him to work harder and to seek out opportunities to prove himself.

Eventually, that fierceness rubbed against Shatner’s own ego, causing friction between the two actors that would spur rumors that the two men were mortal enemies for years. While William denies that this is true, he does acknowledge that he and Leonard were at odds for a time in the early days of Star Trek.

“… you know it was so long ago that I am forced to try and re-create what fireworks that might have been. I don’t remember any fireworks, I remember going to the producers and wondering whether they were going to change the thrust of the show as a result of the popularity of Spock. So my anxieties were never directed at Leonard per say, it was about ‘How was the show going to go?'”

The Feud That Leonard Nimoy Took To His Deathbed

Mr. Shatner talks of Nimoy as the only true friend he’d ever had and remarks that there were times he took that friendship for granted, which makes the destruction of their friendship that much more tragic. The cause of the feud that ended their friendship and lasted until Leonard passed away stems from a film project Shatner was working on, a project that William asked Nimoy to join. As the former Star Trek actor tells it, Leonard declined the invitation, though it seemed to Shatner that his lifelong friend was pulling his leg and had every intention of appearing in the film. As it turned out, that was not so and, while Leonard never gave a reason, it was from that point forward that Nimoy stopped speaking to Shatner.

“I just don’t know, and it is sad and it is permanent. I don’t know why he stopped talking to me.”

Shatner says that he feels saddened by their inability to resolve their issues, before the passing of his former friend. He adds that this new memoir is his way of reconciling that with himself and with any fans that might be interested, knowing that his life is also nearing an end. William wants to leave behind an account of the friendship and the feud that marked so much of their lives.

Critics have already condemned Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man for capitalizing on the death of Leonard Nimoy, suggesting that Mr. Shatner should have never written it. The Star Trek star disagrees, reminding such critics that his book comments on events he experienced firsthand.

“I don’t understand that. Why not? It happened to me. It didn’t happen to them. I have made many stories, anecdotes and dramatic readings of things that have happened to me.”

[Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]

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