Montreal, Canada's finest, William Shatner (1931-), otherwise known as Starfleet's intergalactic playboy, Captain James Tiberius Kirk, celebrates his birthday today.
Star Trek's illustrious leader, started his "five year mission" in September 1966 and is still going strong in DVDs and syndication. Today he writes lucrative science fiction novels and relishes his ongoing role as pop icon.
"I'd just like to say, 'Get a life, will you, people?!'" he said in a classic Saturday Night Live spoof that poked fun at fan convention mania. "It's JUST a television show!"
In 1999, Shatner wrote the autobiographical Get a Life!, as tribute to his devoted Trekker/Trekkie fans. With self-deprecating humor, Shatner confessed to a fear of flying and credited comic Kevin Pollack with doing the best Kirk imitation.
Shatner also revealed that those dramatic pauses in Kirk's irrepressible speeches were the result of him trying to remember his next line.
Writer Ernest Hemingway once observed, "As you get older, it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary."
The heroic adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek and Shatner have evolved over the years. The popularity of the series and star is based on science, drama, and heroic myth.
Shatner, as well as Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), became international stars and cultural icons.
"I think there is a need for the culture to have a myth, like the Greeks had. We don't have any. So I think people look to Star Trek to set up a leader and a hearty band of followers. It's Greek classical storytelling," Shatner explained to Time magazine in 1994. "All I wanted to do was come up with a good character."
Live long and prosper.