185. Up Till Now by William Shatner
Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner with David Fisher
Pages: 342 + index
Finished: Oct. 20, 2009
First Published: May 13, 2008
Genre: memoir, actor
I was going to begin my autobiography this way: Call me ... Captain James T. Kirk or Sergeant T.J. Hooker or Denny Crane Denny Crane or Twilight Zone Passenger Bob Wilson or the Big Giant Head or Henry V or the Priceline Negotiator or ... Well, that's the problem, isn't it?
Reason for Reading: I love William Shatner and there was no doubt I'd be reading his autobiography! This also qualifies for the Canadian Reading Challenge.
Comments: William Shatner's autobiography covers his entire life from growing up in Montreal, Canada to virtually the present with his thoughts on not being invited to participate in the recent new Star Trek movie. His childhood is briefly summarized though his acting ventures as a child, in high school and university and then book focuses on his career as an actor starting with his days on the Canadian stage at the Stratford Festival and moving right along to his current role as Denny Crane. In between he has had a career with many ups and downs. Though never any really big downs as he is the type of actor who accepts work when he needs it. Thus he has done a lot of B-grade movies (and proud of it) and played character parts on hundreds of TV shows and every now and then he hits it big. So big in fact he has become an icon in the industry and love him or hate him, who doesn't know the name William Shatner?
I love Shatner's sense of humour! He is dry, witty and most importantly doesn't take himself seriously and plays that up to the media, who often take him seriously; reporting him that way and creating a false persona, "Bill Shatner". It's very funny to watch in real life when people actually take the guy seriously when he's acting his famous Bill Shatner character. Maybe it's a Canadian humour thing. He talks about these "pranks" and how he first told the media an outrageous made up story back in the early Star Trek days, of how it just popped into his head during an interview, he thought he was telling a joke but everyone actually believed him and so it all began. His humour shines through in the book, with pompous statements, one-liners and segues into commercials for priceline or promos for the book. It's quite hilarious.
There's also another side to Shatner though as he tells of his personal life. Such as his first two failed marriages and his faults as a husband that contributed to there demise; the tragic death of his third wife and the tumultuous marriage they had preceding that death; his thoughts and fears about growing old and realizing his own mortality is approaching; his thoughts on the negative opinions of his fellow Star Trek cast members (all except Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley).
The book is very satisfying covering everything you'd really expect to find in Shatner's biography. The one thing not present is long meanderings on Star Trek as that material is covered in his first memoir, Star Trek Memories, which I read when it came out and also enjoyed. He still has a few stories to tell, though, and talks about the conventions, movies and such. I felt as if he gave Star Trek just the right amount of space in this book seeing as he's already covered it in depth. I especially enjoyed his thoughts, and reminiscences on making Rescue 911, Invasion Iowa and Boston Legal. A very enjoyable read from an actor who is not-so-surprisingly a down to earth man at heart and a brilliant actor (and a bad singer, yes, he knows this!).
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