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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Eight reasons why we love birthday boy William Shatner

The Star Trek legend boldly goes into his 81st year today…

CONGRATULATIONS WILLIAM SHATNER, aka Captain Kirk, aka TJ Hooker, aka Canadian Bill, for reaching your 80th birthday.

To celebrate, has come up with eight reasons why we love Bill – one for every decade he’s been with us on Planet Earth:

1. For boldly going… Shatner doesn’t mind that his famous role is four decades behind him. He was happy to update his famous Star Trek monologue to provide a wake-up call for astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery:

2. For telling Trekkies to get a life: On the other hand, Shatner has no problem taking the mick out of his cult following – here he is telling Trekkies to “get a life” on a Saturday Night Live skit:

3. For speaking Esperanto: Not many people know this but Shatner starred in the 1965 Gothic horror film Incubus, the second feature-length movie ever made with all dialogue in Esperanto. It sounds a bit like Klingon.

4. For being good friends with Spock in real life: They were partners in space – and it turns out they were pals in life, minus the pointy ear prosthetics. Spock actor Leonard Nimoy and Shatner were born just four days apart, according to this Mind Meld documentary, and have remained close since their 1960s on-screen partnership:

5. For selling a kidney stone for $75,000: Shatner managed to create at least two other memorable TV characters since Star Trek – as police sarge TJ Hooker and lawyer Denny Crane on Boston Legal. He fell ill on the set of the latter show in 2006 and – there’s no nice way of saying this – passed a kidney stone. He then sold it for $75,000, donating the money to a Habitat for Humanity building in Louisiana.

6. For being Canadian: Born in Montreal, Shatner recorded this ode to who he really is: “I. AM. CANADIAN.”

7. For his work in highlighting alcoholism: Shatner found his third wife Nerine Kidd-Shatner’s body in their swimming pool on an August night in 1999. A coroner ruled that she drowned accidentally after the post-mortem found she had a cocktail of alcohol and Valium in her system. in his 2008 autobiography, Up Till Now, Shatner wrote about how Nerine went to rehab three times and almost drank herself to death twice.

Shatner supports Friendly House, a charity that helps women regain their lives after beating drug and alcohol addiction.

8. For perfecting the ‘spoken word’ album: For a man with the most-recognised voiceover in the world, it was probably inevitable that Shatner should devote an album or two to his voice.

He first dabbled with the spoken word album in 1968 with ‘The Transformed Man’, but it’s his collaboration with the brilliant Ben Folds – for ‘Has Been’ in 2004 – that leaves us a little dewy-eyed. It contains his amusing version of Pulp’s Common People, but we are more tickled by his Ideal Woman:

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