The veteran actor shares what he has learned over a long life and a prosperous career.
By now, the voice of Shatner is as familiar on the page (Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man, 2016, etc.) as it is from the stage and screen. The questions remain: Is he serious? Or is he in on the joke? Can he really take himself so seriously? Or is he laughing all the way to the bank? “When somebody asks you what it is you are searching for in life, your answer better be passion,” he advises. Fair enough. But later, he elaborates, “mostly, though, I am passionate about continuing to be passionate. The pursuit of passions has influenced every aspect of my life. That has never wavered or changed: I am still in search of the perfect meatball!” Now, at 86, he writes (again) of how his Star Trek comrade Leonard Nimoy was the best friend he has ever had and how he still doesn’t understand why Nimoy refused to speak with him for years before his death. Likewise, “several members of the Star Trek cast have never forgiven me for things I didn’t even know I had done.” His better—or at least less complicated—relationships have come with dogs and horses, and apparently his most satisfying marriage has been to a woman he met through his passion for the latter. He claims that his secret for fulfillment has been, “say yes, yes to life,” and he claims that a working actor should never say no. Yet he recounts the time he declined an invitation to a party at the Kennedy compound (he never says why he was invited) and had to be persuaded to accept a role that had been written expressly for him on the TV series TJ Hooker. Though he suspects that his years are finite, he insists, “I never plan for death; rather, I plan for life.”
Thin on insight, but nobody plays a pompous windbag with more authority than Shatner.