As a fan of Star Trek, I appreciate William Shatner’s work, but his ego … well, that’s a different story. He has written a new autobiography called Up Till Now in which he explains, in part, some of the controversies with his co-stars from the series, which have been legendary. He appeared with Bill O’Reilly last night in a segment that suggests he hasn’t learned much at all:
Shatner wrote a book several years ago, Star Trek Memories, in which he recounts the feuds a little more honestly. Nichelle Nichols asked Shatner whether he wanted to hear why his fellow cast members despised him while researching that book, and he faithfully recorded her hurts and those of the other supposedly secondary characters (besides himself, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley). James Doohan refused to speak with him, and George Takei decided to focus on more pleasant memories, but the others confirmed Nichols’ complaints.
Perhaps O’Reilly rushed him through the segment, but it sounds like Shatner has decided to minimize those issues and blame immaturity on behalf of the Star Trek cast for their hurt feelings. As Shatner himself explained in his earlier book, the resentment came from Shatner’s constant whittling away at their screen time, arguing often to shunt them out of significant work on the series. It wasn’t an irrational issue, and for actors struggling to establish their careers, having lines taken away and getting cut out of scenes because the star wants more time doesn’t sound like a maturity issue — at least not on their part.
When Shatner tells O’Reilly that they despised him for no good reason, well …. Perhaps Shatner should see Galaxy Quest, which delivers a dead-on skewering of the long-rumored Trek dissension. In the movie, Tim Allen’s character finally grasps the damage he did. In real life, apparently, not so much.