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William Shatner

William Shatner Biography

The crew of the Starship Enterprise no longer soars through the galaxy under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, but they continue to inhabit the airwaves on a number of pop and rock recordings. The Vulcan Mr. Spock, aka Leonard Nimoy, Lieutenant Uhura, aka Nichelle Nichols, and several others from the series' next generation of actors have released albums, and Kirk -- actually his alter ego, William Shatner -- is still commander of the pack. His spoken-word recordings of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" from The Transformed Man album in 1968 may be considered cla**ic camp, but Shatner's delivery of those and other numbers long remained in the public's consciousness. They helped make him a singing celebrity spokesman in televised advertisements three decades later, thanks to the fact that an advertising man in New York had held onto his copy of The Transformed Man all these years.br /br /Not everyone views Shatner's musical performances as solely camp. Beck paid tribute to Shatner's cover of "Rocket Man" in the video he shot for the single "Where It's At." Also, Shatner and Ben Folds traded musical favors, with Folds including the former Star Trek captain on one of his recordings, while the pop star agreed to appear in a television commercial with the singing Shatner. On the other hand, if people do see Shatner's performances as campy, they also view him with a degree of respect for daring to let it all hang out, vocal warts and all, and have fun with the music. If Captain Kirk knew how to crack a s**y grin from time to time, then Shatner surely knows how to laugh. He's not afraid to poke fun at himself or the roles he has played. br /br /Shatner's pipes also can be heard on William Shatner Live! (aka Captain of the Starship), a 1977 release from Imperial House Music. 20 years later, MCA issued Spaced Out! The Best of Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner. The recording combined cuts from Shatner's The Transformed Man with numbers from a pair of Nimoy's albums, Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space. In addition, beginning in the late '80s, Shatner was featured on the Rhino compilations Golden Throats: The Great Celebrity Sing Off, Golden Throats, Vol. 2: More Celebrity Rock Oddities, and Golden Throats 4: Celebrities Butcher the Beatles. The trend continued for more than a decade and included an appearance on Celebrities...At Their Worst in 1999.br /br /The Montreal native wanted to act since childhood, and during his youth, he worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Company. After leaving McGill University with a business degree, he worked as an a**istant manager of a regional theater. The business side of acting turned out to be less than an ideal fit for Shatner, and he turned instead to acting, taking up with the Canadian Repertory Company. With Sir Tyrone Guthrie at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, he appeared in Tamburlaine. Shatner went with the production to Broadway and soon received an offer from 20th Century Fox, which he declined. When Shatner settled in New York in 1956, he won parts in some of the era's best television productions, among them Studio One and Playhouse 90. In addition to acting, directing, and quasi-singing, Shatner is also a novelist. During the 1950s, he won the Theatre World Award and the Tyrone Guthrie Award. ~ Linda Seida, All Music Guide

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