1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It's hard to believe that I was enjoying the original Star Trek series nearly 40 years ago and so this was a nostalgic book for me. Shatner is a good writer: one feels he is talking to the reader about his life; and what a life he's had full of highs and lows; tragedy and triumph. I hadn't realized what a varied acting career he's had. He's endearingly self-deprecating in describing himself and his work. Some of his anecdotes will have more resonance for an Amercian audience as I didn't recognize some of the shows/series he's been in, but this didn't spoil my enjoyment.
on 4 October 2010
William Shatner's latest autobiography has a vey quirky feel to it, and focuses mainly on his acting career. Born in Canada, young Bill decided he wanted to act, against his father's wishes, and as soon as possible headed to Broadway
under the promise that he would become a star.
The first third of the book covers the years before Star Trek, and Shatner describes in a very informal manner his formative years and his early acting life. He details a surprising number of stage and television performances. If you are looking for anecdotes about Shatner's time on Star Trek though you will be disappointed. These have already been covered in Shatner's previous works 'Memories' and 'Movie Memories'.
The middle section of the book I found hardest going. These were really the post-Trek years of the seventies. The final part picks up again. Shatner covers his tragic relationship with his third wife Nerine, and then demonstrates a real passion for his most recent role as Denny Crane in Boston Legal.
The one thing that irritated me was the feeling that the book was just an advertisement for Shatner's work, rather than a memoir about doing it. There is a running joke whereby Shatner tells the reader that things are available to buy from his website, but after being repeated in every chapter it gets a bit sickeningly shameless.
Overall it is an interesting read. The impression I get is mostly of honesty from Shatner and a sense that he is quite amazed by how well he has done out of his career. If you are a Shatner fan then it will probably be a must-read, but if you dislike him then you will probably find it a cheap sales pitch.
Just say yes to almost anything
I am interested in showbiz memoirs particularly if the person concerned seems to keep working when supposedly more talented contemporaries fall by the wayside. William Shatner seems to have had a very long career and is still working.
Some people call him wooden but weren't a lot of the Hollywood greats you just watched them to see them turn in their usual performance.
He did his time as a stage actor in Canada he says how he took over as understudy and he said that a stage actor needs a minimum of ten performances in front of an audience to understand the timing because of the response of the audience. Outsiders do not realise that it all requires practice to look good.
When agents started to notice him he was advised against taking on long running TV roles because he might be typecast as result he gave away some good parts. He was constantly being told he would be a star. The programme Star trek that eventually made his name was cancelled after a couple of series and then became a worldwide cult classic.
He asked Spencer Tracy a stupid question "Did you memorize all that."
"He just looked at me , that's all just looked at me and never spoke to me again."
He treated every job as important and as a result was always working
He described his career strategy is just say yes to almost anything. If doing coffee commercials was good enough for Edward G Robinson it was good enough for William Shatner. in the end he did everything including game shows.
Saying yes to possibilities has been the core of his career and is why he is still working.
A nice easy read and I learnt that the way forward is to keep working and not be too precious. It is amateurs who say " Oh I wouldn't do that for the money".
I laugh at people like that as nobody is usually asking them. A good romp and plenty of laughs underneath it all it is a sad story of his failed marriages but he has bounced back and inspiring story for such a "wooden" actor
on 22 February 2009
I had never read an autobiography. It had certainly never occurred to me to read Shatner's, I didn't know that he wrote!!!! (note: multiple exclamation marks mean it's a joke). I vaguely remember watching the odd Star Trek/TJ Hooker episode. I can't say that I am a fan of Shatner, but I did like the Trek films.
I caught him appearing on Jonathan Ross and was intrigued how he would handle it. What I got was a pleasant surprise, instead of some old "has been" (get it?) lamenting about his Star Trek days, he was actually pretty amusing. You know what? So is his book, the one he blatantly plugged and the one that I ordered on-line while watching him.
I like the writing style, it is vaguely chronological but there is a certain amount of jumping around. I like the fact that he can laugh at himself, be in on the joke as it were.
He blatantly plugs his work and his merchandising, sometimes in the middle of a story, and this is okay too. It's like having a story told to you by a real person, by-the-way I had chicken for dinner and it was great, don't you just love the smell of roasted chicken straight out of the oven? Anyway, you know, the sort of person that goes off at tangents before getting to the point.
Thankfully there is very little to do with Star Trek, so definitely not one for those Trekkies wanting to hear the off-camera gossip.
One of the most intimate parts of the book deals with his wife's alcoholism and accidental death. It is difficult to imagine how he came to terms with it and what the media were suggesting. It is these few pages that touched me most.
After reading Up Till Now I have a new found respect for the guy who played Kirk. Over the years, I didn't really "get" him and in particular his weird music, but I do now. In fact, he's the sort of fascinating bloke that I'd love to have a quiet chat with, about anything, it really wouldn't matter.
If you have any sort of passing interest in Shatner, however slight, you should read this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2009
What a odd bloke. Shatner is like some 'bonkers' uncle who has no shame and shows you up at parties. He's fun - but you wouldn't want to live with him. Some of the jokes here quickly wear out there welcome - the list of Star Trek merchandise that keeps popping up through the text being the main offender - but when he's delivering the (well-polished) anecdotes it's a great read and the tragic death of his wife is genuinely moving. But still - what an odd bloke... Oh and why is the paperback cover so rubbishy looking compared to the hardback?
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2008
One of the few books that make you laugh so hard it hurts. My partner is already fed up with me constantly quoting from it. Bill Shatner sends himself up brilliantly, and shows both humility and confidence in equal measure. Some may question his acting credentials (I don't), but I defy any 'acclaimed' actor to better this. Highly recommended.
on 27 March 2009
'Up Till Now' is a mighty tome which took me over a week to read, but William Shatner has packed so much into his life it's only to be expected.
Bill Shatner (and I feel he wouldn't mind me calling him Bill) has been acting and otherwise entertaining us for nearly 60 years now! He started acting professionally when he was 15 and is still going strong. He is driven by a strong work ethic, but more than that, a brilliant attitude towards life. This shines through in his autobiography.
The book has so many great stories and funny moments, along with an insight into how he coped with a great personal tragedy in his life.
He describes himself as an extremely lucky man and indeed, he has been fortunate in some respects. However, I think he is being overly modest. He has a strong work ethic and is willing to try just about everything once, including some really crazy stunts. Age hasn't withered this man's zest, curiosity and enthusiasm for life.
As for his acting skills, they have definitely improved with age. He is phenomenal on Boston Legal. I only hope I have a fraction of his energy left by the time I reach his age!
An excellent book which I would recommend to anyone who loves reading autobiographies. A highly satisfying read.
on 14 April 2010
Many people have many opinions about Bill Shatner( including the man himself)! There is no doubt that he has enjoyed an interesting and varied life, one filled with huge successes professionally, but also some notable failures. Whatever one may think of him as an actor, personality and human being, you can bet that Bill himself will have reflected on those same thoughts at some time also.
His love of life, women, horses and other things are openly and honestly explored in this autobiography, jointly written with David Fisher. The great thing about Bill is that he does not take himself too seriously and this infectious attitude to life has come through in many of the character roles that he has m,ade his own over the years, the most notable and recent example being Denny Crane in Boston Legal.
A really entertaining read, packed with fascinating insights in his colourful life, this is the kind of book which leaves feeling like one has known Bill intimately for a long time.
Highly recommended and thoroughly enjoyable.
Chris Paling, Author of 'The Adventures fo Rumble, Tumble and Titch
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2008
This is a very amusing, interesting, and joyous look of William Shatner's life.... and all in his own words (well, with a little help from co-writer David Fisher). Shatner's book starts - as they usually do - in his home country; Canada. He tells us about his Jewishness, his father's plans for him (which he rejected) and how he got into acting. Then taking an unconventional route towards America and onto his destiny as a star ship trooper. But before he boldly goes where no man has gone before he tells us about his naivety in the land of the green buck and being picked up by `lovely men', who he thought just wanted to be nice to him (and was taken aback by what they actually wanted from him). Gradually he gets jobs (small parts in plays etc), then TV work, appearing in such classics as the Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Man from U.N.C.L.E., Kung Fu and many other famous TV programmes, including successful films, and the mediocre ones (and some even worse than that) until he lands the job as a Star Ship captain (only because the original pilot choice Jeffrey Hunter couldn't make it). He tells us about the cancellation (after 3 seasons) of the Star Trek series in the 60's before moving on and leaving behind the science fiction programme that he thought was just another job for a jobbing actor. Until the Enterprise reverses thrusters, that is, and comes back into his life, thus making him an icon and the best loved and well known figure in TV and movie history. He talks about his ominous start with co-star Leonard Nimoy (Vulcan Spock) and eventual friendship. He talks about the bad feelings he had with some of the stars of the show, in particular James Montgomery Doohan (or Scotty). He tells us about his time playing an American Cop, where he played the title role as veteran police sergeant T.J. Hooker, from 1982 to 1986. He tells us about being a bestselling author, producer, director, and celebrity pitchman, most recently as the Representative for the Priceline.com travel website (which gets well promoted throughout his book). The awards he won, and didn't win. He describes his ex-wives; one of them he discovered dead at the bottom of their pool. The affect it had on him and how he learnt to moved on. He tells us about his brilliant ideas... which didn't always turn out so brilliant. He tells us about his life with his 3 daughters. He talks about the albums he made, while the world laughed on... but coming back to benefit him... thus getting the last laugh. He talks about his TV commercials and why he did them. His love for horses and how he met his current and fourth wife and much more.
Shatner learns that taking the mickey out of himself gave him a new direction in life after Star Trek. If this book has any faults then it is that he doesn't tell you enough (in my opinion) about his life as Captain James T Kirk; the name that made him world famous and put him up there with the legends of the TV and celluloid screen.
He currently co-stars as attorney Denny Crane on the television drama Boston Legal, for which he has won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. This is a truly remarkable life of a man who doesn't take himself seriously and benefiting from it. If you read this remarkable book I am sure you won't be disappointed.... I know I wasn't.
on 6 September 2009
Never bothered reading a showbiz biog before, but some of the reviews this got in the press piqued my interest. I'm glad they did - I had a passing interest in Mr Shatner at best - having watched a lot of star trek as a kid. He has been so much busier than just that though - his work rate is phenomenal, and by his own admission a lot of what he has ended up being busy with is, with the benefit of hindsight, incredibly ridiculous and ridiculously funny. This genuinely is a laugh out loud ride of a book, written with genuine warmth and humour. Nice that he doesn't shy away from the occasionally unpleasant side of life either - the struggles with his beloved wife Nerine and her demons is touchingly dealt with, and he faces up to his own tendency to self-absorption. All in all, massively entertaining - I suspect it may have spoilt me for other Biogs though! Cheers William!