Star Trek Star George Takei Done with "Cantankerous Old Man" Shatner

Though George Takei (Sulu) is getting to the point where he's done discussing William Shatner (Kirk) in interviews so as not to give him any more attention than he already gets, it's clear he's not quite at that point yet. In fact, Takei had a few more things to add about the "cantankerous old man" (his words) and how he was viewed by the cast. Speaking with The Guardian in support of his upcoming London run in the musical Allegiance (based on his personal experiences in the U.S. internment camps during WWII), Takei was asked if the closeness of the Star Trek cast on the screen reflected a closeness while filming. After a strong affirmative, Takei added, "Except for one, who was a prima donna" (alluding to Shatner). "But the rest of us shared a great camaraderie," the actor continued. "One of the gifts from Star Trek was not just longevity but colleagues that became lasting friends. My colleagues were part of my wedding party in 2008. Walter Koenig, who played Chekov, was my best man. We asked Nichelle [Nichols, communications officer Uhura] to be our matron of honour, but she said: 'I am not a matron! If Walter can be the best man, why can't I be the best lady?' So she became the best lady."

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Image: Columbo YouTube Screencap/Paramount+ Screencap (Star Trek)

Along with Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig, Takei also had kind words to share about Leonard Nimoy and James Doohan. But when it comes to any of them getting along with Shatner? "No, none of us." In fact, Takei has reached the point where he's shutting down the idea of even discussing Shatner in interviews. "I know he came to London to promote his book and talked about me wanting publicity by using his name. So I decided I don't need his name to get publicity. I have much more substantial subject matter that I want to get publicity for, so I'm not going to refer to Bill in this interview at all. Although I just did [laughs]. He's just a cantankerous old man, and I'm going to leave him to his devices. I'm not going to play his game." Asked a quick follow-up about how Shatner was as a younger actor, Takei added, "He was self-involved. He enjoyed being the center of attention. He wanted everyone to kowtow to him."

Earlier this month, Shatner spoke with The Times to promote his memoir Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder, and that's when the 91-year-old actor decided to take some shots. "Sixty years after some incident, they are still on that track. Don't you think that's a little weird? It's like a sickness. I began to understand that they were doing it for publicity," Shatner countered. And though he speaks broadly at times, it's clear that there's no love lost between him and Takei. "George [Takei] has never stopped blackening my name. These people are bitter and embittered," Shatner charged. "I have run out of patience with them. Why give credence to people consumed by envy and hate?"

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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