William Shatner to Receive Legacy Award From Canada's Stratford Festival

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William Shatner

The "Star Trek" and "Boston Legal" star is being recognized for his classical stage roots during the 1950s.

TORONTO -- William Shatner was Gratiano in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew well before he became Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek and Denny Crane in Boston Legal.

That's why the Stratford Festival in Ontario will give Shatner its 2013 Legacy Award as part of a fundraising gala in October.

Shatner is only the third recipient of the festival tribute; the other two are Christopher Plummer and Maggie Smith. He was a member of the Stratford Festival company for three years from 1954.

That included Shatner going on as Plummer's understudy in the title role for Henry V in 1956.

It's also well before his other TV credits like Space Command, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, 77 Sunset Strip, The Outer Limits, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Dr. Kildare and Mork and Mindy.

More recent TV credits include The Practice, Shit May Dad Says and Hot in Cleveland.

Shatner will receive the Stratford Festival honor Oct. 21 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto.