Book Reviews



Publication date: May 13.

William Shatner’s “Up Till Now: The Autobiography” offers engaging recollections of an unrepentant ham actor who, by dint of a self-aware sense of humor, eagerness to please and sheer dogged persistence has earned the deep affection of legions of fans and cemented his status as one of the most recognized celebrities on the planet.

All the above qualities are fully evident in Shatner’s irreverent, amusing memoir that leavens the expected silliness with startlingly candid and emotional passages about his chronic loneliness and the tragic drowning death of his wife Nerine.

An undercurrent of sadness runs just beneath the surface of his whimsical anecdotes, revealing a man deeply anxious about financial security -- which goes some distance toward excusing his apparently irresistible urge to plug his Web site and its memorabilia store -- and strangely disconnected from his peers. (He was unaware of his “Star Trek” shipmates’ antipathy toward him until years after the show ended.)

Shatner’s donkeylike work ethic resulted in an uncommonly rich and eventful career encompassing the golden age of classic television drama; countless roles on nearly every dramatic series of the 1960s and ‘70s; innumerable game shows, documentaries, commercials and specials; and ridiculously terrible movies like “Incubus,” infamous for its all-Esperanto dialogue.

A late-in-life hot streak brought him an Emmy and Golden Globe for the slick dramedy “Boston Legal,” but the continuing global phenomenon of “Star Trek” will always be the most notable job on his resume. Shatner has funny and surprising things to say about it all, dishing on co-stars and marveling at a history that includes working with the likes of Spencer Tracy in “Judgment at Nuremberg” one day, a nude scene with Angie Dickinson in “Big Bad Mama” the next. Also included: Accounts of bow hunting for bears, ill-advised paragliding and a puzzling defense of his epically bemusing spoken-word album, “The Transformed Man.”

By William Shatner. Dunne/St. Martin’s.
368 pages; $25.95