Emmy Award winner, actor, author, producer, director, and singer William Shatner is set to make an appearance at this year's Comic Con Africa in September. Following his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek franchise, Shatner became a cultural icon admired by Trekkies worldwide.
Shatner’s Captain Kirk was charismatic, moral, just and headstrong, brave enough to save a planet under attack and charming enough to win over the most stubborn dissenters. Kirk stubbornly took matters into his own hands, often disobeying orders, but was an inspirational leader who pushed his crew, his ship and most of all, himself, to the limits of what they could accomplish. He was also something of a womaniser, and in line with Star Trek’s fight against the status quo of the time, he featured in one of television’s first interracial kisses.
Shatner's star power
The science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry only lasted for three seasons yet thanks in no small part to Shatner’s portrayal of Captain Kirk, the series did not die. In fact, the opposite happened. The show continued to live on in syndication and became even more popular. Star Trek became a Saturday morning cartoon that ran during the mid-1970s, and it was resurrected in a live action film in 1979. Returning to the role of Kirk, Shatner starred in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The film's warm reception by film-goers showed how much affection the public has for Shatner and the series. Shatner continues to lend his star power to pop culture to this day, and appeared in the final season of The Big Bang Theory.The show was also the benefactor of one of the most successful fan-organised letter-writing campaigns in TV history. 100,000 Trekkies wrote letters demanding the show to stay on air, and 200 students marched to show their support for the franchise which was retained for a further season.
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Shatner's early start
Before encountering all sorts of unusual aliens and challenging situations, Shatner started his career as a child performer in radio programmes for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and continued to pursue his acting career while he was a student at McGill University. Shatner made his film debut in 1958's The Brothers Karamazov with Yul Brynner. That same year, he returned to Broadway for a two-year run in The Secret Life of Suzie Wong and in 1959 won the Theatre World Award for his performance. After a few successful acting roles on the big and small screen, on 8 September 1966 he landed the role of Captain Kirk.He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of Star Trek, and has co-written several novels set in the Star Trek universe. He has also written a series of science fiction novels called TekWar that were adapted for television. For more information, go to www.comicconafrica.co.za, follow Comic Con Africa on Facebook, @ComicConAfrica on Twitter and @comicconafrica_official on Instagram.