He played Captain Kirk on "Star Trek," Denny Crane on "Boston Legal" and that guy who goes nuts when he sees a monster on a airplane wing on "The Twilight Zone." On Wednesday, William Shatner will play William Shatner at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.
"It's a show about saying 'yes' to life," Shatner said in a phone interview. "About the passions of life, about how easy it is to say 'no' to opportunities, new ideas, how risky 'yes' is, but how much more quality, how richer life becomes if you say 'yes'."
The show's called "Shatner's World." It's about his life and his career, but it's a theater piece, not a lecture. He opened it a Broadway and has toured the United States and Australia with the show to full houses and enthusiastic reviews.
"It's filled with laughter, and some tears and some observations," he said. "It's two hours of entertainment."
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At 84, Shatner still has the deep, rich voice that helped make him famous.
And even though he's done a lot of other work besides "Star Trek," both before and since, he still feels a connection to his role as James Tiberius Kirk.
"I embrace it, because I'm talking to you because of that, because of 'Star Trek'," he said. "Here I am 50 years later. 2016 is the 50th anniversary of the advent of the show, and you and I are still talking about it. Now, that's a show biz phenomenon. It has never happened before and if it ever happens again you and I will be long dead because it will be another 50 years. It's worth celebrating and crowing about, that I was a part of it."
Other than his stage show, Shatner's biggest current project is his upcoming book about his enduring friendship with his "Star Trek" co-star, the late Leonard Nimoy.
"The book is called 'Leonard' and I talk about how difficult it is for men to make friends," he said. "It's been my observation that men make friends with much more difficulty than women -- I don't know why, cultural probably -- and how valuable friendship is and how it needs to be sustained. Cultivated and sustained."
Show business friendships tend to be ephemeral, he said, but because of the enduring popularity of "Star Trek," he and Nimoy kept working together through the decades.
"I never had a friend like I had with Leonard" he said, "that deep, abiding brotherly love. And when it's gone, the memories that the two people had who shared those memories will begin to fade because you don't have validation. You can't say 'Remember when?' because you have no one to say that to. And then it becomes 'Did that really happen?' And all those experiences are lost."
You can hear an audio recording of the complete Shatner interview with this story at bradenton.com.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3, Mahaffey Theater, 401 First St. S., St. Petersburg. Tickets: $59.50-$79.50. Information: 727-892-5767, themahaffey.com.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.