Home Entertainment William Shatner Hid His Father’s Death To Finish Devil In The Dark

William Shatner Hid His Father’s Death To Finish Devil In The Dark


William Shatner’s father, Joe Shatner, was born in Romania in 1898 and died in Miami in 1967 at the age of 68. He was buried in his adoptive home in Montreal, Quebec, where the young William was born. The Shatner family was originally named Schattner, but the spelling was changed by Joe’s father, Wolf Schattner. Joe was survived by 12 siblings. 

William Shatner began acting in the early 1950s when he was in college. By the 1960s, he had moved to the United States to pursue a career. He landed the “Star Trek” gig in 1966, helping to invent Captain James T. Kirk, an indelible pop culture figure. Kirk was a bit stern, logical, and often very judicious; he’s not the reckless cowboy his pop reputation would have you believe. Shatner, it seems, needed to work through a cloud of sadness on “Devil,” as he had to leave the set to attend his father’s memorial.

Paskey recalled the shoot well, but couldn’t tell that Shatner was in mourning. In his own words:

“As soon as we wrapped with that show, Bill left. We came to find out that as he shot all day long, he was preparing to get on an airplane to go home — his father just passed away. No one knew until he was actually gone. And, y’know, that says a lot for the dedication of the man.”

Joseph Shatner didn’t live a public life; little information can be found about him on the internet. William Shatner, meanwhile, had three children who got to meet Joe before his death.

Given the breakneck pace of TV filming, William Shatner likely had to be back at work the next week to shoot more “Star Trek,” unable to pause to mourn. As Paskey noted, he was incredibly dedicated.

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