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Up Till Now: The Autobiography Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 13, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 156 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 13, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Working with various collaborators, Shatner has previously written science fiction (the TekWar series) and science fact (I'm Working on That), and ventured into memoir with Star Trek Memories. Embarking on a full-scale autobiography, he begins with his Montreal childhood doing children's theater, then covers comedies with the Canadian National Repertory Theatre, lead roles with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and live TV in New York City in 1956: I became one of the busiest actors in the city. At that point Shatner opens a Pandora's box of self-deprecating humor and fascinating anecdotes about the hilarious goofs, on-camera accidents and stage fright during the live TV era. Obsessed with work, Shatner took any job that came his way, from dog shows to reality TV. Some of his tales are quite funny, such as doing an entire feature film, Incubus (1965), in Esperanto: No one understood their lines. Covering his multiple careers of acting, writing and directing, he never pulls his punches, describing humiliations as well as triumphs. Shatner's sincerity, honesty and heightened sense of humor all come across at warp speed in this entertaining memoir. (May 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—Today's teens may know Shatner from his role as Denny Crane in Boston Legal, or as the pitchman for Priceline.com, or as a character in several Brad Paisley music videos. They are probably also aware of his enduring role as Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek television show and movies. In this autobiography, he takes a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at his long acting career, starting with performing in the Montreal Children's Theatre, moving on to the Canadian Rep, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and, ultimately, just about every television drama that was on the air in the 1950s. Over the years, he clearly learned to laugh at himself, which makes this book an entertaining read as he talks about his career, his four wives, three daughters, horses, love of risk-taking, eternal quest for financial security, and lots of people, famous and otherwise, whom he met along the way. Although the narrative is roughly chronological, Shatner never hesitates to stop in the middle of one story to tell another, or to refer to something that happened much later. There is some repetition-he clearly has favorite stories-but his lighthearted approach makes readers willing to be indulgent of his vagaries and excesses.—Sarah Flowers, Santa Clara County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312372655
  • ASIN: B001UE71H0
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,873,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barry Pearl on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very enjoyable book, easy and fun to read and at times, I laughed out loud. There are also moments of great sadness. It is flawed only by Mr. Shatner's own interruptions that often destroy the flow of a good story.

The book traces Mr. Shatner's career in show business and the path to "make him a star." It is not an easy path. Even after getting several breaks, Mr. Shatner turns down a $500 a week, five-year contract with MGM and the role that Robert Reed got on the Defenders. He had hoped for something bigger and was always waiting for it.

Of course, it came with Star Trek, although it was a bit hard to realize at the time. One of the most interesting parts of the book is his insight and behind the scenes information on Leonard Nimoy. More than learning about their differences in the beginning, and later friendship, we discover the event that strained the relationship between Mr. Nimoy and Gene Roddenberry. We learn about Leonard Nimoy's alcoholism and how he struggled with it. This becomes even more important when we learn about Mr. Shatner third wife and her struggle with the same disease.

The book does not shy away for the animosity that many of the Star Trek regulars had towards him, why they did and how he addressed it. It also doesn't hide the fact of his long struggle to make money and keep it for him and his family. Star Trek does not at all monopolize the book but it is certainly always in the background as it will as be in his. It was refreshing to read his take on why the first ST movie was not a great one and how the company really messed up his attempt to direct ST 5. It was not what I had thought.
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Format: Hardcover
I really have little interest in celebrity biographies. I had little interest in William Shatner, save for his hilarious sendup in a Brad Paisley music video. But I saw this voume and figured it was worth skimming at least.

Actually it is extremely interesting. I am presuming Shatner's co-author had a lot to do with the style, but it is Shatner as a person that shines through.

It's a surprisingly good book about an actor's life, how so very much of that kind of life is dependent entirely upon random fortune, luck - good and bad. Shatner had been a working actor for years, essentially steadily employed, but not famous. Captain Kirk was his breakout role - and in that he freely admits to being a second fiddle, especially in the beginning, to Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock character.

Kirk gave Shatner more freedom than ever to be Shatner, a man open to experiment, taking serious roles as well as spoofing himself and everything in between. Since I am not actually a Shatner fan, I was really surprised at just how much work Shatner has done.

There are many memorable scenes and highlights in this book. One that really sticks in my memory is Shatner's explanations for why he works so much, aside from the need to satisfy his creative urges. The first stemmed from a tour of the late Edward G. Robinson's renowned gallery of French Impressionists. This was at a time when "real" actors did not lower themselves to doing television commercials. In a discussion about actors and commercials, Robinson waves his hand at his very valuable and very expensive collection of paintings and asks Shatner how he thought Robinson could afford them. Point well made.
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I just finished reading Up Till Now and feel inclined to comment. I enjoyed the book enormously, but have some minor complaints. For the last dozen years I've taught literature and composition at the college level, so I'm used to carefully examining what I read in terms of style and usage.

The tone of this book is quite different than Bill's previous autobiographical works. This is presumably due to co-writer David Fisher's approach and prose style differing from Chris Kreski's. The earlier books presented a consistent, if somewhat workmanlike, organization and textual style while Up Till Now is more inconsistent and less linear. Like most celebrity memoirs, it appears the book was compiled from Bill's recorded anecdotal ruminations and numerous sections are presented verbatim in a voice that sounds much like Bill's. Fisher's approach was likely to organize the material and provide bridging prose to logically link the anecdotes. Kreski seemed to collate the memories and render the material in his own version of Bill's voice. Along with editorial tinkering, the different approach would account for the fluctuations of tone in the new book. The informational arrangement is somewhat chronological, mitigated by attempts to also arrange the material thematically. This is always an awkward strategy and I've never seen it done with complete success. Someone also had the lamentable idea of frequently interrupting Bill's many interesting stories with trivial asides and jovial sales pitches for [...]. While we all know Bill as a marvelous pitchman, this technique quickly becomes irksome when frequently repeated on the printed page. Perhaps it will be more effective in the audiobook version.
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