William Shatner doesn’t know what happened between him and his beloved “Star Trek” co-star Leonard Nimoy.
The actor, who played notorious pointy-eared half-human, half-Vulcan officer Mr. Spock in the 1960s sci-fi series, died in 2015 at the age of 83. His son, Adam Nimoy, announced that the star died of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his home in Los Angeles with his family by his side.
Shatner, recognized by fans as Captain Kirk, recently wrote a book called “Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder.” In it, the actor candidly reflected on his decades-long friendship with Nimoy and how it seemingly turned sour.
Shatner admitted to Fox News Digital that he still doesn’t understand what was wrong.
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“Not knowing was part of the hurt,” the 91-year-old explained. “Leonard and I had known each other for 50 years. We were brothers. He was the brother I never had. And we were in each other’s domain again and again… We were really good friends. And then something… happened. I never But in the last six months of his life, he didn’t want to communicate with me. I wrote to him. [I told him] I liked it. And I knew he was very sick. He was dying.”
Shatner claimed that during the last months of Nimoy’s life, he did not return her calls. No reason was given, which made his loss all the more painful.
But a few years later, Nimoy’s daughter contacted Shatner.
“She must have known how pained I was,” Shatner said. “And she said, ‘You know, he loved you.’ And it made me feel a lot better.”
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In 2016, Shatner told The Hollywood Reporter that he wondered if Nimoy’s refusal to participate in a film he was directing caused the silence.
“I thought [Leonard] joked at first and treated it like a joke because sometimes he would fake it and say, “No, I’m not going to do that”, then say, “Yeah”, so that’s what I thought he did “But that time he really wanted to say no. … I just don’t know, and it’s sad, and it’s permanent. I don’t know why. he stopped talking to me.”
A year before his death, Nimoy took to Twitter and announced that he was suffering from a lung condition. Nimoy linked it to smoking, a habit he said he quit 30 years prior. In January 2015, a month before his death, Nimoy tweeted, “Don’t smoke. I did. Wish I never did.”
His last public statement on Twitter, made shortly before his death, was thoughtful, but bittersweet.
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“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be lived, but not kept, except in memory,” he wrote, followed by his usual “LLAP” signature — short for “Live long and prosper,” Spock’s catchphrase.
Shatner knows exactly what he would say to his pal if they sat down together today.
“Well, I wrote him a note, shortly before he died,” Shatner said. “I don’t think he read it. I never got a response from that heartfelt note, but I’ll tell him what I wrote in the note. ‘Hey, my God, you’re my friend “If I did something wrong, tell me because I love you. And I appreciate our friendship. Why don’t you tell me what I did? I won’t do it again.” That opportunity never existed, but that’s what I would tell him.”
More recently, the surviving cast of “Star Trek” suffered another devastating loss. Nichelle Nichols, who broke barriers for black women in Hollywood as communications officer Lt. Uhura, died in August this year. She was 89 years old.
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The original “Star Trek” premiered on NBC on September 8, 1966. Its multicultural, multiracial cast was creator Gene Roddenberry’s message to viewers that in the distant future – the 23rd century – human diversity would be fully embraced.
During the show’s third season, Shatner’s character Nichols and Kirk shared what was described as the first interracial kiss to air on an American television series. In the episode “Plato’s Stepchildren”, their characters, who have always enjoyed a platonic relationship, were coerced into kissing by aliens who controlled their actions.
Worried about the reaction of Southern TV viewers, the showrunners wanted to film a second take of the scene where the kiss happened off-screen. But Nichols said in her book, “Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories,” that she and Shatner deliberately missed the lines to force the use of the original take.
Despite concerns, the episode aired without blowback. In fact, it received the most “fan mail Paramount has ever received on ‘Star Trek’ for an episode,” Nichols said in a 2010 interview with the American Television Archive.
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Shatner said he still has fond memories of bringing that scene to life.
“Well, from my personal perspective, it’s overworked,” he explained. “There was this beautiful woman, and it was written that I kissed her. And so, I kissed her, and she was a beautiful… I enjoyed the experience very much. You kiss someone, and that’s great. We both enjoyed And then the Black and White spinoff – she’s a beautiful woman. She was a beautiful woman. And the fact that some Southern TV stations didn’t air this episode the first time – it’s different now.
“So yeah, if you’re involved in that world of, there’s been a step up there, I’m with you,” he shared. “But from my perspective, it was two actors having a great afternoon.”
Shatner had a successful career spanning decades with hit shows like “The Defenders,” “TJ Hooker” and “Boston Legal.” But in his book, he reflects on life and death. He also detailed his experience as the oldest man to ever travel to space at 90. This trip took place in 2021. The aerial adventure was made possible by billionaire Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company, Blue Origin. The founder of the Amazon Empire credits ‘Star Trek’ with sparking his interest in space travel.
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Although getting older doesn’t always make things easier, Shatner is determined to pursue his passions.
“My shoulders hurt,” he said. “I can’t run like I used to. I’m hesitant to scuba dive – I love scuba diving. I’ve been diving for many, many years in various places. [But] the last time i went scuba diving i was a bit out of breath. And that scared me. I don’t know if I can scuba dive anymore. So what can I do? Ride a horse and train in the pool. That’s what I do.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.