William Shatner says he ‘doesn't have long to live’ while reflecting on legacy

William Shatner says he ‘doesn't have long to live’ while reflecting on legacy

Legendary actor William Shatner is living each day like it’s his last.

The 91-year-old "Star Trek" captain spoke out about his mortality, as he prepares to release his documentary "You Can Call Me Bill."

"I’ve turned down a lot of offers to do documentaries before. But I don’t have long to live," Shatner revealed during an interview with Variety.


"Whether I keel over as I’m speaking to you or 10 years from now, my time is limited, so that’s very much a factor. I’ve got grandchildren. This documentary is a way of reaching out after I die."

William Shatner smiling at gala
91-year-old "Star Trek" captain William Shatner spoke out about his mortality, as he prepares to launch his documentary "You Can Call Me Bill."

"You Can Call Me Bill" gives fans an inside look at Shatner’s personal journey over nine decades, including highlights of his successful career.


When asked whether he learned something about himself in the film, he replied, "I’m trying to discover something I’ve never said before or to find a way to say something I’ve said before in a different way so I can explore that truth further."

"The sad thing is that the older a person gets the wiser they become and then they die with all that knowledge," he told the media outlet.

William Shatner Leonard Nimoy
William Shatner doesn’t regret some decisions he’s made in life, including not attending his "Star Trek" co-star Leonard Nimoy’s funeral.

The Canadian actor also revealed that "there is no legacy," and he doesn’t regret some decisions he’s made in life, including not attending his "Star Trek" co-star Leonard Nimoy’s funeral.

Shatner suggested that people are eventually forgotten after death, but noted "good deeds" live on.

"When Leonard Nimoy died a few years ago, his funeral was on a Sunday. His death was very sudden, and I had obligated myself to go to Mar-a-Lago for a Red Cross fundraiser. I was one of the celebrities raising money . . . I chose to keep my promise and go to Mar-a-Lago instead of the funeral," Shatner shared.


Leonard Nimoy Mr. Spock William Shatner Captain kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in "Star Trek."

He went on to explain the reason behind his decision to skip out on Nimoy’s funeral and what inspired him to create his documentary.

"People ask about a legacy. There’s no legacy. Statues are torn down. Graveyards are ransacked. Headstones are knocked over. No one remembers anyone. Who remembers Danny Kaye or Cary Grant? They were great stars. But they’re gone and no one cares. But what does live on, are good deeds. If you do a good deed, it reverberates to the end of time. It’s the butterfly effect thing."

Shatner, who’s best known for his role as James T. Kirk in the "Star Trek" franchise, received backlash at the time for not attending his co-star's funeral.

Nichelle Nichols starred as Lt. Uhura
Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in the television series "Star Trek," circa 1969.

"The Defenders" actor doesn’t regret his decision and added that he tries to avoid negative headlines.

"Who cares? I know what I did was right. So it doesn’t matter. We’re criticized when we lift a finger. I don’t read that stuff. I try to not . . . indulge in the evil that’s out there."

Ahead of his documentary release, Shatner additionally wrote a book, "Boldly Go: Reflections on a life of Awe and Wonder," published last year.

William Shatner in a blue Blue Origin suit and black baseball hat raises his hand to wave to the media after touching down from being in space
William Shatner was invited by Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to fly to space on Oct. 13, 2021.

Shatner detailed his life stories and the connection between earth and life’s fragility. He also penned his experience traveling to space aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin New Shepard vehicle in October 2021.

The "Star Trek" alum made history as he was the oldest person to travel to space.

However, after embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, Shatner confessed that the experience had brought him to tears.


Jeff Bezos talks with actor William Shatner after his trip to space
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos talks with William Shatner after Blue Origin's flight to space.

"When I came out of the spaceship I was crying, just sobbing, and I thought ‘why am I crying?’ . . . I’m in grief . . . I’m grieving about the world because I now know so much about what’s happening. I saw the Earth and its beauty and its destruction," he continued.

"It’s going extinct. Billions of years of evolution may vanish. It’s sacred, it’s holy, it’s life, and it’s gone. It’s beyond tragic. We stupid f---ing animals are destroying this gorgeous thing called the Earth. Doesn’t that make you angry? Don’t you want to do something about it?"

Shatner has had a decades-long career with hit shows, such as "T.J. Hooker" and "Boston Legal," along with the original "Star Trek" series and films.