Go Away With … William Shatner

Shatner_DYWSP_0263_re.02_Credit is DIY Network_640w

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
October 21, 2014

We know William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk on “Star Trek,” as Sgt. Hooker on “T.J. Hooker” and as Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting’s money-savvy dad on the Priceline commercials. He has also performed spoken word renditions of songs by Queen and the Kinks. Now, the 83-year-old actor is ready to show you how handy — or unhandy — he is at renovating his California home on the DIY Network’s latest reality series, “The Shatner Project.”

“My house was built in the 1900s and was a hunting lodge for some important people in Los Angeles at the time,” Shatner says. “The last time I remodeled it was about 15 years ago, so it was ready for an update. My wife (Liz) took great joy in demonstrating how squeaky some of the handles and faucets were, so I was shamed into refurbishing our home.”

Q. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the road most traveled, how much have you traveled?

A. Eleven! I’ve traveled more than anyone I know. I love staying at my home, but when I get out on the road, I enjoy that immensely.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. One of the first was when I lived in Montreal, Canada, with my parents and we would go down in the summertime to the upstate New York beaches. Why, I don’t know. There was a beach that may not still exist that had a large slide that you would mount and slide into the ocean. That was a test of bravery to climb those stairs as a 5- or 6-year-old child. I climbed to the dizzying heights of 12 feet. I remember my father encouraging me and catching me at the bottom. That was my expectation for the rest of my life, that as I descended he would always be there to catch me. (Laughs.)

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I just came back from Australia. I did appearances in Brisbane and Sydney two weekends apart. During that intervening time, my wife and I went up to Frankland Islands by the Great Barrier Reef. We scuba-dived, snorkeled and used wave runners to have the most glorious five days ever.

Q. What destinations are on your travel bucket list?

A. I haven’t been to the near east. I’d like to go to Thailand and Singapore. I’d like to go to Tokyo and visit the religious cities in Japan. I would really enjoy that.

Q. Are you an adventurous eater when you travel?

A. I am. I’m a foodie and I like variety. I love Anthony Bourdain and think he has the right idea. He’s adventurous, drinks and swears a lot.

Q. Do you enjoy the street cart experience?

A. You know, the theory is that if you go eat at a street cart, you’re participating in the country’s culture and you’re becoming at one with the social milieu. That’s the theory. The practice is that you eat there and you have to stay in your hotel for a while! (Laughs.) There’s no telling what you can catch.

Q. Where would you travel to just for the food?

A. Anywhere that had good sushi. That would be my wish for a last meal, too.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Honestly, the last thing I want to do is get on a plane on a weekend. We ride horses a lot and compete. We’re really good at it and have a lot of horses here in California and in Kentucky, where we also have a home. So, we’re on horses pretty much any time we have free time. I think of that as a great weekend.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. I really like Sydney, Australia. I really love Montreal, Canada. I’m really fond of Los Angeles. Madrid, Spain, is beautiful. And I’m thinking of a little town in the south of France that I’ve never been to, but in my mind’s eye, it’s where I’d like to be.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. I need to shave ‘cause I don’t like the way my beard grows. So a really good razor and shaving cream that the airport people don’t take away from you.

Q. Do you get special treatment at the airport because you’re famous?

A. No! They always take my shaving cream, even though I bought it especially in the right size to bring in my carry-on. They pat me down harder. I’ve got a six pack and I’m very muscular and they can’t believe that I would be. (Laughs.)

Q. What’s the downside of traveling so much for work?

A. The lumpy mattresses. I wish I could get lots and lots of rest, but the mattresses are never good. So I end up at work exhausted. All these very expensive hotels think that the fluffier the bed, the better, and it’s not! A sore back for me is indigenous to traveling.

Q. What is your best vacation memory?

A. I’ve taken my family away every Christmas over the last several years to Hawaii. Watching my family grow up year after year and seeing them go from being afraid of the ocean to swimming like fish is a very pleasurable memory.


© 2014 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (14)

  1. Mike Kessler says:

    Oh no, my wife & I will trade-off our Sulu & Scotty voices.

  2. Heidi B. says:

    Loved it! Fun interview with Captain Kirk!

  3. Michael Messinger says:

    No questions about George Taikei wedding shun?

  4. LOIS GAIL says:


  5. don maurus says:

    Where in upstate New York is there a salt water beach? Either Mr. Shatner or Ms. Kim (or both) need a geography lesson.

    • Anabelle Meiers says:

      Beach snob, are we, Mr. Maurus? Have you ever been to Fair Haven? It’s really lovely. Next time you get up to New York, I’ll take you.

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