The original Star Trek television series began in 1966 and lasted for three seasons. From those three seasons, several major motion picture films were created from the original series, which also used the original cast. In this article, we will explore what the actors and actresses have been up to since the cancellation of this very popular science-fiction TV series, such as William Shatner (Captain Kirk) and Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov).
Just for a refresher, the original cast of characters of Star Trek included Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner); Mr. Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy); Lt. Commander Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, M.D. (played by DeForest Kelley); Lt. Nyota Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols); Lt. Hikaru Sulu (played by George Takai); Ensign Pavel Chekov (played by Walter Koenig) and Lt. Commander Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott (played by James Doohan).
William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk)
If it weren’t for the fact that both Lloyd Bridges and Jeffrey Hunter (who held the role of Captain Pike in the original pilot) turned down the role of Captain Kirk, William Shatner would have never gone down in history as the first captain of the U.S.S. Starship Enterprise. This claim to fame is something that seems to follow Shatner wherever he goes. Most people easily recognize him as the charismatic intergalactic heartthrob of the original television series.
A little after the original TV series was cancelled, Shatner’s wife, Gloria Rand filed for divorce and left him with practically nothing. He was once living in a truck bed camper until he began to slowly land bit-parts, which soon turned into high-paying gigs.
Some people may have first encountered Shatner as an actor through Star Trek, but this was not his first appearance in front of the camera. Shatner first taste of acting came in 1951 when he played a crook in “The Butler’s Night Off.” Before Star Trek, he starred in various TV shows and movies, such as “77 Sunset Strip,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “Dr. Kildare.” Shatner’s last contribution to Star Trek actually came about 30 years after the cancellation of the original TV series. He did voice work for a Star Trek video game called “Star Trek: Generations.” Since then, he has appeared in several notable films and TV series, such as Miss Congeniality and Boston Public. He is also known for providing voices and narration for animated productions for children (Over the Hedge; The Wild; Osmosis Jones).
Did You Know? In 1983, Shatner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He also wrote Star Trek fiction novels. He sold his kidney stone to GoldenPalace.com for $25,000 for the Habitat for Humanity charity. He is also the main spokesman for Priceline.com.
Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov)
Koenig is the only original cast member of Star Trek that has yet to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but this has not affected his acting career any. Koenig landed the role on the TV series because executives hoped he would appeal to a younger audience. At that time, he resembled the popular Davy Jones (from the Monkees fame). Before landing his role on Star Trek, he appeared in many television shows, such as “Ben Casey,” Gidget,” I-Spy,” and “Mannix.”
Since the end of the original television series, Koenig has worn many different hats, such as director and writer. He also provides a ton of voice work for science-fiction related materials, such as the Star Trek video games. If the former Ensign Pavel Chekov looks familiar, you may also recognize him from the Babylon 5 television series, where he played bad guy, Alfred Bester.