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Where Are They Now: The Original Star Trek Cast

True to Spock’s words, the cast of “Star Trek: The Original Series” has lived a long prosperous life. Four of them still live to date, while those that died reached their seventies and eighties. We look back at the pivotal show and the original cast’s life, more than fifty years down the line.

Keep reading to find out what the cast of the original Star Trek has accomplished over the years.

Star Trek remains something of a cult classic that attracts so many fans around the world to date.

But some wonder what the classic cast members may be up to these days. Here is a look into the lives of the original Star Trek cast and their thoughts about their new counterparts in this movie series.

William Shatner as Captain Kirk

At 78, Capt. James T. Kirk has recently been featured on ABC’s Boston Legal as Denny Crane. He also hosts Shatner’s Raw Nerve talk show on Bio. His next project would be a feature on the documentary Gonzo Ballet, which is a dance performance for Ben Folds’ six songs.

gonzo-ballet
Gonzo Ballet

William Shatner has had one of the most illustrious careers after the Star Trek role. He says he still hopes to play a role in the new series, even admitting that he had to spend hours looking at his phone as he waited for a call from the director. Unfortunately, the film was open without him, meaning we might never see him again in the movie series.

Shatner has never shown signs of slowing down, though, in his late eighties. He has been featured in various Star Trek animated series and Star Trek Generations. Shatner also directed the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

After his role on Star Trek, Shatner has also starred on ’80s procedural T.J. Hooker and as a narrator for Rescue 91. His other popular roles have included hosting a pageant contest, Miss Congeniality, a role as Dennis Crane in The Practice, and two Emmys winning roles on Boston Legal. He also had a reality show, Better Late Than Never, in which he travels along with other stars worldwide to experience different cultures.

Shatner has also authored various fiction and non-fiction books. In 2016, he wrote a book about his friendship with Leonard Nimoy, Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man.

Shatner considers his role on Star Trek as an opportunity that opened many doors for him. He even reveals that he would not have made a career if not for Star Trek.

On his take on the newbie playing his role, Shatner considers Chris Pine a perfect replacement.

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy, who was featured as Mr. Spock, announced his retirement in 2003. However, he came back to feature in The Full Body Project, a 2008 book about his nude photography and the new Star Trek film.

His most recent appearance was on J.J. Abram’s Fox series, Fringe, in 2010. He was also featured in a photo exhibit at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts that year.

Nimoy reveals that he had to come out of his retirement to play a role in the Star Trek film after J.J. Abram’s intervention “reawakened” his passion.

Nimoy went strong and admitted that young people (cats) were still intimidated by his presence in the film. He also maintained a close relationship with his co-star, Shatner, due to their love for music. However, he often dismissed a suggestion for a duet with Shatner.

Nimoy acknowledged that his replacement (Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock) did an excellent job, despite going all out differently.

Nimoy passed away in 2015 at age 83.

Nichelle Nichols as Uhura

Nichol’s most recent work came in 2005 as a star for Are We There Yet? Another project includes a role on NBC’s Heroes. She also considered a role on This Bitter Earth alongside Richard Roundtree and Billy Dee Williams.

Nichols was one of the first black television stars without a menial job but occupied a power position. As Uhura, she collaborated with Shatner in what many think as the first interracial kiss on American T.V. history.

Nichols once resigned from Star Trek to focus on her singing career. However, Dr. Martin Luther King had to convince her to retain her role as the only black woman in a command position in the film at that time. She says she was motivated by Dr. King’s word and swore to stay for as long as it would take.

Nichols would later inspire other black achievers like Whoopi Goldberg, and other white women she admits had a different view on race after her role on Star Trek.

Her replacement, Zoe Saldana, also admitted to being inspired by playing Nichols’s role in the new film.

George Takei as Sulu

Takei has featured recurrently as Masi Oka’s father on Heroes and as Howard Stern’s SIRIUS Radio announcer. His recent work involves lobbying for the legalization of gay marriages.

Takei came public in 2005 as gay and has continued to advocate for gay marriages for years. He even married Brad Altman before the state of California illegalized same-sex marriage.

Takei has recently turned to social media as his next stage. His Facebook page has more than ten million followers, while his Twitter account has attracted more than three million followers.

Additionally, Takei continues to act, with his role in Kubo and the Two Strings and Mulan, being the most recent. He has also featured in Supah Ninjas while keeping his role as an activist for the human rights campaign.

Takei thinks Star Trek has been relevant for those years because of its core values, innovative, and bold nature.

He admits to mentoring his replacement, John Cho.

Walter Koenig as Chekov

Koenig has had a recurring role on Babylon Five, where he features as Bester. Other works include a voice actor in Star Trek video games, writing, producing, and co-starring in the indie sci-fi film InAlienable.

Chekov was scripted as a Russian. However, Koenig was American Born and based his accent on his parents’ (Russian immigrants in the USA) side. Koenig admitted in 2016 that he was considered for his role because he resembled teen idol Davy Jones. The director used him to attract young female viewers and even made him wear a Davy Jones-Esque wig for the first seven episodes of the series.

Koenig holds his involvement in Star Trek highly and has fond memories of the movie series and its casts. 

Koenig helped Anton Yelchin, his replacement, to adjust and adapt to his new role.

Deforest Kelley as Dr. McCoy and James Doohan as Scotty

Kelley passed away at age 79 in 1999, becoming the first of the original Star Trek cast to die. Doohan would be the second at age 85 in 2005.

Shatner admits that Kelley was a true reflection of a “gentleman and a good friend” who’d be counted on at any time.

Accordingly, Takei remembers Doohan as a “great buddy and an all-embracing person.”

Other stars

  • Majel Barrett (as Nurse Christine Chapel) died in 2008 at age 76
  • Grace Lee Whitney (as Yeoman Janice Rand) died in 2015 at age 85

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