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Boston Legal

William Shatner

Denny Crane

William Shatner has been a steadily working actor for more than 50 years. He has maintained a strong cult following largely as a result of his memorable portrayal of Capt. James T. Kirk, erstwhile commander of the starship USS Enterprise. Shatner's Kirk is prone to dramatic soliloquies, pregnant pauses, and staccato diatribes that infuse the brainy show with a healthy dose of masculinity.

Shatner spent many years honing his craft in TV and live theater before his debut alongside Yul Brynner in The Brothers Karamazov. In the 1960s, he starred in films such as The Intruder and Judgment at Nuremberg. He had numerous TV guest-starring roles such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Defenders, The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone. In 1966 he was cast in Star Trek, the series eventually became a bona-fide cult classic.

After Star Trek ended, Shatner spent most of the 1970s guest-starring on many primetime TV shows, including Hawaii Five-O, Marcus Welby, M.D. and Ironside. The 1980s saw a major resurgence in Shatner's career with a series of big-budget Star Trek feature films. In addition, he starred in the cop series T.J. Hooker, as well as in the films Airplane II: The Sequel, Loaded Weapon 1 and Miss Congeniality. He also starred on ABC's Boston Legal from 2004 to 2008 in the role of Denny Crane. Shatner is the spokesperson for Priceline and participated in a series of commercials with fellow Star Trek alum Leonard Nimoy. In 2008, he began hosting a talk show called Shatner's Raw Nerve on the Biography Channel.

Character Bio

Staunch Republican Denny Crane is the founding partner of Crane, Poole and Schmidt, with a perfect record of any case he's directly chaired: 6,043-0. Though his glory days are behind him, Crane is still well respected by his community as well as by politicians and celebrities. This is largely what keeps the other partners from ousting the outspoken Crane, who has been known to have a dalliance or dozen with prostitutes (and was married and divorced nine times), says all the wrong things, and takes on all the wrong clients. But when push comes to shove, both co-partner Shirley Schmidt and senior associate Alan Shore have Denny's back. In fact, his daily ritual includes some serious "bromance" time with Alan, during which the two chat as they share a cigar and bourbon on the balcony. Crane suffers from dementia, and it has greatly affected his ability to be the lawyer he once was. As he puts it in one episode, "When God strips you of your talent, he should at least have the decency to strip away the memory of having had it."