About Entertainment

Why Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner Stopped Talking to One Another Years Before Nimoy’s Death

May 5, 2016  •  Post A Comment

When “Star Trek” icon Leonard Nimoy died a little more than a year ago, he and William Shatner hadn’t spoken in years, and new details reveal what may have been the cause of their falling-out.

“On the anniversary of Nimoy’s death, Shatner released ‘Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man,'” About Entertainment notes. “The book, co-written with David Fisher, details Nimoy’s life and Shatner’s relationship with Nimoy. In the book, he describes how they met, their struggling relationship, and the bonds they shared. But in the end, it also describes how Nimoy refused to speak to Shatner in the final years of his life.”

The report focuses on a Shatner interview about five years ago with The Daily Mail.

“In 2011, Shatner released a documentary called ‘The Captains,’ where he interviewed actors like Kate Mulgrew and Avery Brooks who played starship captains on the ‘Star Trek’ series,” the story reports. “Apparently, Shatner had asked Nimoy to make an appearance in the documentary. Nimoy refused. Despite that, Shatner’s cameraman filmed Nimoy secretly during a convention appearance to include as footage without Nimoy’s permission. There was never a final argument or blowout over it, but that seemed to have been the last straw. They never spoke again.”

leonard my fifty-year friendship-william shatner


  1. So, the reason their friendship ended was because Shatner used footage of Nimoy for a documentary without his permission. And now Shatner, in another attempt to cash-in on Nimoy’s name, has gone and written an entire book about him, and released it on the anniversary of his death. Anybody else wondering what Nimoy would have thought of this???

  2. Nick G. – I read the article and had composed my comment in my mind only to find you already wrote it! All I can add is that Nimoy was obviously right!

  3. The title of the “article” suggests THIS is why. We don’t actually know why, because only Nimoy knew why, and he never said.

    After a 45 year friendship, which Leonard Nimoy himself had referred to as being like a close brother, he simply shut Shatner out.

    The article also says “last straw,” as if there were other straws. What other straws? We have no information at all about what might have led to this…just the one incident, and we don’t even know that was what really caused the problem.

    Yes, it was probably inappropriate of Shatner to use candid footage without permission. But remember, too, Nimoy had been kind of a brat about being in the documentary because he felt he should have been an equal part, not just commentary. (Spock was a Captain, but not on a series….if you include Captains that were NOT Captains of a series, you also should include Sulu, for example.)

    So, despite this, Shatner writes an amazing, complimentary, loving book about who he considered to be his life’s best friend. He could have written yet another Trek book, and included a snotty anecdote about how Leonard froze him out in the final years, but he took the high road, and simply created a tribute.

    To anyone not seeing it that way, that’s your choice. It’s not a truth, it’s just your CHOICE to see the negatives. I’m going to see the positives. For someone who has been accused again and again of being an egomaniac, the public record actually describes a Shatner that is more than willing to make fun of himself, put himself in embarrassing situations, and quite open to discussing his own failings.

    • You are correct, Dave.

      • Shatner is a prima donna.
        He cares for no other. Look up why
        it took so long to get him on BBT.

    • Your so right dave. Thats no reason to end a relationship

    • You don’t know the other straws? There were plenty. Once during the production of the show, Shatner called in Roddenberry and demanded he say who was the star of the show in front of him and Nimoy. Roddenberry reluctantly said he was, which did not please Nimoy. Shatner was notorious for counting lines in the scripts, insisting that Spock should never have more lines than Kirk. He would keep hanging Nimoy’s bike up in the rafters of the soundstage as a joke, which did not please Nimoy at all because he used the bike to get around the studio. Lots more that you can find out with just a little research.

  4. Nick G and Reality Check, I am willing to be you have not read Shatner’s book. You should. Far from cashing in (and even ignoring that Shatner must have a lot of money and doesn’t really need book royalties) it’s a heartfelt tribute, and well worth your time.

  5. I believe there must be much more to this story than meets the eye.For either party to dissolve a 50 year friendship solely on the basis of a lack of permission to run some documentary film footage, would suggest a very thin friendship , over the many years.Any friendship that is relevant, should be able to withstand the omission made by Shatner.

    • It might have to do with the death of shanter’s wife that died in the pool. Which he didnt try to save her first. He called 911 instead. Nimoy was the best man. Im pretty sure that had something to do with their relationship to end.

  6. I think the stae track series was. great.Derrick from actor studio

  7. Leonard would take strong stands on principle. Bill knows this, and even includes examples in his book, but probably didn’t see it coming re. the film footage. I’m sure he regrets that, and did send a heartfelt apology to Leonard before his passing. I hope writing the book was healing for Bill. I appreciate how he shares his humanity, and his journey, so openly.

  8. maybe narsassism and ego? maybe nimoy was tired of dealing with drama at his age in life and wanted some boundaries kept which probably were not kept in terms of what he required from shatner…to make money off someone without there consent is kinda tacky and a bit low blow. if someone says “no” honour it or there will be consequences. that is life. grow up shatner. making a dime off your buddy is tasteless. its icky.

  9. Not to PO “Star Trek” fans but Shatner killed his wife, dumped her in a swimming pool, got away with it, and slept well that night in his feather bed. He’ll rot in hell.

    • Maybe. He didnt try to save her first. He call 911 first. He even question them about taking her out of the pool when they told him to do so.

  10. If you disagree, well.. you’re a completely moronic imbecile!

  11. Hollyweird libtards can get away with murder while the rest of humanity must deal with their garbage diatribe and misdealings. All that support Shatner beware. God is watching..

  12. William Shatner is a MURDERER!

    • It was said that she was drinking heavily and committed suicide. I’m not disagreeing with you because I have no proof, but I do agree that Shatner can be a jerk sometimes.

  13. Question: How do we know, that the film footage was the choice of William Shatner, and, not just the decision of his camera man? And, what is the PROOF, that it was a murder? This is an awfully wild ACCUSATION to make, without absolute proof. In our country, someone is innocent, until PROVEN guilty. It can’t just be someone’s OPINION!

    • Tina, I’d like to give Shatner a break, but while he may not have directed the cameraman to include Nimoy’s footage, he certainly–as the executive producer–decided whether or not to use that footage in the final cut. I think Nimoy might have found a way to forgive his friend; but, apparently, he wasn’t able to. At the beginning of the documentary, “The Captains,” Shatner plays a voice message from Nimoy in which he sounds very angry and says he doesn’t want to have anything to do with the documentary (this is before Shatner filmed him without his permission). At first, you laugh, thinking Nimoy is play-acting for comic effect; but then it becomes clear that Nimoy is serious. It would seem that in spite of cashing in by titling his second autobiography “I am Spock” (his first in the seventies was titled “I am not Spock”), Nimoy still had some ambivalent feelings about his identification with the iconic sci-fi character, or, at least, some competitive feelings about not having “top billing.” It’s a shame that Shatner didn’t respect his friend’s wishes and also a shame that Nimoy couldn’t find it in his heart to forgive a close friend.

  14. Hey Michael..whats your problem ? Why are you so abusive and obviously immature?
    You sound like some babyish goofball who uses rageful comments to express his inept confidence of himself. We were having a nice conversation about the two who were good friends at one time untill you jumped in with your adolescent, name calling. Btw get a grip on the English language. .

    Anyway, enough about Michael…

    Its always sad that two people were friends for so long and end up parting ways. With Leonard now gone, there is no way to possibly repair the friendship. I imagine that Shatner feels some guilt, pain and. definitely loss; perhaps part of the reason of him writing about the friendship? Shaftner’s heartfelt truthfulness in his book creates a sense of closure and passion of their onetime friendship!

  15. Today is the five year anniversary of Leonard Nimoy’s death. I still can not believe it has been five years. I cried like a baby when I found out. Spock was my favorite character in Star Trek and Nimoy seemed like such a genuinely nice person who was a really good actor and I loved the fact he was so multi-faceted who did many different things. He even wrote poetry, which I love to write. I would have loved to talk to him for a day. He would have been fascinating to listen to :):):)

    Anyway, I believe that Shatner was really sorry about what happened between him and Nimoy. Their friendship seemed so inspiring. They were like brothers. I read Shatner’s book about Mr Nimoy and it was so heartfealt. I definitely teared up at the end. I think what happened between these two was that Nimoy was getting sick at that time and did not want to let his good friend Shatner know. Mr Nimoy seemed like quite a private man about some things (not as private as De Forrest Kelly, who played Dr. McCoy in the original series) but Nimoy liked to try and have some balance in his life and family. He probably did not want to hurt Shatner. To this day I keep wondering what would have happened if they remained friends. I do think that Shatner became more mellow because of Nimoy.

  16. Nimoy helped Ken Berry (Captain on F Troop) go into acting. So cool! I loved F Troop as a kid.

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