Star Trek's William Shatner: "I Don't Have Long to Live"

Star Trek star William Shatner says that he doesn't "have long to live". Speaking with Variety about the new documentary You Can Call Me Bill, the 91-year-old actor explained that he chose to do the project after turning down other documentaries in the past in part because he knows that his lifespan is beginning to reach its limit and he wants to be able to "reach out" to his family via the project after he is gone.

"I've turned down a lot of offers to do documentaries before," Shatner said. "But I don't have long to live. Whether I keel over as I'm speaking to you or 10 years from now, my time is limited, so that's very much a factor. I've got grandchildren. This documentary is a way of reaching out after I die."

It sounds like Shatner's comments are simply a pragmatic approach to his age and the human experience rather than an impending concern about his health. He also had a similar approach to the idea of legacy, explaining that he doesn't feel there is such a thing as legacy, but that good deeds are what actually live on.

"When Leonard Nimoy died a few years ago, his funeral was on a Sunday. His death was very sudden, and I had obligated myself to go to Mar-a-Lago for a Red Cross fundraiser," Shatner said. "I was one of the celebrities raising money. That event was on a Saturday night. I chose to keep my promise to go to Mar-a-Lago instead of the funeral, and I said to the audience, 'People ask about a legacy. There is no legacy. Statues are torn down. Graveyards are ransacked. Headstones are knocked over. No one remembers anyone. Who remembers Danny Kay or Cary Grant? They were great stars. But they're gone and no one cares.' But what does live on are good deeds. If you do a good deed, it reverberates to the end of time. It's the butterfly effect thing. That's why I have done this film."

What is You Can Call Me Bill about?

You Can Call Me Bill is a documentary chronicling Shatner's life. The film is coming from Legion M and Exhibit A Pictures. The film is directed by Alexandre O. Philippe and premiered at SXSW.

"For years I've had people approaching me to do a documentary about my life, but I turned them all down because it didn't feel like the right fit. When I heard how Legion M wanted to incorporate audiences to be a part of it, it was perfect," Shatner said in a statement last year. "Fans have been responsible for my career — it only seems right that they should own this doc."

"I grew up watching Bill Shatner on a black-and-white television in Switzerland. My first memories of him are from Columbo and The Twilight Zone. He is a modern Renaissance man. Ubiquitous. Unavoidable," Philippe said in a statement. "This intimate film will illuminate little-known and rarely seen aspects of Bill's career and philosophy, and also reexamine some of his most iconic roles and cultural moments through a brand-new lens."

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