The ongoing feud between Star Trek’s William Shatner and George Takei was reignited yesterday on the Howard Stern radio show, with Takei talking about how in 2004 William Shatner refused to join him and other Star Trek cast members for the on-stage finale of James Doohan’s farewell convention. Details and audio below.
Takei on Shatner’s “monstrous” refusal to join Doohan for on-stage finale
The 2004 Planet XPo "Beam Me Up Scotty…One Last Time" tribute in Hollywood, CA, was the last convention appearance for the late James Doohan, Star Trek’s Scotty, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s and passed away in 2005. The con featured appearances from William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Grace Lee Whitney, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and other Trek and space celebrities. The event ended with most of the Star Trek stars joining a wheelchair-bound Doohan on stage for one final goodbye.
Grace Lee Whitney, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and Neil Armstrong join James Doohan on stage for finale of "Beam Me Up Scotty" Planet XPo tribute in 2004 (photo: Planet XPo)
Wednesday on the Howard Stern radio show, the Stern 100 News segment discussed a now-deleted 2004 blog entry from James Doohan’s son Chris Doohan, which stated that William Shatner refused to appear on stage with Doohan for "Beam Me Up" con finale. According to Doohan, Nimoy had to leave for another event. However, Doohan’s blog says William Shatner specifically refused to participate. According to the report, Shatner told the con organizer:
Shatner: I don’t want to do this and I really don’t want to deal with all this Alzheimer’s crap.
Star Trek’s George Takei, who is appearing all week on Stern’s show, confirmed that he was there when Shatner made this refusal, saying Bill’s comment was a "monstrous statement".
Takei also stated:
Takei: It was not surprising, but yes shocking… This is the usual thing that happens, on the set whether it was the TV series or the movies, or at conventions. This was another convention where he decided he was not going to do what they wanted him to do, and he walked out.
You can listen to the news report and exchange with Takei below.
According to Chris Doohan’s original Myspace blog entry from 2004, earlier in the day at the con, Shatner participated in a photo op with Doohan and other Star Trek cast members, and at that time Shatner told Doohan "he loved him", with James returning the comment, seemingly putting their long-time feud behind them.
Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, George Takei, William Shatner, and Leonard Nimoy join James Doohan for a press photo op at "Beam Me Up" Planet XPo Con in 2004 (Photo: Planet XPo via Chris Doohan’s Facebook)
TrekMovie reached out to Sky Conway, the head of PlanetXPo, to get his reaction to Takei’s comments. Conway replied via email:
Sky Conway: It’s true that Bill chose not to go on stage for the finale for personal reasons. Instead, one of Jimmy’s biggest fans went on in his place: Neal Armstrong..the first Man on the Moon.
At our show: “The Great Bird of the Galaxy” in El Paso Texas in November 2003, a celebration of Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek, Bill and Jimmy went on stage together. Behind the scenes and before they went on stage, they hugged each other, apologized and expressed their love and admiration for each other. Bill specifically asked me to get them together so he could make amends and clear the air between the two of them before it was too late.
During the Wednesday show, Howard Stern said that next time Shatner (who is a frequent guest) was on his show, he would ask him about this latest Star Trek cast controversy.
More info and photos from Doohan’s final con at PlanetXpo.com.