Takei: We all had problems with Shatner on the Star Trek set


George Takei is once again continuing his feud with William Shatner, this time in a sit down with Oprah. Watch the clip below. And in Out Magazine, George recalls a funny story from behind the scenes working on Star Trek.

Takei talks to Oprah about Shatner Feud

The Oprah Winfrey Network is teasing this Sunday’s episode of Where Are They Now, which will feature an interview with Star Trek’s George Takei. In the clip below, Takei continues to express his issues with William Shatner, saying…

We are still a family, and like all families we have our ‘problem uncle.’…We all had problems with Bill [Shatner] on the set. He was the star of the series and he knew it and he exercised those star powers.

Here is the clip:

You can watch the full episode Sunday, August 17 at 9PM on OWN.

Koenig Plays Wingman To Takei On TOS Set

Speaking of uncles, Out magazine has a new feature interview with Takei titled "The unlikely ascent of America’s gay uncle."  The article covers George’s new found fame on social media, his life-story and some Star Trek. Takei talks about how the cast were "cool" with his sexuality and he even recalled a fun story about how Koenig showed his openness…

[The cast would say] ‘Oh, George, OK,’ ” he mimics in a salacious tone. “They were very cool about it, but they knew.”

He remembers one morning staggering out from makeup and sipping coffee with Walter Koenig, who played Chekov in Star Trek, before heading into wardrobe. “Walter starts making this gesture, urging me to turn around, and I turn around and the extras were gathering, and there was this drop-dead gorgeous guy with the tight Starfleet uniform, great pectorals, and a chiseled face. My heart stopped. And then I turned around to look at Walter, and Walter [smiled]. He was helping me out, showing me this sensational, singular visual treat,” George says.


More from Takei at Out.com.

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Sorry George. Some names showed up in the opening credits. Others showed up in the end credits. If they showed up at all. Conventions and fanzines and novels may have elevated your character, but try and remember what you really were in 1966 and get over it.

George is such a great guy, but I wish he would drop the Shatner thing. It’s really painful to read sometimes.

I’ve been watching Mr. Takei complain about Mr. Shatner for a long long time now. Recently it has become embarrassing, to the point that even TV hosts like Conan O’Brien and Bill Maher have started to take note of it.

At one time I thought Mr. Takei to be a classy individual, a personal favorite of mine based upon meeting him in public. Sadly, he has just become a sad character constantly dragging his so called “feud” with Shatner into every interview and appearance. The really sad part of this is that he no longer needs to do this in order to generate press attention. He complains about having had to operate under the shadow of Shatner’s ego, yet constantly keeps himself firmly stuck under it. What a shame to see a man going into his golden years stuck on a decades old gripe that really only he bothers to continue to trumpet. It’s not just pathetic, it is painful to watch.

George is a good person, and has the fans in mind and at heart. He told me that even with all the issues the cast had with Wm. Shatner, he realized that Shatner made the show. I think the interviews media conduct with him are as much about keeping the fires of the issue fanned so there is conflict and controversy. George is well aware of the role he played in the 60s and we are aware of how that role grew, to have his character ascend to the captaincy too, but people don’t want to hear about how everything was sweetness and light–they want dirt and grime. I can’t think of a nicer person to know from the original cast.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before, where a Hollywood actor just carries on complaining about a former co-worker for years and years.

Usually, it’s like one interview where they finally unburden themselves after years of keeping a lid on their resentment. But Takei is the Energizer Bunny. Or like a candidate for public office who wants to get his message out to as many people as possible.

George…Will. You. Just. Let it go!

Or at least change your message in some way. Broaden the story to include new information, or talk about your efforts at reconciling with Shatner. At least try to reconcile with him. At least try to make your Shatner Complaints Tour constructive instead of this constant drip drip drip of the same, old, tired, intransigent whining.

Shatner was a bigger star than you on the show. He used his star power to get what he wanted, and you’re resentful about that and about you not being a bigger star. We get it! Message received! Loud and clear!

You go George! George is old now, and probably is at the “tell it like it is” phase of life. He keeps talking about it because he keeps getting asked about it.
I love this whole cast, but frankly Shatner acts like a tool at every signing or opening I’ve been to. He was signing his CD in LA a couple years ago, and didn’t even look up as fans walked by to get their cd signed. I had my 10 year old son say “hi” very direct to him, which did cause his gaze to come up long enough to say “how are you”? And someone snapped a pic. George Takei is an absolute gracious man, when I met him at comic con, he was totally engaged with his fans and talked with them, Nichelle is the same and so was Jimmy Doohan. Walter I think is somewhat shy in person,

Again !!!

George, this is getting so old now….leave it in the past and move on…………PLEASE!

I get the impression that the Shatner “feud” is done on purpose at this point. It’s good PR for Shatner, who, these days is far less of a relevant celebrity than his old colleague, Takei.

The problem is that George, not the press, drags Shatner and his 40 year old feud into every interview. During a particularly embarrassing appearance last year, a visibly uncomfortable Conan O’Brein pointed out to Takei that he “never misses a chance to attack” Shatner. This is a hint that maybe the person that is being diminished in all of this is Takei, not his old nemesis.

The fact of the matter is George is the person responsible for George’s choice to constantly, for decades now, bang his I don’t like Bill Shatner drum. We get it, we all get it. In fact host on TV shows get it too, and it is starting to wear thin and frankly tarnish an otherwise fine man and his reputation. At this point George has made complaining about Shatner part of his image. Whereas the other members of the cast, not so much. And really at this point, 40 years later, we have all heard George’s complaints, over and over. Seriously George, you are becoming an embarrassment with this ridiculous and largely one way “feud” of yours. Yes it kept you in the press for a long long long time, but now that you have had so much success on your own in recent years, maybe it is time to drop the classless whining about an old co-worker. After 40 years. ;)

Poor George. His sexuality and Shatner appear to define who he is now. He certainly doesn’t seem to have much else to talk about.

George, good grief man, are you going to die of old age screaming ‘Shatttttttttttttttttttner!’ (like that old lady from ‘Seinfeld’ screaming ‘Bosco’ before she croaked) or put ‘Damn you Shatner!’ on your tomb stone? Time to move on a long time ago. Think of all the good times, forgive and free yourself. Be positive, jealousy is for little children. All the Best.

I am so sick of this guy.

How much does he get paid to give interviews disparaging William Shatner? What a piece of work. He’s supposedly a gay rights activist and yet the most interesting thing anyone has to talk to him about his William Shatner?

I know what he’s doing. He’s positioning himself for one of two things – to be the defacto Star Trek spokesperson when Shatner passes or he’s setting up the inevitable “I forgive William Shatner” prime time live interview. It wouldnt surprise me at all if he’s made overtures to Shatner about appearing together for some sort of embrace.

Reading These Are The Voyagers, back then these actors were all pretty complimentary of Shatner. So during the TOS movie era, Takei is whining about being portrayed as a bit actor getting paid a salary commensurate with his position while the stars got the big bucks? Let’s be honest, without William Shatner, what does Takei’s bank account look like?

And how dare he speak on behalf of the entire case. Kelley is dead. Doohan (who admittingly had issues for whatever reason) is dead.

I would love for Shatner do get more Trek work and INSIST that the entire cast be involved EXCEPT Takei. Cause Lord knows, if Shatner wanted to, he could have had GT booted from the films and didnt.

Takai needs to go away. Or these interviewers should spend the big bucks and get the guy they clearly *really* want to talk to – William Shatner.

Maybe this feud business is getting to be too much, Geroge was not even at the Vegas Con a couple of weeks ago. This is surprising as he always goes to these things. I wonder if he or Creations had a some disagreement. You never know these days.

Aside from that, George is very kind to his fans and Trek fans in general. When my wife and I got to meet him at the Hilton Convention in Vegas back in 2006, he had a huge line of people for his autograph. We we finally got up to him to sign my photo of him, he spoke with us and engages us in conversation. I shook his hand and said “Warp speed Mr Sulu!” and he replied, “Aye, aye captain” My childhood dream come true ever since I first saw the show in the 60″s.

Can we copy and paste all of these comments in to his Facebook feed?

Aj – Shatner is far less relevant than Takei??? Are you kidding? The only thing Takei gets inteviewed about is Shatner. Shatner is, was and always will be a WAY bigger star than Takei and works a hell of a lot more than Takei.

Gee I wonder if GT expressed an interest in Shatner and was rebuffed. Because his “feud” is becoming really weird and screams bitter nutjob to me.

#15 yea I too read that Takei more relevant than Shatner comment.
I did laugh at it.

I guess this “feud” and the flag-waving are all he feels he has left to keep himself relevant to the public and media anymore. Kind of sad.

I agree with most of you so far – he seems like a nice guy, but time to let this Shatner thing go. Kirk was a main character, Sulu was a supporting character. Move along, George.

May have a point there, #15….

@15. TUP

Interesting point.

My own personal experience meeting the cast was very positive, with the exception of James Doohan. He was the only cast member I met that was brusque. He was very gruff both times I met him and I was a bit disappointed by that. However, back in my convention going days I always enjoyed George the most. He was personable and very open to fans and at that time (mid to late 80′) he was not indulging in the Shatner bashing that has so preoccupied him since. Which is why it is painful to watch what used to be my favorite and most “classy” of the cast, become something not very classy at all. It really is sad. I’ve just got to suspect that George and his handlers are aware of the growing sense of weariness from us long term fans and the public with the feud. I mean both Bill Maher and Conan O’Brien made comment on it this year.

George has managed to position himself to step out from Shatner’s shadow and the only person that keep dragging him back under it is George. It is honestly a very disturbing thing to watch, year after year, decade after decade.

Please George, enough is enough already. You come across as obsessed with Shatner, the constant insults and whining about him actually leave you coming across as the person with some “issues” you need to work out.

For the umpteenth time, Shatner WAS the star of the series. It was the 1960’s and that meant a series lived or died based on how devoted the audience was to its star. That Nimoy and Kelley shone and added to the Trek effect is a remarkable achievement. Read up on the history of Bonanza (my punching bag of 1960’s series because it got much better ratings but often managed to stink up the tube.) Check out how Guy Williams’ chance to become the fifth Cartwright got an arrow between the shoulder blades. Check David Canary’s rocky relationship with the series. THAT is TV as a business. Hell, look at what happened to Gates McFadden… then to Diana Muldaur. Bob Crane got one “Hilda” fired and another hired, because he was doin’ her. (They later married.) And don’t even get me started on GR’s relationships with his actresses. (plural) Do you think Shat was that bad by comparison??? I know Shat was tough, but he helped bring Trek to what it became… and still is. We love George Takei, but GT did not do that. Shatner (and Nimoy and Kelley) did. After 50 freakin’ years, TRY to understand why his ego was a vital part of all of it.

I work in TV news, which — trust me — has its share of oversized egos. At the end of the day, what matters is whether those egos are equal to the talent of the individual. I’ve been fortunate in that MOST of the time, it has been.

Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.

Let’s flip this back for a moment. If you’re a serious Star Trek fan, you probably know all of this already, backwards and forwards – you may even know someone connected to the franchise or storytelling.

But if you’re an “average” fan (what, 50% of the American public consider themselves fans?) it’s an area you probably don’t know as much about. This story is being produced for them, not for us.

It’s also an area that the media find interesting, and will ask questions about – because conflict often makes for great soundbytes, that imply a million things in just a sentence or two. I’m not Oprah – she’s interviewed thousands of people, but after I interviewed the first 100 or so people working in corporate video, I learned that the questions asked, and how they are asked, have a lot to do with eliciting the kind of response you want for your content.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Takei brought it up; almost certainly, she did. It would have been part of her research. It’s definitely an aspect that was covered in the new Takei documentary. And don’t make the mistake of assuming that because he responded to the question, that in the rest of his life he is constantly rehashing the experience over and over, based on this singular interview.

I do, however, suspect that the furor over the wedding invitation is probably a big deal to Takei because of what it meant to him on a personal, social, and political level. Ever read that website “Etiquette Hell”? It’s festering with people angry over various wedding related personal issues. Fact, my MIL is still complaining to relatives about what my husband and I did for our wedding over a decade ago – maybe we should take Takei at his word and consider this an extended family spat that will never be resolved, but an area that people will understandably be curious about.


Yeah, it’s been almost 50 years. Please let it go…

Shatner should’ve gotten Takei fired off TOS after a couple of eps. that way he could’ve avoided upsetting Takei for the next 50 years and Takei could’ve gone on to be the mega A list star he was clearly destined to become

George, these questions continue to come up because the interviewers know you’ll continue to whip the dead mule. So, if you just respond to them with ‘ancient history, nothing new here’ it’ll fade, those questions will stop coming, and you can be the agent of peace and harmony that your FB page keeps portraying you as, instead of a bitter old ass. Let it go….

I’ve enjoyed meeting you many times, but move on George. You’re still fretting over something that happened 45+ years ago. Shatner doesn’t seem to be losing any sleep over any of this and has maintained a successful career ever since. George’s popularity these days are mainly due to how outspoken he is.

@11 Can’t agree with you more

A play had the main character die in the last five minutes and a doctor came in to see him at the very end.

They asked the actor who played the doctor what the play was about and he said ‘it’s about a doctor who comes in’.

Yup. That’s George

George, let it go, it’s getting old and stale. Concentrate on things that are truly interesting about you and Star Trek.

This is getting a bit tired, but I suppose if people want to know about his Star Trek experience, and unpleasant interactions with a co-star seemed to him to be a fairly significant part of that experience, he can’t not talk about it. At this point, if he doesn’t bring it up, the interviewer will anyway, so he might as well head them off.

Walter Koenig was the same way when I saw him a couple years ago – the bitterness when he talked about Shatner was palpable. It was funny but kind of depressing.

Chalk me up as another tired of all this. Takei is a lovely man. Probably one of the most friendly and grounded of all the Trek actors I have encountered over the franchise. But this George is not reminiscent of that. A man who is experienced in publicity, social causes and even politics should long ago realise that the Shatner thing is flogging a dead horse. I am convinced that the only reason he carries on with it is for headlines so that he can then talk about the gay rights stuff he does. I think this is equally why his social media accounts are always posting jokes and memes, again to generate attention. But George needs to realise that you can’t go on milking the same cow forever. Sooner or later he is going to have to try and a new method of gaining attention to his campaigning or, as should now be the case, let that campaigning stand on it’s own two feet. Just banging on about a perceived 50 year old fued just looks very sad now, especially since it not longer achieves a reaction from Shatner himself.

George seems to completely forget that everyone — including Shatner — supported him returning as Sulu when he took off to be in the Green Berets movie with John Wayne and missed quite a few episodes. In most other television series of that era… you leave for a movie, and you’re not coming back nor welcomed back. We’d have had Hadley at the helm for the last season and a half.
George’s constant carping paid off in having Sulu in such a major role by Star Trek VI. Sure, we didn’t get the Excelsior series, but come on. Sulu played by Takei rode in to the rescue on the last full-cast TOS movie. What more wantest thou!?!?!

I’m getting sick of him rehashing this over and over.. let’s move on, George.. it’s over. He was the star.

George Takei comes off like an obnoxious high school student. Always taking the opportunity to bash William Shatner. Sure, Oprah might have asked the question, but Takei could have easily taken the high road and responded in a mature, smart manner.

Instead, Takei is proving once again his inferiority complex, insecurity, and jealousy. Shatner is the far more successful performer, with an Emmy and a Grammy to boot.

It is Shatner (along with Leonard Nimoy) who is the elder statesman of Star Trek, not Takei. Sulu isn’t nearly as revered as Kirk is, and without Shatner, Takei’s career would have ended decades ago and Sulu would would’ve become an obscurity.

Dear God, why do people continue to give this nobody a forum? He was a minor character on the show (his name didn’t even appear during the opening credits) and post Trek his career was all but invisible. His continued jabs just paint him in a bad light and undermine the causes he claims to represent.

Enough already! I never thought I’d be writing this but I wish he and his childish, petty, jealous complaints would just go away.

I’d give real money if he’s shut up about Shatner.

And not because I think he’s wrong. It just sounds like that’s all he talks about. Some of that’s the media’s fault, but I don’t see where there is anything that’s news about it at this point. It makes him look petty and as if he’s latching onto anything that gets him press. I think the subject is tired and played out. If I were George, I’d refuse to talk about it.

Give it a rest already.

I couldn’t help but notice your pain. Stop sharing it with me.

If Shatner is still allowed to cry about not being in any of the JJ Trek films, and Spock is still allowed to talk about how the Vulcan gesture came to be, and Nichelle is still allowed to talk about the importance of her meeting with MLK Jr. as well as the first interracial kiss, George can keep talking about the feud Bill started 50 years ago.

This situation has been going on for so long that all of it is categorized, annotated and available to watch through cringing eyes. I love both George and Bill, but George really is the problem here and has been for some time. He could very easily stipulate he is done bashing Shatner anytime he wants, or take the high road if interviewers ignore the stipulation. But he seemingly relishes attacking Shatner. For Shatner’s part he has ceased even replying to George anymore, following this:


That was six years ago, six years ago George! You don’t need the press that bad man! Show some class and act your age.

I am a big fan of George Takei but really the Shatner feud is getting old. Mr. Shatner was the star of the show, and consequently was in nearly every scene. Typically he’d have 40 or more pages of dialog to do per episode, compared to maybe 5 or 6 for most of the other actors on the series. Plus he had to do all the promo stuff for the series, give interviews, etc. Everything I’ve read indicates that Mr. Shatner really gave an A1 effort every single day – a total professional. So if the other actors have this feeling of “Shatner treated my badly!” well Boo Hoo – get over it! The guy had 8x to 10x the workload!! He simply didn’t have time to “be a pal,” stroke egos, or whatever it was they were looking for.

Yes, it’s old, but it’s what the media does. They keep asking George, so he’s going to tell them. He’s really not to blame except that he might consider saying next time, “you know, I’ve answered this question a million times over the years, let’s move on.”

24–hit it on the nail. These media types like Oprah, etc., ask Takei about Shatner because they know it will illicit a response and a sound byte. I’ve seen Takei at conventions numerous times over the decades and he never brings up the Shatner thing, but invariably someone in the audience will ask him about the Shat and then it starts.

The secondary cast of Star Trek and numerous guest stars have bad things to say about Shatner during the filming of Star Trek. Not all of them, but a majority.

That said, I’m a fan of Shatner and Takei. LL&P to both of them.

@ 24 & 44
Nobody in the audience or on stage at Late Night with Conan O’Brien asked Mr. Takei a question about Mr. Shatner. Yet he managed to drag him into the conversation about the new films and cast all on his own, complete with shots at Shatner’s weight. Which actually made O’Brien wince and he pointed out that George never misses a chance to bash Shatner.

The excuse that the press or someone will always ask about the feud is just that. It’s an excuse for poor behavior. George can stipulate through his press agent that he does not want to talk about Shatner anymore. And at 77 years old he is more than a big enough boy to not answer any question he does not want to. Of course he is now decades into a true “habit” which as noted by others has sadly become part of his shtick. Which is just regrettable.

I have also noticed that the Shatner jabs seem to be coming more and more frequently this last year. But then again, George has a new documentary that needed publicizing…….

Cripes… almost 50 years later and he still can’t let it go. Shatner has made very public attempts to apologize but this one just can’t grow up. Let it goooo.

George, if you are reading this, please note: we love Sulu and respect your life choice but get over the Shatner bashing. He was hired to be the STAR of the series. Did he get you kicked off the series or movies? No! So he may have been difficult at times, but there are NUMEROUS stories of behind the scenes cast feuds on TV. The 50th anniversary of Star Trek is coming soon. Time to make amends and prepare to celebrate the creation of a LEGENDARY FRANCHISE!!!

For crying out loud could someone print these comments and send them to old George — let it go sheesh

If George Takei were serious about letting go of this “feud” with William Shatner, he would surely request that questions about William Shatner not be asked by the interviewers. I believe other actors manage to make requests of a similar nature when it comes to topics that they would prefer not to discuss in public. However, it seems that George Takei has not availed himself of this opportunity.

Get help, George Takei. Surely this continued and rather obsessive antagonism toward how an actor apparently behaved nearly 40/50 years ago must bother your husband as well.

Not good. Not good at all…:(