William Shatner had a rough time after Star Trek was first canceled.
When Star Trek was on the air in the 1960s, it was a cultural phenomenon, despite its early cancellation. A staunch and die-hard fan base, coupled with the advent of the “rerun” allowed Star Trek to return to prominence over a decade later but during the initial time after the cancellation, Trek star William Shatner was not having a good time.
Shatner, who played the original Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise was having a rough go of it in 1969. Shortly after the cancellation of his show, his marriage to his first wife Gloria was ending and it seemed like the events of everything were becoming a lot for him to bear.
Cue the 1969 Apollo moon landing. According to an interview with USA Today, Shatner wasn’t to happy that day.
"Q: On your new album, you discuss watching coverage of the historic 1969 Apollo moon landing one month after the “Star Trek” cancellation. How was that?Shatner: I had been to Cape Canaveral as Captain Kirk, with the red carpet treatment. I had signed something saying, “See you on the moon.” When our Star Trek ratings went up, they appropriated more money for the space program. So I felt a part of this. And there was Neil Armstrong, walking on the moon. This incredible moment for humanity.And I’m lying on a bed in an RV, looking through a window at the moon, watching this on a little four-inch black-and-white television set on my belly. I’m in a pasture on Long Island doing summer stock theater. I’m at a very low point watching this high point."
Things turned out alright for William Shatner after Star Trek ended
After the series ended, Shatner was able to get his life back together. He’d appear in a few films in the 70s before the return of Star Trek, first as an animated series and then a few years later to the big screen. That rejuvenated Shatner’s career and all of a sudden he’s back on television with T.J. Hooker, and eventually Rescue 911 as the series host. All the while making brand new Star Trek films.
He’d eventually wrap up his tenure as Kirk and go on to star in Boston Legal while trying to launch his own sci-fi series called TekWar.
Shatner’s been a guest-star in dozens if not hundreds of series by now and has become a successful spoken-word artist as well. All in all, things worked out ok for the original captain of the Enterprise.