The iconic television series “Star Trek: The Original Series” captivated audiences in the late 1960s and became a cultural phenomenon. But as time passed, fans began to wonder: what happened to the cast after the show ended? From William Shatner’s skyrocketing career to Leonard Nimoy’s continued presence in the sci-fi world, this article takes a closer look at the post-Star Trek lives of the beloved cast members, revealing fascinating stories of success, challenges, and unexpected turns.
William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk)
Post-Star Trek career in television and film
After his iconic role as Captain James T. Kirk in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” William Shatner continued to thrive in the world of television and film. He appeared in numerous television shows such as “T.J. Hooker” and “The Practice,” and had guest roles in popular series like “The Twilight Zone” and “Mission: Impossible.” Shatner also made a mark in the film industry, starring in movies like “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” “Airplane II: The Sequel,” and “Miss Congeniality.” His charisma and versatility allowed him to explore a wide range of roles, proving that he was more than just Captain Kirk.
Voice-over and cameo roles
In addition to his on-screen work, Shatner found success in the realm of voice-over and cameo roles. He lent his distinctive voice to iconic characters such as Two-Face in “Batman: The Animated Series” and Mayor Adam West in “Family Guy.” Shatner also made memorable cameo appearances in movies like “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” and “Fanboys,” embracing his status as a pop culture icon.
Author and directorial pursuits
Shatner’s creative talents extended beyond acting. He ventured into writing and released several books, including the best-selling “Star Trek Memories” and “TekWar” series. Furthermore, he explored his passion for directing, helming episodes of “T.J. Hooker” and the film “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.” Shatner’s ventures in authorship and directing allowed him to showcase his multifaceted abilities and continued to solidify his place in popular culture.
Success in other fields
Outside of the entertainment industry, Shatner found success in various fields. He became known for his equestrian pursuits and even won multiple national championships in horseback riding. Moreover, he embarked on a musical career, releasing albums such as “The Transformed Man” and “Has Been.” Shatner’s remarkable ability to excel in diverse endeavors has made him an enduring figure in the entertainment world.
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
Transition into directing
Following his iconic portrayal of Spock in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Leonard Nimoy transitioned into directing. He directed successful films like “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” showcasing his behind-the-camera talent. Nimoy’s directorial ventures allowed him to contribute to the “Star Trek” franchise in a different capacity, leaving a lasting impact on its cinematic universe.
Voice-over and stage work
Nimoy’s distinct voice and stage presence remained in demand after “Star Trek.” He lent his voice to characters like Galvatron in “Transformers: The Movie” and continued to showcase his talent for narration in documentaries and audiobooks. Nimoy also delved into stage work, performing in plays such as “Equus” and “Sherlock Holmes.”
Final reprisal of Spock and subsequent retirement
In 2009, Nimoy reprised his beloved role as Spock in the J.J. Abrams-directed reboot of “Star Trek.” This final portrayal captivated audiences once again, paying homage to his iconic character. Following his retirement from acting, Nimoy focused on his passion for photography, releasing a book titled “The Full Body Project” that celebrated body positivity. Sadly, Nimoy passed away in 2015, leaving behind a rich legacy and a permanent mark on the world of “Star Trek.”
Life after Star Trek and passing
Nimoy’s departure from the “Star Trek” franchise allowed him to explore various creative pursuits. He released albums like “The New World of Leonard Nimoy” and “Touch Me” and continued to engage fans through his social media presence. Nimoy’s passing was met with an outpouring of grief from fans and colleagues alike, highlighting the profound impact he had on both the “Star Trek” franchise and the entertainment industry as a whole.
DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy)
Retirement following Star Trek
DeForest Kelley’s portrayal of Dr. McCoy in “Star Trek: The Original Series” earned him a dedicated fan base and cemented his status as a beloved actor. Shortly after the series concluded, Kelley decided to retire from acting, choosing a quieter life away from the spotlight. He valued his privacy and cherished his time spent with his wife, Carolyn Dowling, whom he married in 1945.
Final public appearances
Although Kelley retreated from the public eye after retiring, he made occasional appearances to connect with his loyal fan base. He attended “Star Trek” conventions and made appearances in documentaries and nostalgic celebrations of the iconic series. Kelley’s presence at these events provided fans with a chance to meet the talented actor behind the beloved character of Dr. McCoy.
Legacy and passing
DeForest Kelley’s contributions to “Star Trek” and his portrayal of the irascible yet compassionate Dr. McCoy left an indelible mark on the series and its fan community. His passing in 1999 was mourned by fans worldwide, as his talent and warmth had endeared him to generations of viewers. Kelley’s legacy as Dr. McCoy continues to live on, reminding us of his exceptional acting prowess and the lasting impact of his character.
James Doohan (Scotty)
Post-Star Trek career
Following his role as Scotty in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” James Doohan found himself embraced by fans and forever associated with his iconic catchphrase, “Beam me up, Scotty.” He continued to find success on the convention circuit, delighting fans with his stories and camaraderie. Doohan also appeared in subsequent “Star Trek” films, reprising his role as Scotty and allowing new audiences to appreciate his portrayal of the beloved character.
Voice-over roles in animation and video games
Doohan’s distinct voice and talent for accents made him a sought-after voice actor in animation and video games. He lent his voice to characters in shows like “The Transformers” and “Captain Planet and the Planeteers,” as well as video games like “Star Trek: The Next Generation – A Final Unity” and “Star Trek: Klingon.” His contributions to these mediums introduced a new generation to his incredible vocal range.
Final years and passing
In the final years of his life, Doohan faced health challenges but remained steadfast in his commitment to his fans. Despite battling Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, he continued to attend conventions and engage with his admirers. James Doohan passed away in 2005, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be associated with engineering genius Scotty and the impact he had on the “Star Trek” franchise.
Nichelle Nichols (Uhura)
Activism and influence
Nichelle Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura in “Star Trek: The Original Series” broke barriers and inspired generations of viewers. As one of the first African-American women to hold a prominent role on television, Nichols became a trailblazer for diversity in media. Her character’s professionalism, intelligence, and grace were instrumental in challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity. Nichols’ on-screen influence translated into real-life activism, as she used her platform to advocate for social justice and advance the cause of equal rights.
Continued acting career
After “Star Trek,” Nichols continued her acting career in both film and television. She appeared in movies such as “Truck Turner” and “The Supernaturals,” showcasing her range as an actress. Additionally, Nichols made guest appearances on popular shows like “Heroes” and “The Young and the Restless,” captivating audiences with her undeniable talent and grace.
Music and book-writing ventures
In addition to her acting pursuits, Nichols explored her musical talents. She released an album titled “Down to Earth” and performed her own one-woman show, delighting audiences with her singing and storytelling skills. Nichols also indulged her passion for writing, penning her autobiography, “Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories,” which provided readers with insight into her groundbreaking career and personal experiences.
George Takei (Sulu)
Human rights activism
Since his portrayal of Sulu in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” George Takei has become an influential figure in advocating for human rights. Takei’s own experiences as a Japanese-American who was interned during World War II fueled his passion for activism. He has been vocal about issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, and government transparency. Harnessing his platform and popularity, Takei has become a powerful voice for positive change.
Success in various media
Takei’s enduring popularity has allowed him to achieve success in various forms of media. He appeared in movies such as “The Green Berets” and “Mulholland Drive,” and made notable guest appearances on television shows like “Heroes” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Takei’s wit and charm have also made him a beloved personality in the world of social media, where his humorous posts and insightful commentaries resonate with audiences worldwide.
Role in ‘Star Trek Continues’
George Takei’s commitment to the “Star Trek” franchise extended beyond his role as Sulu in the original series. He lent his voice to the fan-created web series “Star Trek Continues,” reprising his role and contributing to the continuation of the beloved saga. Takei’s involvement in this project reaffirmed his dedication to the “Star Trek” universe and solidified his status as a beloved ambassador for the franchise.
Walter Koenig (Chekov)
Writing and teaching careers
After his portrayal of Chekov in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Walter Koenig embarked on a diverse range of careers. He explored his passion for writing and authored several “Star Trek” novels, including “Chekov’s Enterprise” and “Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot.” Koenig’s love for storytelling extended to teaching, as he became an adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and taught classes on acting and screenwriting.
Continued roles in the sci-fi genre
Koenig’s association with the sci-fi genre continued beyond “Star Trek.” He appeared in shows like “Babylon 5” and “The Powers of Matthew Star,” showcasing his versatility as an actor within the genre. These roles provided Koenig with the opportunity to further expand his range and captivate audiences with his exceptional performances.
Role in ‘Star Trek: Renegades’
Koenig’s enduring connection to the “Star Trek” franchise led him to participate in the fan-produced series “Star Trek: Renegades.” He reprised his role as Chekov, joining a talented ensemble cast to continue the exploration of the “Star Trek” universe. Koenig’s involvement in this project allowed him to reconnect with fans and contribute to the ongoing legacy of the beloved series.
Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel)
Continued involvement in Star Trek franchise
Majel Barrett’s role as Nurse Chapel in “Star Trek: The Original Series” marked the beginning of her strong association with the “Star Trek” franchise. She continued to be involved in subsequent series and films, providing the voice of the ship’s computer in the various iterations of “Star Trek.” Barrett’s voice became synonymous with the franchise, lending an iconic and authoritative tone to the starship Enterprise.
Acting roles outside of Star Trek
Although Barrett’s affiliation with “Star Trek” defined a significant part of her acting career, she also ventured into other roles. She appeared in movies such as “Westworld” and “The Kid from Left Field,” showcasing her versatility as an actress. Barrett’s talent and dedication to her craft allowed her to leave a lasting impression on audiences beyond the realm of “Star Trek.”
Passing and legacy
Majel Barrett’s passing in 2008 marked the end of an era for “Star Trek” fans. Her captivating presence and contributions to the franchise will forever be remembered. Barrett’s legacy as the voice of the computer and her unwavering support of the “Star Trek” universe continue to be revered by fans, serving as a testament to her remarkable talent and enduring impact.
Gene Roddenberry (Creator)
Creating other popular series
Gene Roddenberry, the visionary creator of “Star Trek,” went on to create other notable series that captivated audiences. He produced shows like “Andromeda” and “Earth: Final Conflict,” each exploring unique concepts and pushing the boundaries of science fiction storytelling. Roddenberry’s ability to create captivating worlds and thought-provoking narratives solidified his status as a pioneer in the genre.
Involvement in subsequent Star Trek series
Roddenberry’s legacy in the “Star Trek” franchise continued beyond the original series. He remained involved in subsequent series like “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” ensuring the ongoing evolution and expansion of the beloved universe he had created. His insights and guidance played a crucial role in maintaining the franchise’s integrity and pushing the boundaries of storytelling.
Passing and posthumous recognition
Gene Roddenberry’s passing in 1991 marked the end of an era for fans and colleagues alike. His contributions to the world of science fiction and his exceptional storytelling abilities were honored through numerous posthumous awards and recognition. Roddenberry’s legacy as the creator of “Star Trek” and his impact on the genre continue to be celebrated, reminding us of his trailblazing spirit and enduring legacy.
Remaining alive cast members
Roles in subsequent Star Trek series and films
The surviving cast members of “Star Trek: The Original Series” continued to leave their mark on subsequent series and films within the franchise. They reprised their iconic roles in movies like “Star Trek: Generations” and “Star Trek: Insurrection,” thrilling fans with their timeless portrayals. Additionally, they made guest appearances in various series, including “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Voyager.” Their continued involvement kept the spirit of the original series alive and ensured that the characters they brought to life remained an integral part of “Star Trek.”
Other notable roles and awards
In addition to their contributions to “Star Trek,” the surviving cast members also found success in other notable roles. They appeared in films like “Miss Congeniality” and “Transformers,” proving their versatility as actors. These talented performers received accolades for their work, with several of them being honored with awards such as Emmys and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Their diverse range of performances continue to showcase their immense talent and influence within the industry.
Current careers and lives
The surviving cast members have continued to lead fulfilled lives beyond their “Star Trek” fame. Some have taken on philanthropic endeavors, championing causes close to their hearts. Others have embraced their roles as pop culture icons, participating in conventions and engaging with fans. Moreover, they have cherished their personal lives and enjoyed time with their families and loved ones. While their “Star Trek” roles remain an integral part of their legacies, their current careers and lives exemplify their resilience, versatility, and enduring popularity.
In conclusion, the cast of “Star Trek: The Original Series” embarked on diverse and successful ventures following their time aboard the starship Enterprise. From post-Star Trek careers in television and film to humanitarian endeavors and creative pursuits, these talented individuals left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry and continued to captivate audiences long after the series concluded. As we reflect on their respective journeys, it becomes evident that the enduring legacy of “Star Trek” is not just limited to the fictional universe it created, but also to the extraordinary talents that brought that universe to life.