We were so much alike and had so much in common, says William Shatner about Leonard Nimoy

Actor William Shatner details his friendship with Star Trek comrade Leonard Nimoy in his new book, Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man.

Leonard Nimoy, left, and William Shatner, attend the 19th Annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show in Hollywood in 2009. Photo by Phamous Fotos / BuzzFoto / FilmMagic / Getty Images
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The walls and shelves inside William Shatner’s office are covered with exactly the kinds of memorabilia you would expect from someone who has been in showbiz for more than 50 years.

There are framed awards, artworks, posters for Montreal sports teams and covers of the books he has written – the latest of which is dedicated to perhaps his greatest rival as pop-culture icon.

In his latest memoir, Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man, Shatner details his relationship with Star Trek comrade Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock to his Captain Kirk and died a year ago.

When asked about one image in particular – a photograph of Shatner and Nimoy with their late Star Trek co-star DeForest Kelley, who played Dr Leonard "Bones" McCoy and died in 1999 – he has no recollection of where or when the picture was taken. However, he is struck by their body language. Shatner and Nimoy are smiling together off to one side, while Kelley appears more serious, away from the duo.

“I suppose Leonard and I were closer than we were letting on even there,” Shatner says, his eyes gleaming like he had just discovered a strange, new alien world.

Why did you want to write a book about your relationship with Nimoy?

It marks the period at end of this long paragraph of our lives together. I thought I needed to say this for myself, but it may be of interest to other people.

Why do you think you and Nimoy were so close?

We were so much alike and had so much in common – both in our personal and professional history – that we were able to speak on terms that we both understood. I never had that before. [He was] a brother I never had. That’s how he and I referred to each other.

How difficult was it to revisit your relationship? There were highs and lows.

It was very difficult to be entirely honest with myself. I think sugar­coating was a possibility – and I didn’t want to do that. This is the truth, as I see it. I’m not going to be around for a great deal more time, and [the book] will hopefully define, if someone is interested, what these two actors felt.

At the end of his life, Nimoy and you weren’t on speaking terms. How do you feel about not having any closure?

I feel a great deal of sadness. Here was this great friend who had a problem with me, and I don’t know what the problem is – no matter what I tried to do. Leonard had done that more than once with other people. It was his means of protecting himself, in some manner. I don’t know what it was. It’ll remain a mystery.