To prepare for his hosting duties on the reality competition Stars on Mars, William Shatner took a stroll on the red planet. “They put me behind these reality goggles, and I virtually walked on Mars!” he tells Closer. “Everywhere I looked was the footage the Mars rover had taken. I could turn 360 degrees and see Mars all around me.”

In his long life, the actor, 92, has never shied away from new experiences. In addition to his hosting duties on Stars on Mars, he’s the subject of a new career-spanning documentary, You Can Call Me Bill. He also has a new album of music on the way (one of nearly a dozen Bill has released since 1968) and a hit series on the History Channel and Netflix, The UnXplained. “It may seem, given the things I’m doing, that there’s a plan, but there’s no plan. Things come and I think, ‘Oh, that’s interesting,’” he says. “If you feel that something is right for you, it’s worth exploring.”

Bravery and curiosity led Bill to accept a ride on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space shuttle in October 2021. But his more than four decades of experience playing a space explorer on the original Star Trek series and its film sequels did little to prepare him for the emotional impact of actually going into outer space. “I saw the incredible smallness of this planet,” says the actor, who wrote about his trip in the 2022 memoir Go Boldly: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder. “The air that allows us to live is paper-thin. My concern was for what’s happening to all these sacred things that took 4.5 billion years to form on Earth. I saw the devil in what we are doing to our planet.”


When he’s not advocating for the future of Earth, Bill likes to live in the present. He makes his primary home near Lexington, Kentucky, where he breeds horses. “It’s a whole other world, and one that I am recognized in. They don’t go, ‘There goes a Hollywood guy.’ I’m a horseman,” he explains.

It’s been a long life, but the four times-married actor insists he doesn’t waste his energy on the past. “The mistakes you make and all the things you did that you wish you hadn’t stick with you longer,” he admits. “But time is gunning for me.”

That’s why he’d rather enjoy the company of his family, ride his horses, or challenge himself with an adventure like Stars on Mars, which simulated the red planet’s harsh conditions in Australia. “I was there in Coober Pedy, 500 miles into the Outback,” Bill recalls. “You couldn’t spend a great deal of time outside because the flies attacked you. But the whole thing had a patina of really being on Mars! It was definitely intriguing.”