I developed a crush on William Shatner the moment he and I started chatting.
“William Shatner?” you’re thinking. “You’ve got to be kidding!” you shriek.
I kid you not. I’ve watched maybe 2.5 episodes of Star Trek my whole life, and although one of my sisters was once an executive at Priceline, I never had much interest in Mr. Shatner. Actually, I never had any interest in him.
But when I received a call from a woman named Vanessa, asking if I’d be willing to come to California to be interviewed by Bill for a book he was doing, called Hire Yourself (coming out Spring 2014), I was game. Vanessa had discovered faboverfifty.com and, after reading how I launched the site in my 60s, she thought my story would make good material for the project. Hire Yourself, she told me, would be an inspirational book for people over 55 who are out of work or want to leave their jobs to launch their own businesses. (Bill, himself, launched a second career when he was older than I.)
My California accommodations weren’t especially glamorous (Burbank is not Beverly Hills) and the studio where the interview was filmed (do people still use the word filmed?) was really basic and dingy, but the room immediately lit up when Bill walked in to introduce himself to me and to a coffee entrepreneur from Hawaii.
Bill appears taller than his 5’10”, maybe because he’s got such a big personality. He speaks beautifully (he was trained as a classical Shakespearian actor in Canada, from where he hails). He doesn’t have that “I’m-a-star” demeanor.
And he’s just plain smart and passionate, I discovered during our hour-long conversation, which covered subjects such as what makes entrepreneurs successful as well as my personal career path.
A sharp interviewer (I speak from experience, since I’ve been a journalist for 45 years and have interviewed hundreds of people), Bill came well prepared, since he knew a lot about me. He’s also seems pretty insightful about human nature, a trait I don’t usually attribute to celebrities. And he’s got a keen sense of humor. (“Did you have to do anything special with your boss to get ahead in the 80s?” he asked me.)
The hour flew by and I could have gone on far longer, but the video crew and editor were anxious to move on to the next interview. As we walked out of the room, I told Bill, “Too bad you’re married,” happily, apparently, to his 4th wife, “Otherwise, I would have asked you to marry me.”
“I’d have taken you up on that,” Bill joked.
I wasn’t kidding. Maybe I’ll see him again at the book launch.