Tuesday, May 4, 2010


LOS ANGELES — If anyone has noticed the soaring share price of Priceline.com, it’s an easy bet that Canadian actor William Shatner had something to do with it.

Unofficial word on Wall Street is that Shatner, who was initially paid in Priceline shares when he became pitchman for the Internet travel website startup in 1997, is now worth a cool $600 million.

No wonder he looked so happy singing a duet of Total Eclipse of the Heart on Lopez Tonight the other week.

Priceline’s shares, which at one point plummeted to $1.80 during the dot-com crisis in 2000, are now trading close to $300 apiece. And although the company won’t disclose how many shares (or salary) Shatner receives, it’s presumed to be plenty. After all, it’s Shatner’s personality driven ads for the website that has made it so popular.

As he approaches his eighth decade on the planet, Shatner has gone through more ups and downs than a freight elevator.

After starring in the iconic role of Captain Kirk on Star Trek in the late ’60s, he later could find no work and lived in a truck he’d park on the street in the San Fernando Valley area of L.A. He earned food and gas money by making party appearances.

The quirky Priceline ads — with a new and funny Shatner karate chopping, dancing, negotiating, etc. — put him back in the public consciousness (yes, Shatner can do more than play a starship captain and a cop on TJ Hooker) and he ended up winning the role of the quirky lawyer Denny Crane — and two Emmys — on the show Boston Legal.

While we’re not saying money buys happiness, we have to admit life seems better lived in a lush house on a California beach than in a truck parked near a shopping mall.

A goddamn genius, he is

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