William Shatner Admits 'I Don't Have Long to Live'

William Shatner has opened up about his life and career in a new interview, but the most jarring part of the conversation is when the legendary star says he doesn't "have long to live." The Star Trek actor recently sat down for a virtual interview with Variety to discuss his new documentary, You Can Call Me Bill. The film recounts Shatner's most acclaimed moments throughout his many decades in Hollywood.

When asked why he wanted to do the new project, Shatner replied, "I've turned down a lot of offers to do documentaries before. But I don't have long to live. Whether I keel over as I'm speaking to you or 10 years from now, my time is limited, so that's very much a factor. I've got grandchildren. This documentary is a way of reaching out after I die."

The iconic actor then offered some thoughts on what he learned while working on the new movie. "Time and time again, I've come across some interesting thought or idea," Shatner said. "That can be because of a thoughtful interviewer sparking something in me. In the movie, I didn't just want to go on about I did this or that when I was 7 or this is my favorite color. I'm trying to discover something I've never said before or to find a way to say something I've said before in a different way, so I can explore that truth further. I read all the time – newspapers and books. I'm feeding my mind."

He continued, "The sad thing is that the older a person gets the wiser they become and then they die with all that knowledge. And it's gone. It's not like I'm going to take my ideas or my clothing with me. Today, there's a person going through some of my clothes in order to donate or sell them, because what am I going to do with all these suits that I've got? What am I going to do with all these thoughts? What am I going to do with 90 years of observations? The moths of extinction will eat my brain as they will my clothing and it will all disappear."

Additionally, Shatner also addressed his controversial decision to skip Star Trek castmate Leonard Nimoy's funeral when he died in 2015. "His funeral was on a Sunday. His death was very sudden," Shatner said, "and I had obligated myself to go to Mar-a-Lago for a Red Cross fundraiser. I was one of the celebrities raising money. That event was on Saturday night."

The actor added, "I chose to keep my promise and go to Mar-a-Lago instead of the funeral, and I said to the audience, "People ask about a legacy. There's no legacy. Statues are torn down. Graveyards are ransacked. Headstones are knocked over. No one remembers anyone. Who remembers Danny Kaye or Cary Grant? They were great stars. But they're gone and no one cares." But what does live on are good deeds. If you do a good deed, it reverberates to the end of time. It's the butterfly effect thing. That's why I have done this film."