William Shatner

William Shatner

Shatner in 2010, photo by kathclick/Bigstock.com

Place of Birth: Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Date of Birth: March 22, 1931

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

William Shatner is a Canadian actor, author, producer, director, screenwriter, space tourist, and singer. He is known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek series, and for the films The Intruder (1962), Big Bad Mama (1974), and The Wild (2006), among others. He is the oldest person to go into space.

His father, Joseph Shatner, was born in Bukovina, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, of Ukrainian Jewish and Austrian Jewish descent. His mother, Ann (Garmaise), was born in Montréal, Québec, Canada, of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry. William was raised in a fairly religious, family, in Conservative Judaism.

William has three daughters with his former wife Gloria Rabinowitz/Rand, including actress Melanie Shatner; Melanie is married to actor Joel Gretsch. It appears that William is a fourth cousin of Canadian musician Leonard Cohen, through their shared Garmaise line.

William’s paternal grandfather was named Volf/Wolf Schattner/Shattner (the son of Avraham Yehuda Schattner/Shattner). Volf was a Jewish emigrant, from Kuty, Ukraine.

William’s paternal grandmother was Fruma/Frima Freyda Lecker (the daughter of Peysach/Pesach Lecker and Esteyr/Esther Gittle). Fruma was a Jewish emigrant, from Bukovina, which was, at the time of Fruma’s birth, c. 1859, an administrative division of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, and Austria–Hungary. Peysach was the son of Meier-Yitzchak/Yitzak Lecker and Shayna Rivka.

William’s maternal grandfather was Yaakov/Jacob J. Garmaise (the son of Avraham/Abraham Aharon/Aaron Garmaise and Esteyr/Esther/Ester Rachel Cohen/Barsdorfsky). Yaakov was a Jewish emigrant from Vilkaviškis, in Lithuania. Avraham was the son of Mordechai/Mordecai Garmeyze/Garmaise. Esteyr may have been from Romania.

William’s maternal grandmother was named Yetta Kahn (the daughter of Samuel Kahn). Yetta was a Jewish emigrant from Vilkaviškis, in Lithuania.

Star Trek Convention Binghamton William Shatner 2003

Shatner in 2006, photo credit: zaphodsotherhead

Sources: Genealogies of William Shatner – https://www.geni.com

Death records of William’s parents – https://www.findagrave.com

William’s maternal grandfather, Yaakov/Jacob J. Garmaise, on the 1901 Canadian Census – https://familysearch.org


Curious about ethnicity

9 Responses

  1. jonasbttencourt says:

    He’s fantastic, great shape for his age. His recent “adventure” was really inspiring… He is so incredibly sharp and funny at 90 years old. God bless this legend!

  2. mycarf123123 says:

    “faiirly Orthodox” Jewish family?

    Not exactly, according to this (Conservative Jewish it is): https://www.jweekly.com/2008/04/18/beam-me-up-moses-william-shatner-album-tells-exodus-story-in-spoken-word-so/

  3. andrew says:

    typo in the text: “He is well KNOWN…”

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