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Updated: May 22, 2024

William Shatner was cast as Captain James T. Kirk for the second pilot of Star Trek, titled "Where No Man Has Gone Before". He was then contracted to play Kirk for the remainder of the show, and he sat in the captain's chair of the USS Enterprise from 1966 to 1969. During its original run on NBC, the series achieved only modest ratings, and it was cancelled after three seasons and seventy-nine episodes. Plato's Stepchildren, aired on November 22, 1968, earned Shatner a footnote in the history of American race relations: a kiss that Captain Kirk planted on the lips of Lieutenant Uhura ( Nichelle Nichols ) is often cited as the first example of a white man kissing a black woman on scripted television in the United States. In 1973, Shatner returned to the role of Kirk, albeit only in voice, in the animated Star Trek series, which ran for two seasons and twenty-two episodes.

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