So sorry, Ashton Kutcher: The biggest success of a Hollywood-Silicon Valley crossover may ultimately turn out to be William Shatner. A gossip item in the Toronto Sun cites "unofficial word on Wall Street" in claiming that the former "Star Trek" star's decade-plus stint as the poster boy for travel deals site Priceline.com has been worth $600 million. Shatner was originally paid in Priceline stock when he began his pitchman gig in 1997, and it's been doing rather well as of late.
To put things into perspective, with $600 million Shatner could probably buy about half of Twitter--and that's if you believe the higher end of the wacky Twitter valuation rumors.
Granted, whenever a celebrity gossip column attempts to foray into the world of Wall Street, it should be taken with a grain of salt. (Sort of like whenever a washed-up actor tries his luck at the tech industry.) The language of the Toronto Sun item is vague enough so that it implies Shatner's entire net worth may be $600 million, not just his stake in Priceline. While it may be true that he "could find no work and lived in a truck he'd park on the street in the San Fernando Valley" after "Star Trek" ended its run, he returned to acting-world success in recent years as part of the cast of TV drama "Boston Legal." He's also become a quirky entertainment-industry regular with late-night TV spots like a dramatic reading of Sarah Palin's Twitter posts.
He's also starring in a pilot for a TV show called "S*** My Dad Says" (backed by CNET parent company CBS), which is based on a popular Twitter feed (yes, really) of the same name. So, even if rumors of his Priceline cash-out have been exaggerated, Shatner can indeed probably chalk up much of his financial success to technology that has nothing to do with beaming anybody up.