Bill Shatner was born March 22, 1931, in Montreal, Quebec.
His first break was actually in The Brothers Karamazov in 1958, a testament to his acting ability. Star Trek is where he gained fame and recognition (aside from an episode or two of The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone). When Star Trek was cancelled in 1969, Shatner did little, aside from projects related to Star Trek. In 1973, he provided voice in Star Trek: The Animated Series. He acted in a series called The Barbary Coast, only to move back to Trek again in 1979, with Star Trek: The Motion Picture. After ST: TMP, Shatner became famous again for a rather impressive stint on T.J. Hooker, during which time the Star Trek movies were achieving great success as well. He's been seen on film less and less over the years; after Star Trek: Generations, there was nothing but bit parts. It's unclear at this point if this is because this is the way Bill Shatner wants it, or if it's typecasting.
Though he is typecast as being Captain James T. Kirk, he's also become somewhat of a cliché, in that the way he speaks is constantly made fun of. Shatner's tendency to pause momentarily, and then blurt out (there's... something on the wing!) the rest of the sentence has been parodied, even by Shatner himself. Leonard Nimoy, in his semi-autobiographical novel I Am Spock, states that he saw such pauses as remarkable dramatic effect, in that Shatner, on stage, had such a strong persona, that it was difficult to miss anything he said. Nimoy also goes on to state that while Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was a pretty bad movie, Shatner's directorial job wasn't to blame - it was the poor script.
In addition to his acting and directing work, Shatner has also authored and co-authored a best-selling series of science fiction books called Tek, which later became a series on Canadian television. He has also written several Star Trek-themed novels.
Shatner doesn't see retirement in his near future.