A Florida man who for years claimed actor William Shatner was his father has had the matter cleared up once and for all, thanks to a DNA test he took without the participation of the former “Star Trek” actor.
Peter Shatner, 62, had claimed for years that Shatner the actor had fathered him the late 1950s during a tryst with a woman he later discovered was his mother. Peter, though, has confirmed to Vice that he was looking in the wrong place. Shatner, despite years of dramatic headlines, is not his father.
Peter, whose last name was Sloan until he changed it to Shatner in 2019, explained to the outlet how he cleared up the mystery. He said he discovered years ago his biological mother was a Canadian actress named Kathy Burt. Burt had told Peter that his father was either Shatner or another man named “Chick.”
But since he was a younger man, Peter claimed he had always noticed a physical resemblance between Shatner and himself. He was convinced that he’d found his long-lost father, and his mother reportedly also believed her son’s father was TV royalty.
Peter claimed that in the mid-1980s, when Shatner was starring on the series “T.J. Hooker,” the pair actually met. Shatner’s representatives denied that meeting occurred between the actor and the humble Floridian.
Peter also said he came across a photo of Shatner with his mother, which he found curious. The actor, he said, had denied he’d ever met Burt.
But the Tampa Bay-based life insurance agent continued for years claiming lineage to the TV icon. That claim generated its fair share of negative publicity for both men.
A 36-year search to find his dad, whom he believed to be the Canadian-born Shatner, included public calls for a DNA test, denials from Shatner’s camp and a $170 million lawsuit Peter filed against Shatner.
Peter told Vice he only filed the suit to get the actor’s attention. The suit, which alleged slander and libel, was dismissed. So, too, were Peter’s calls for Shatner to take a DNA test.
Vice spoke to Peter about how he came to discover that Shatner, who has always denied paternity for Peter, was not, in fact, his father.
In an era of advanced DNA testing through a number of private companies, one no longer needs two-party results to prove familial connections in many cases. At this point, enough curious people have given their DNA to private enterprises to build a database for people to connect with prospective relatives.
The method was good enough to recently catch the notorious Golden State Killer, as Forbes outlined. Now, it has been successful in eliminating Shatner as a prospective parent to Peter.
A private DNA test purchased from ancestry.com ended the nearly four-decade drama, Vice reported.
“Peter said he learned about who his biological father was after entering his DNA on several heredity sites. He also worked with a heredity specialist who helped him to track down possible leads. He connected with a woman a DNA test revealed was his half sibling, which led him to who his biological father was,” the outlet noted.
The man who fathered Peter was not an actor, but actually a former life insurance salesman, just like Peter. Sadly, the man died years ago. But Peter told Vice he was happy to have the matter closed.
Shatner never took a DNA test to disprove paternity for Peter. Now, he will never have to. The 36-year drama is closed, and Shatner has offered no comment.
But Peter, despite learning he is in no way related to the actor, does intend to keep the last name Shatner.
“It’s actually quite a hassle to have your name changed; you have to have all your IDs changed, including your passport,” he told Vice. On learning that he shared a profession in selling life insurance with his actual biological father, Peter told the outlet, “What are the odds?”
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