BANFF, Alta. – Actor Henry Winkler says William Shatner is the perfect choice as grand marshal of this year’s Calgary Stampede parade because he attracts followers wherever he goes.
Winkler is attending the Banff World Media Festival to receive the Award of Excellence — an honour previously bestowed on his close friend Shatner.
“Bill Shatner is an idiosyncratic human being who creates a Bill Shatner Avenue through the world. And he loves horses, he raises horses, he rides horses,” Winkler said in an interview.
“He is one of our most wonderful actors.”
Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original “Star Trek” series as well as in the movies, has won several Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe.
It’s not clear if Shatner will lead the parade July 4 on horseback or ride in a wagon or antique car — a starship, however, is most unlikely.
Shatner, 83, has said he has been to Calgary before, but never to the Stampede.
Winkler, who played The Fonz in the TV series “Happy Days” in the 1970s and ’80s, said Shatner has a way of making people feel positive about themselves.
“I was auditioning for a movie. It went horribly wrong a year or two ago. I was walking down the concrete path from where I did the audition and he had an office next door,” he recalled.
“I told Bill what had just happened and he talked me through it. By the time I had left his office, I had forgotten I didn’t get the job.
“He will always be in my heart.”
The Calgary Stampede runs from July 4 to 13.