|Born||Nerine Elizabeth Kidd
July 13, 1959
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
|Died||August 9, 1999
Studio City, California, United States
|Spouse(s)||William Shatner (1997–99)|
Nerine Elizabeth Kidd (July 13, 1959 – August 9, 1999) was an American actress and model who was best known as the third wife of William Shatner. Kidd battled with alcoholism during her time with Shatner and was twice arrested for driving under the influence. Entering twice into rehabilitation, she eventually died of accidental drowning at the couple's home in 1999.
Life and career
Kidd was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Warren Kidd, Sr., a retired longshoreman, and June, a former secretary. Kidd was the second of five children with three named brothers, Robert (d.1995), Howard and Warren Jr. The family often spent their summers at their vacation cottage near a lake in Sandown, New Hampshire. She enjoyed boating, water-skiing and taking long walks alongside the lake. She displayed a personality of being bold and almost fearless.
Kidd was also noted for the attractive looks that were discovered by Janet Chute, a Modeling agent from Boston. Chute said of her, "She was unusual looking, raw and unrefined". Chute advised Kidd that to be successful, Kidd's Boston accent would have to be dropped. Her career was based mainly in New York and also travelled around Europe before moving to Los Angeles in 1985. Kidd had finished a runner up in the Miss World contest and also participated in a National Television Commercial for Brut Cologne that was known as "Scent of a Man". Her success in her career saw part of her earnings go towards her family. She had starred on a children's television show "A Twist in a Tale" with future husband William Shatner.
Marriage and alcoholism
Kidd met William Shatner in a Toronto hotel bar during the filming of the television series Kung Fu. Shatner and Kidd engaged in a brief conversation before meeting each other a week later. The couple was making preparations for their wedding when Kidd was caught driving under the influence after picking up Shatner's daughter from a spa in Palm Springs, California. Kidd exited a freeway and slammed on the brakes with Shatner's daughter in the passenger seat. Kidd promised to Shatner that she would not have a repeat of the incident and the date of their wedding was pushed back six months. Five months later, she once again was caught under the influence and was arrested. Shatner's friend and colleague Leonard Nimoy noticed her symptoms of alcoholism at a dinner party. Kidd asked her father (Warren Kidd) about marrying someone famous. His reply was, "Jeez, I don't know. It's your life. If you love him, then go ahead. Do you love him?."
On November 15, 1997, Shatner married Kidd in Pasadena, California with Nimoy serving as best man. During the ceremony, Shatner opened his speech by saying: "When it is dark and there is trouble, you need but wave that bauble and there will be light". Then he read a poem he wrote himself, pledging his love to her, and Kidd pledged her sobriety. The pledge was broken after Kidd woke up drunk the next day after consuming several bottles of vodka and then placing them in several areas around the newlyweds' home. To combat this, Shatner installed an alcohol monitor in their car to prevent another repeat of Kidd's drunk driving. Two to three months after the beginning of the marriage, Shatner informed her that he was to plan for divorce proceedings, with Kidd objecting. The couple separated for a brief period on October 11, 1998 and filed the divorce on October 21 before they reconciled. Shatner offered to drop the plans for divorce if Kidd went into rehabilitation. She had been in rehab for a total of 30 days on three separate occasions with no changes. Kidd twice attempted to drink herself to death. The first occasion saw her rushed to St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica with a blood-alcohol reading of 0.08. The second occasion had a profound impact on Kidd as she left her home for three days. She was discovered by a charity home in downtown Los Angeles where Shatner was reunited with her. Kidd had no memory of her disappearance.
On August 9, 1999, Kidd was alone at her home as Shatner had left to see his eldest daughter Leslie in Orange County, California. When Shatner returned at 10:15 p.m., he discovered Kidd lying in their swimming pool naked and unconscious. Shatner called 911 for instructions, then dived into the pool to grab Kidd by the arm and pull her toward the shallow end. A news helicopter that monitored 911 calls was close to the scene. Kidd was laid onto the side of the pool; her skin had turned blue and Shatner placed his finger into her throat to get life into the motionless body. At 10:30 p.m., paramedics arrived and pronounced Kidd dead at the scene. When confronted by the press, Shatner said of his wife, "She meant everything to me. Her laughter, her tears and her joy will remain with me the rest of my life." A post-mortem revealed that Kidd had a blood-alcohol level of 0.28 percent and traces of the drug Valium. On Shatner's worldwide fan club website, a black-bordered banner at the top of the homepage read: "In Memory of Nerine Kidd Shatner." The news came as a shock when relatives of Kidd revealed that she was an experienced and strong swimmer, but at her level of inebriation, even these skills could not have saved her. A private memorial service was held on August 14 and she was buried at the Church of the Hills at the Forest Lawn Cemetery. Since her death, Shatner and his current wife, Elizabeth Martin, visit the scene on the anniversary of Kidd's death.
Since her death, a non-profit memorial fund in Kidd's name was set up to help women who are recovering from alcoholism and drug abuse. The National Enquirer agreed to donate $250,000 days after Kidd's death after a story debating Shatner's role in her death had not been published. In 2001, Shatner bought a five-bedroom home situated in West Los Angeles for $775,000 for use as a "sober living" facility for 11 women suffering from alcoholism which is also named after Kidd.
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- Up Till Now: The Biography (2008) William Shatner: Sidgwick & Jackson: ISBN 978-0-330-45297-7
- Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing The Stigma Of Society's Most Destructive Disease (2005) Doug Thorburn: Galt Publishing: ISBN 0-9675788-2-5