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William Shatner tries to stop Clearwater man who claims to be his son from changing his last name to Shatner

On Jan. 14, Peter Sloan petitioned the Pinellas County court to have his name legally changed to "Peter Shatner."
Published Jan. 23, 2019

Peter Sloan has claimed for decades that William Shatner is his biological dad, but the 87-year-old actor and father of three daughters denies any blood tie.

Still, Sloan is pursuing what he calls his "birth right" — the Shatner name.

On Jan. 14, the longtime Tampa resident now living in Clearwater petitioned the Pinellas County court to have his name legally changed to "Peter Shatner."

One week later, a Miami attorney representing Shatner emailed Sloan a cease-and-desist order, threatening further legal action if he moves forward.

"They are trying to scare me," said Sloan, 62. "It won't work."

Sloan is unsure how Shatner learned of his court attempt to change his name.

"I mentioned it on social media," Sloan said. "Maybe they are watching me."

Shatner and Sloan's mother, the late actress Kathy Burt, worked together in the 1950s on Canadian television. According to Sloan, the two had a one-night stand in early 1956 in Toronto. Sloan was born Dec. 9 of that year, then given up for adoption in New York.

When Sloan and his birth mother reconnected in 1984, she admitted his father could be either Shatner or a second man she only recalls as "Chick," a law student from Montreal.

The affairs, she said, happened as she was mending a broken heart.

She later detailed this in a letter to Sloan that he shared with the Tampa Bay Times. Sloan said his mother privately told him she was more certain the father was Shatner.

In 1984, Hollywood producer E. Arthur Kean, a friend of Sloan's adoptive family, brokered a one-on-one meeting between Sloan and Shatner. Adrea Nairne, Kean's ex-wife, has confirmed that account.

Sloan claims that Shatner then admitted to being his father, but that the man famous for portraying starship Capt. James T. Kirk later said that he would never go public.

Since then, Sloan has repeatedly failed to persuade Shatner to take a DNA test.

And a few years ago, Sloan filed a civil lawsuit contending that Shatner's disavowal has damaged his reputation. That case was dismissed by a court last June.

William Shatner may see Tampa man in court over paternity claim

Still, Sloan publicly refers to himself as Peter Shatner, owns the web domain petershatner.com and used the name in his self-published memoir The Search. The book details his desire to meet his birth dad.

In Sloan's petition to have his name legally changed to Peter Shatner, he states he is doing so because his biological father is Shatner.

Because that petition was signed under oath, it constitutes perjury, according to the request for a cease-and-desist order by attorney John B. Atkinson. The request notes that Sloan has publicly stated the adoption agency described his biological father as an unnamed "law student."

What's more, the request says, Sloan's defamation lawsuit was dismissed by the U.S. District Court in Tampa on the grounds that "it has never been established" Shatner is the biological father.

"These falsities and failures clearly indicate that the Petition has an ulterior motive or illegal purpose that may invade the property rights of Mr. Shatner and others," Atkinson wrote.

Sloan said he is not seeking money from Shatner and has given up on his dream of having a relationship with the man he says is his biological father.

Rather, he said, the name change is about recognizing his identity.

"I am Peter Shatner," Sloan said. "No one can prove otherwise. If they want to, let's get that DNA test."

Contact Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com or follow @PGuzzoTimes.

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