Written by Lucas P. Jones
In Memoriam: Leonard Nimoy: 1931-2015
The world of entertainment lost a giant when Leonard Nimoy passed away on Friday, February 27th, 2015. Most known for his role of Mr. Spock on Star Trek, Nimoy’s career spanned nearly seven decades and included credits from television, film, and theater. His resume also included two books, I Am Not Spock (1975), and, I Am Spock (1995). He was a director (Star Trek III, Star Trek IV, Three Men and a Baby), musician, photographer, and public speaker. But simply listing his achievements won’t give the proper impression of Leonard Nimoy, or the kind of impact he left on pop culture.
Nimoy began his acting carrer in his early twenties, jumping from minor role to minor role until he stared in the rejected Star Trek pilot, ‘The Cage.’ After the show was picked up by NBC, Nimoy would play the role of Spock until the show’s cancellation in 1969. Of course, he would reprise his role in future movies, guest spots, and voice overs. His signature gesture, the Vulcan salute, has become an iconic one, as well as its accompanying phrase, “Live long and prosper.” After the main portion of his Trek work, Nimoy moved onto other artistic pursuits, including publishing two books from the perspective of Spock, cutting five CD’s of music in various genres, and becoming a director and photographer.
While for many, a character they play is just a character. However, Nimoy struggled with the character of Spock. While he relished the idea of playing an alien, not just physically, but emotionally, he initially did not enjoy the typecast fame that was placed on him because of his role. Later in his life he embraced that character and the effect that it has had on himself and other people. He acknowledged this impact in I Am Spock, by saying:
“To this day, I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior…Given the choice, if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.”
At the least, Spock was a character that we could examine our humanity through; and at the most, we could use his steadfast composure and logically thought processes as a guide to dealing with stressful situations in our own lives. As for nerds like myself, his presence will be what is missed the most. No more surprise cameos, no more debates as to whether he will be in the next Trek film, no more ooportunities to hear that signature gravely voiceover. What we are left with is best said by Nimoy himself in his last tweet:
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015