Nimoy is gone. He left us on February 27. The world is a better place as a result of his life. As an actor, his most famous role was that of Mr. Spock, a character he played in no fewer than five incarnations of Star Trek. As Spock, Nimoy portrayed a character that made being a science nerd cool, and provided inspiration to countless engineers, scientists, pilots, and astronauts. But Spock was more than that. He made studying music, philosophy, literature, and chess seem cool. Fundamentally, Spock made being thoughtful seem cool. Even though he was a character who was supposed to be wholly logical and devoid of emotion, Spock displayed an uncommon level of empathy, compassion, and kindness, as if the writers and the actor were telling the audience that to behave in any other manner would be illogical. Calling upon his own heritage in helping to mold the character, Nimoy also infused Spock with some Jewish traditions - if you've ever used the famous Vulcan hand sign, you are flashing a kohanic blessing. When given the opportunity to be creative, he used it to bring ideas from outside of the protestant mainstream into the culture.
But Nimoy was much more than merely being Spock, although being Spock would have been enough to make him an icon. His portrayal of Mustafa Mond in A Brave New World gave the character gravitas, making his arguments seem almost reasonable. He played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway. He released five albums, with songs ranging from silly to interesting. His work as a photographer was brilliant, including his work on the Full Body Project. He held a master's degree in Spanish. He was an accomplished poet. He was a notable director, directing both Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, as well as Three Men and a Baby. He received four Emmy nominations. Listing the full myriad of his accomplishments would take up an enormous amount of space.
And yet he was even greater than his accomplishments. He fought for his coworkers to receive equal pay. In an industry that feeds on gossip and character assassination, there are literally no anecdotes that portray Nimoy as being anything other than a kind and generous person. He made an offer to be the surrogate grandparent to anyone who didn't have one. From almost anyone else this would have seemed self-serving, or even obnoxious. From Nimoy, on the other hand, the offer came across as both genuine and comforting. People who love Star Trek often want to be Spock. People who learned about the real Leonard Nimoy often wished they could be as good a person as he was.
As far as I know, Nimoy only recorded the famous Star Trek intro once, for the final scene of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, when Spock was supposed to be dead. But in my head, that is how the words were always supposed to be spoken.
Leonard Nimoy Musical Monday Home