"Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most....human."
~William Shatner as Admiral James T. Kirk from the film Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan.
|Leonard Simon Nimoy |
(March 26, 1931 - February 27, 2015)
On Friday, February 27, 2015, the world mourned the loss of legendary actor and director Leonard Simon Nimoy, best known for his outstanding role as Commander Spock of Vulcan in the Star Trek franchise. Nimoy (aged 83 years) died as a result of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in his home in Los Angeles, California, USA.
As I sit in write this, I am listening to one of my favorite episodes of the original Star Trek TV series on MeTV, the Spock-centered episode: Amok Time (season 2, episode 1), considered by Trek fans as one of the most iconic episodes of the series - it was the first occasion where the now famous Vulcan hand salute and the line: "Live long and prosper" were first introduced by the character.
As an avid and life-long science fiction fan, Leonard Nimoy is a name I have known my entire life. As a young boy, I would often stay up late on weekends to watch reruns of the original Star Trek series. As a child of the 80s, I grew up watching the big screen Trek films, as well as the subsequent spinoff series of the Star Trek franchise. I consider myself a Trekker - not to be confused with a Trekkie - one who appreciates the hopeful future depicted in the Trek franchise and walks with those who promote that future, as opposed to someone who just sits and watches the movies and series because its Star Trek.
Though I loved all the characters in the original series, it was Mr. Spock who interested me. Not because he had a bowl-shaped haircut, or because of the pointed ears; but because it was through the outstanding acting talent of Leonard Nimoy that Mr. Spock lived on the screen as a half-human-half-Vulcan science officer of the UFP Starship Enterprise. It was fun to see Mr. Spock, a being constantly at conflict with his emotional human half and hiding it behind a stoic logical mask of his Vulcan heritage, save for that one iconic raised eyebrow. It was also fun to see that logic tested by the other characters on the show, particularly in verbal jousts with the ship's chief medical officer, the highly emotional Dr. Leonard McCoy played marvelously by the late DeForest Kelley.
Not only did I appreciate Nimoy's character role as the Mr. Spock, but also for a number of his other great roles - most notably as the psychiatrist Dr. David Kibner in the 1978 remake of the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers and as the narrator and host of the TV series In Search Of... and Ancient Mysteries.
One other notable role he did that stuck with me for years and had an impact on my life was his outstanding role as Mel Mermelstein, in the 1991 TV movie Never Forget, about a survivor of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, and his real life lawsuit brought against a group of organizations engaged in Holocaust denial.
Not only was he a marvelous actor, but an accomplished director for the films: Star Trek III The Search For Spock (1984), Star Trek IV The Journey Home (1986), and the non-Trek film: Three Men And A Baby (1987).
In his final message on Twitter, Nimoy wrote:
Leonard Nimoy left this world a much better place for having been in it and touching all our lives in some profound way or another.