Living Long and Prospering: Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015
He stated it clearly in his first memoir, I Am Not Spock. Star Trek only lasted for three years and was never a hit show. NBC stuck it in a bad time slot its third season and quickly got rid of it due to low ratings. It had been a steady paycheck, but it was over. Leonard Nimoy was a working actor. The last thing he wanted was to be tied to one pointy-eared, hyperlogical role for the rest of his life. Additionally, for a time he resented the many Trekkies who would not let the part die.
Then he spent a lifetime learning just how meaningful Spock was to so many fans. Decades before Barack Obama, he was not only interracial but interspecies (half human, half Vulcan). Despite his superior ability to use reason, strong passion still boiled underneath his calm surface. He also remained fiercely loyal to Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and the Starship Enterprise. With the judicious use of his Vulcan nerve pinch, he even had a bit of the heroic in him. No wonder he became such a hero to so many people who felt like misfits. They wanted to believe they could be just like Spock.
To his great credit, Nimoy grew to understand this. Continuing on with his acting career, he jumped immediately to the television series Mission: Impossible and then to movies as well. He advanced to being a director, most famously of Three Men and a Baby and episodes of his old co-star Shatner’s cop drama T.J. Hooker. He was also a poet and a photographer.
In the end, in one of those conclusions that sounds like a Hollywood movie, he became Spock. Announcing his retirement from acting on multiple occasions, he came back more than once for a new Star Trek film or series. He ultimately played the role from 1966 to 2013. He started attending Star Trek conventions and grew not only to accept, but love his alter ego. In the end, he admitted, as he said in a second autobiography, I Am Spock.
Leonard Nimoy died on February 27, 2015, one month short of his 84th birthday. This son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrant parents made his own journey and found a life of fulfillment by appreciating the role for which he will be forever known.
– Louis Burklow (aka, Hollywood Country Boy), Senior Staff Writer, Phoenix Genesis
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