Leonard Nimoy: Live Long And Prosper
As we get older, slowly the heroes of our youth begin to slowly disappear. Whether its a tremendous fall from grace, a slow fade away or everyone's eventuality, death, those that you admire and look up to as a youngster depart. Leonard Nimoy never faded away, never fell from grace, and in my eyes, would never die.
Leonard Nimoy passed away on Friday, and in doing so, took a major part of the memories of my youth with him.
I was almost 5 years old in 1968, when my father introduced me to a television series about a group of "space cowboys." We were visiting my grandparents house one evening, and while the adults were talking about things that I wouldn't come to understand for about 20 years. Dad turned the television on to something he thought would keep me entertained and out of "trouble." Little did he knowat the time that he was sending me on an adventure that, 3 series and 11 movies later, would continue to this day.
I am a self-professed Trekkie. I make no bones about it (pun completely intended). I have been to conventions, in uniform (Red shirt security, lieutenant). I have a set of vulcan ears, somewhere in a closet in a box within a box. I have seen every episode of the three series that matter to me: original, TNG and Enterprise. I am one of the few people that include Scott Bakula's portrayal of Capt. Jonathan Archer in discussions about the best Star Trek Captains.
Yes, I know my stuff.
But do you'll notice, there is never a question as to the best Star Trek Science Officer ever? That's because there is no question, it's Lt. Commander/Commander/ Captain/Ambassador Spock. And there is one reason the character was forever endearing: the man that portrayed him, Leonard Nimoy.
But the character almost didn't make it off the cutting room floor. After the series first pilot, The Cage, was turned down by every network then in existance, executives offered producer Gene Roddenberry two pieces of advice: "get rid of the female first-officer and get rid of the guy with the ears." Roddenberry married the actress that played "Number One", Majel Barrett, and at the urging of Desilu Studios president Lucille Ball, kept "the Vulcan and married the woman, 'cause he didn't think Leonard [Nimoy] would have it the other way around."
We lost Leonard Nimoy on Friday, at the terrestrial age of 83, from CPOD. Nimoy revealed a year ago that he was suffering the affects of a smoking habit he had given up 30 years ago. Even as his time was drawing to a close, he provided words, memories that will endure long after Nimoy left this world. A few days before his death, he shared some of his poetry on Twitter:
His career spanned 62 years, first appearing as the Chef in the movie Queen For A Day and he last appeared in 2013's Star Trek: Into Darkness in the role he was most famous for. In between, Nimoy made 31 movies, starred in or hosted 4 series (Star Trek, Mission Impossible, In Search of... and Ancient Mysteries) and made countless guest appearances in programs such as Dragnet, The Twighlight Zone, The Outer Limits and Big Bang Theory. He also made his mark behind the camera, writing and/or directing 4 of the 7 original cast Star Trek theatrical movies and directing other movies, including Three Men And A Baby and the tv movie Vincent.
Nimoy was also a best-selling author, penning two books which showed his conflicted feelings for his most famous role: 1975' I Am Not Spock and 1995's I Am Spock, which both reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller List. He also published 7 books of his poetry, most recently 2002's A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life, as well as recording 5 albums of music and spoken word material.
"I kept the Vulcan and married the woman, 'cause I didn't think Leonard would have it the other way around."
Actor, writer, director, recording artist and poet, the Boston born actor was a true renaissance man, taking on each new adventure as a challenge. At times he seemed to resent the role for which he became famous, but late in life embraced his alter ego, even finding humor in the character's elite status.
It was the darkness, the logical voice in an illogical world that was Spock that first drew me to the show. Even at the age of 5, I knew that there was something in the "guy with the ears"; I wasn't sure what, but I knew it was something different.
"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few....or the one"
Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
Somewhere, Sheldon Cooper weeps, as do I, for yet just a little bit more of my youth is gone. Mr. Nimoy, may your memory, and the memories you helped to create, live long and prosper.