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RIP: Leonard Nimoy – Star Trek’s Spock and legend of stage and screen

Friends and Fans Mourn Leonard Nimoy's Passing

Leonard Nimoy’s final performance as Spock in Star Trek: Into Darkness (Paramount)

Leonard Nimoy, 83, passed away at at his Bel Air  home in Los Angeles Friday, February 27, 2015 of end stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nimoy had announced he was suffering from the condition last year. Nimoy, better known as his character from Star Trek, Mr. Spock, with a stage, screen, and television career spanning over 60 years, has left an indelible mark on our culture to this day.

The son of Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants began acting as a child in local and children’s theaters in his home of Boston, Massachusetts. He entered the Army in 1953, eventually serving in Army Special Services in which he  wrote, narrated, and emceed programming and even starred in a film for the Navy on  Combat Psychiatry during the Korean War.

Leaving the Army, he began working in Hollywood, mostly as a “heavy” in film and on such television shows a Perry Mason, Bonanza, Rawhide, The Untouchables, Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits,  and Dragnet. He began to receive more small rolls in films, such as an Army sergeant in the 1954 sci-fi classic Them.

While on the set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., shortly before his most iconic role, he met and forged a friendship with another actor that would last his lifetime: William Shatner. Nimoy went on to say later of this friendship, “We were like brothers.” Spock, a role that Nimoy had a love/hate relationship with over the years, became the role that he was most recognized as, even going as far as to name his first autobiography, I Am Not Spock in 1975. Despite this original resentment with being recognized more for his character than for himself, he did come to terms with this later in life, titling his second autobiography, I Am Spock in 1995.

Nimoy was much more than Spock though. Raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, he embraced his faith. He produced a film, Never Forget,  based on the pro bono lawsuit of  William John Cox on behalf of Mel Mermelstein whom Nimoy played, an Auschwitz survivor, refuting Holocaust deniers. He stated in 1995, “If every project brought me the same sense of fulfillment that Never Forget did, I would truly be in paradise.” He also lent his voice  as a narrator and voice artist for such programs as NBC’s In Search of…, The History Channel’s Ancient Mysteries, and animated film Atlantis: The Lost Empire in 2001, voicing Galvatron for the Transformers: The Movie in 1986 and Sentinel Prime in Transformers: The Dark of the Moon in 2011.

Not only was Nimoy an actor, producer, and writer, but he also was a photographer and recording artist, producing 5 albums with Dot Records, the first being Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space. He went on to do several more albums with songs with science fiction, cover versions of popular music, and folk music themes, incorporating singing and spoken word. Some of the more memorable of these songs being Proud Mary and Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.

Nimoy left us a nugget of wisdom in his final Tweet, which he signed off with LLAP “Live Long and Prosper.”

Friends and fans have been pouring out their sorrow and support since his passing. Costar of Star Trek and long time close friend, William Shatner has shared on Twitter, “I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.”

George Takei, Sulu from Star Trek, shared this message on Facebook: “Today, the world lost a great man, and I lost a great friend. We return you now to the stars, Leonard. You taught us to ‘Live Long And Prosper,’ and you indeed did, friend. I shall miss you in so many, many ways.”

Patrick Stewart of Star Trek: The Next Generation tweeted, “It is with sadness that I heard of Leonard Nimoy’s death. I was lucky to spend many happy, inspiring hours with him. He won’t be forgotten.”  

Zachary Quinto, who is playing Spock in the new series of Star Trek films, posted on his Instagram, “my heart is broken. i love you profoundly my dear friend. and I will miss you everyday. may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

His legacy has reached space, as this pictorial Tweet from Astronaut Terry Virts attests:

Among the Geek Girls and our friends, we all have our own memories of Nimoy. Our own Geek Girl Sara shared her thoughts on her blog, Queen of My Geekdom.

Author L. Jagi Lamplighter: “By portraying Spock as he did, Leonard Nimoy gave us the one admired model of self-control in a world that otherwise celebrated indulgence.”

Geek Girl Darby:I was lucky enough to see Leonard in Boston a few years ago. He was speaking about his early days growing up in Boston, his acting career, and his new pursuit of photography. Intelligent and funny, he really inspired me that day to stay creative throughout all stages of life, and that it’s never too late to begin something new. Truly a man who lived out the Vulcan greeting ‘Live long and prosper.’ He loved his hometown and even provided his deep, soothing voice to the Science Museum of Boston’s IMAX center. It welcomes the guests and explains how the IMAX works, so everytime we went to see a film it was like he was there with us. We have definitely lost an inspiring figure, not just to his fans, but to the world.”

Geek Girl Karen: “First thing I did when I heard the news was phone my best friend, who has been a Spock/Nimoy fan for nearly 50 years. She was too upset to even cook dinner, and had sent her husband out to get a takeaway. I admired Nimoy’s approach to life, as well as his acting and directing. The line ‘He isn’t really dead, so long as we remember him’ has never been more apt.”

As for myself (Geek Girl Rebecca) Spock has always been a part of my life and growing up. My mother introduced me to Star Trek when I was 5. The first episode I really remember was “Spectre of the Gun.” I know it’s a strange episode, with the crew being forced to relive the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but I was so impressed by how Spock was able with logic and control to help the others overcome their fears that the aliens were using against them. Also a quote from “I, Mudd” is my go-to when I am absolutely frustrated with people being irrational and confusing, “Logic is a little tweeting bird chirping in a meadow.”  Spock is the logical part of my childhood, the part that has always helped me sort through and look at things rationally. As I told my editor Allie, the longer I worked on this article the more it went from facts to feelings, and she pointed out, that it’s like Spock: half Vulcan and half human. He helped us be a little bit more of both.

Friends and Fans have poured out their hearts in memory of Leonard Nimoy.

Players gather at Mt. Seleya in Star Trek Online (Garrett York, Star Trek Online, Cryptic Studios)

Tributes to Nimoy have come in every imaginable way. People have baked cakes, drawn art, and written poems, such as “A Man Who Taught Me” by bleeding-from-a-black-heart.

Garrett York, who took the above screenshot in MMO Star Trek Online, said, “Today, players have been coming and standing silently around the fountain at the bottom of Mt. Seleya as an impromptu memorial.” A permanent in-game memorial will be added to the game on Thursday, according to Steve Ricossa, Executive Producer at Cryptic Studios.

The Nimoy family has recommended a few charities to support if you wish to make a donation in his memory. Our hearts go out to Mr. Nimoy’s family and friends. I have always been so impressed and admired Nimoy as both his character and as a person of faith. Live long and Prosper, Mr. Spock. May you have peace, you have had a long life.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for this wonderful memorial!

    I am also grateful Nimoy had the chance to appear as William Bell in Fringe. I think he really appreciated that.

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