I found out at work.
It was just before my lunch hour, and a friend texted me to tell me the sad news: Leonard Nimoy – who was best known for his portrayal of Mr. Spock in the television and movie series of Star Trek – had passed away earlier that morning. My heart was unbelievably sad over his death for general Nerdom, but also for his family
Unlike many individuals who had grown up watching Mr. Nimoy on Star Trek, I was more familiar with his voice roles in various cartoons and movies until I became an adult and embraced my inner nerd. Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew who Spock was; however, I didn’t hold him to the stigma an actor normally gains when they portray a fan-favorite character.
His most memorable roles for me were the voice work in the movies The Halloween Tree (1993) when he voiced the mysterious and very dark Mr. Moundshroud, and The Pagemaster (1994) when he voiced the characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Although, it wasn’t until just very recently that I began watching Star Trek that I really saw the appeal of the character and the amazing portrayal that Mr. Nimoy did in each episode and movie.
I came to love the character of Spock. You know the one who always something profound to say, the one who preferred logic over intuition, and certainly the one who made seemingly innocuous statements become amazingly accurate quotes about life. The most memorable and most remarkable, of course, is the Vulcan salute “Live long and prosper.”
And that’s exactly what Nimoy did with his life. Actor was not the only job title that Leonard Nimoy would end up with on his resume: poet, photographer, singer, and director just to name a few of the many hats worn during his sixty-plus year career. And if you take a look at his Twitter account – @TheRealNimoy – you can see that Leonard Nimoy was also very proud of his friends and family, tweeting various projects and photos of his children, grandchildren, and comrades.
The world truly lost a grand individual that day. Not that I had met Mr. Nimoy in person, but I do know many who have, and were taking to social media to express their sympathy, sorrow, and stories of how they met him and where. Not long after his passing was announced, #LLAP began trending on Facebook and Twitter as thousands of individuals wrote tributes, quoted his characters, and posted favorite photos of the man. It was a very touching thing to see; you know, just how a person had an impact on others that they may – or may not – have met. It is an impact that we should all strive to achieve in this lifetime through our actions, words, and good gestures towards others.
A favorite artist of mine was very quick to illustrate a tribute to Mr. Nimoy. Brian Kesinger posted the following image upon his Facebook page with the simple text of “Boldly go…” Such fitting words for a fitting image.
“We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world… Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.”
Those are definitely some beautiful words that can really be seen as more than written words in a script for a movie.
A favorite quote of mine reads “To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure,” therefore, this Monster hopes you boldly go and that you live long and prosper in the next life, Mr. Nimoy. Rest in Peace.
It’s hard to separate the man from the character he made a worldwide icon, but it is important to do so.
To start with Spock, he is one of my favorite characters from a TV show ever. Spock is a character I would like to emulate in ways, as both a scientist and a person. His brilliant mind, his purely logical driven nature, his curiosity, and inquisitiveness are all traits that any one pursuing science can benefit from. But Spock was much more than that, he was also calm in every situation, loyal to his friends and Starfleet, kind and caring, and he was strongly moral. These are the parts of his personality that I hope I can claim as a person. Though Spock was the science officer, his interest ranged much farther than just science. He also greatly enjoyed art, poetry, literature, and music. The ability to maintain focus on one specific subject while maintaining interest in a broad array of them, a form of the idea of a ‘Renaissance man’, is another trait that I’m glad Spock helped popularize to a new generation and those who may have been unfamiliar with the idea.
But if I have respect or admiration for Spock, I have more for the actor behind him, Leonard Nimoy. Later in his life Nimoy claimed that “To this day, I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior.” Both of his autobiographies also explore the idea of how Spock had influenced him. Yet, if Spock influenced Nimoy then surely Nimoy influenced Spock. It was Nimoy who gave Spock his wide array of interest, as seen in the many artistic pursuits of Nimoy. He acted, directed, wrote screenplays, published several volumes of poetry, and was a photographer. Star Trek was never afraid to tackle tough social issues, one of the reasons the show endures to this day. Gene Rodenberry, the show’s creator, claimed that Spock was “the conscience of
Star Trek.” Some of this conscience must have come from Nimoy, who created a photographic work in 2002 called Shekhina to explore femininity in Judaism and the feminine aspects of the Divine, leading some Orthodox Jewish leaders to brand him a heretic. Spock’s kindness and compassion, because it was there hidden beneath the logical façade, also has roots in Nimoy. Nimoy could be found on Twitter, campaigning against smoking, to save others from the fate he was facing. He would also sometimes offer friendly advice and he volunteered to be anyone’s grandfather who had lost theirs or felt they had never had a kind and caring grandfather. If the Vulcan traits of Spock were given to him by Rodenberry, it was Nimoy who gave him his human traits and turned him into an enduring icon.
While many are mourning and saying good bye to Spock, it is important to remember the character will live on and it is the man we must mourn and say good bye to. The world lost an amazing person, but he truly lived long and prospered, may we all hope to do the same.