LEONARD NIMOY: IN MEMORIUM
Some brief words by Bob Reyer
As most of you are aware, Leonard Nimoy passed away yesterday from complications related to COPD, one month shy of his 84th birthday. Undoubtedly most famous for his role as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, Mr. Nimoy was also an author of prose and poetry, and a director, photographer, and patron of the arts, but it was in the role that he once sought to distance himself from that he helped to change the face of filmed science-fiction by crafting a character who has been an inspiring figure for generations of fans.
Born in Boston to Russian immigrant parents in 1931, Mr, Nimoy had knocked around Hollywood for some years,
That pilot, entitled “The Cage”, starred Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike and Mr. Nimoy as a somewhat-emotional Spock (one who even smiled!), and boasted an intriguing plot that would have made an interesting feature film, but was thought too cerebral by NBC executives, who requested a second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, a rare move in television. The only hold-over from “The Cage” would be Spock, now adorned with the logic-driven demeanor of the original pilot’s female First Officer, the reserved Number One, a role played by Majel Barrett, who would go on to play Nurse Christine Chapel in the series…and eventually marry Gene Roddenberry!
With William Shatner’s James T. Kirk now at the helm, the U.S.S. Enterprise would begin its “five year mission” on September 8, 1966, and I was there in front of our Motorola B&W set,
Even though it was inevitable considering his decades as a smoker, Mr. Nimoy’s passing does leave me somewhat shaken, and quite sad. Through his performance as Mr.Spock, he crafted a character that was the weekly entry-way into intelligent science-fiction for many people of my generation, whose previous exposure would have been kiddie-fare such as “Lost in Space” or the occasional airing of a classic film amidst all the low-budget movies of the Fifties being shown on TV. That such a resonant character was also the “other”, even among the Enterprise’s varied cast, was something that spoke to a world in a state of flux, helping to cement the notion of all having a place at the table, and on the more personal scale, speaking also to the scores of girls and boys struggling with their own identities in a society that, then as now, was often too quick to judgment based on surface impressions or pre-conceived notions. Although he once wrote a book entitled “I Am Not Spock” (a years-later sequel, “I AM Spock” spoke to his “conversion”) , Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of the Enterprise’s First Officer provided not only entertainment, but a shining example of how to navigate through life’s often-challenging waters.
To Leonard Nimoy on a life well-lived, and although we never met…
“I have been…and always shall be…your friend…”