How does one say good-bye to someone like Leonard Nimoy? Nimoy died on Friday morning, 27 February at age 83 at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was a month short of his 84th birthday and died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a byproduct of years of smoking decades earlier.
In the coming weeks, hundreds of articles, blog posts, newscasts, interviews, and TV specials will announce the passing of Star Trek’s iconic character Spock. For a brief period this news may even rank up with the horrific events that have, as of late, captured the world’s center stage.
Saying good-bye to Nimoy and the fictional character Spock will be difficult for die-hard Star Trek fans, myself included. All the memories we have held for decades will not fill the emptiness in the heart of civilization left by his passing. Star Trek remains the world’s most popular TV science fiction show. It did (and continues to do) that which few other shows have accomplished – give humanity hope for the future.
The media will report lots of information about Mr. Nimoy in coming weeks but there are a few basic facts you should know about our friend Spock:
Leonard Nimoy was Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Leonard Simon Nimoy was the second son of Max and Dora Nimoy, Ukrainian immigrants and Orthodox Jews. His father worked as a barber. Nimoy performed as an actor since age eight. He took the “Live Long and Prosper” hand sign from a Rabbi at a temple he attended as a child.
Nimoy served in the Army for two years (1953-1955), rising to the rank of sergeant. He was stationed at Fort McPherson in Georgia for 18 months where he managed performances for the troops. During that time he also directed and starred as Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire”.
After the Army, Nimoy went to California, where he worked as a soda jerk, movie usher, and cab driver. He studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s he made numerous appearances on popular TV shows.
Then came Star Trek.
I heard Nimoy say in an interview once that he never had an acting job that lasted more than two weeks prior to his role in Star Trek. He also drove a taxi cab in the same area that he would eventually own a home in Bel Air.
Star Trek fans know Nimoy had mixed feelings about being typecast in the Spock character. He wrote the book “I Am Not Spock,” in 1975, and another titled “I Am Spock,” published in 1995. He recognized the tremendous impact he had on history in that role.
Leonard Nimoy was an accomplished actor, director, photographer, author, and poet. And yet for all he accomplished, history shall remember his signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”). Leonard Nimoy, you were part of something that continues to inspire and give hope to millions. You are, and shall always be, Mr. Spock