Leonard Nimoy was special to me. Like many aging sci-fi geeks, one of my earliest crushes was on the ultimate cool guy, Mister Spock on the original Star Trek, the first truly memorable and popular alien character on television. At one point, Nimoy rebelled against the Spock character when he was feeling typecast (he wrote a book entitled I am Not Spock) but later re-embraced his alien alter ego to the fullest. He did many science fiction conventions and was consistently kind to fans. Nimoy was also a movie director -- he directed two of the Star Trek movies, as well as Three Men and a Baby -- a poet, and a fine art photographer. (His subjects were not what you'd expect. If you're curious, do a Google image search for "leonard nimoy photography".)
I saw him in person twice, and he was a clever and amusing speaker who never lost his audience. One of those times was when he gave a talk at a university; the second was at a science fiction convention where I had managed to get a seat in the second row, and was close enough to see the nap on his sweater. What I remember most about that second event was the unintentional start of fear on his face when he first came out and thousands of people started screaming. I was quite young and it was the first time I saw a celebrity as a human being. I never forgot it.
Nimoy lived in a beautiful area of Los Angeles called Griffith Park, and personally contributed a huge amount of money to the renovation of the iconic Griffith Observatory, my favorite place in L.A. I visited the Observatory in 2009 after the renovation and saw a film in the Event Horizon Theater, which was named after Nimoy. The host that introduced the film told us that Nimoy hadn't put any strings or requirements on his contribution, which is just extraordinary; he told the Observatory to just use the money where it was needed. Famous people don't usually do that.
I remember watching an interview with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in which Shatner revealed that he was afraid of death, but Nimoy said that he was not. That gave me a little comfort today. And Leonard Nimoy's final post on Twitter was a perfect epitaph for a very special man:
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP (Live long and prosper.)"
It seems like an understatement to say that he will be missed.
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for a ridiculously long time. More Billie Doux.