Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

Science fiction icon, talented artist, and all around terrific human being Leonard Nimoy died in his home today at the age of 83.

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.

13 comments:

Franni V said...

A lovely tribute to a wonderful man. Thank you, Billie

J.D. Balthazar said...

I don't tend to get super upset at the passing of celebrities. I did when Robin died, and Carlin. I always get a bit misty watching the In Memoriam during the Oscars.

This one feels a bit different for me though. Leonard Nimoy has been a presence in my life for as long as I can remember. Not personally of course, I didn't know the man. I knew of him, but mainly I had Spock.

Spock didn't belong to me. I'm from the Next Generation era. But through a good chunk of my childhood, Star Trek was Spock, with those pointy ears and perfect line delivery.

He was the first voice of Galvatron, and then he was William Bell on Fringe. His long and amazing career as an actor, writer, and director speak for themselves. But he will always be Spock.

So, yeah I cried over this one. Because Leonard Nimoy will be missed.

mazephoenix said...

Goodbye, Leonard Nimoy. You shall be missed.
Great and heartfelt tribute.

CrazyCris said...

Beautiful post Billie.

*sob*

Jess Lynde said...

He will indeed be missed. Thanks for the lovely tribute, and the wonderful photo.

Mark Greig said...

"He's really not dead. As long as we remember him."

Farewell, Leonard. We have been, ad always shall be, your fans.

Ceridwyn2 said...

That was a wonderful post, Billie!
I came to the original Star Trek (film & television) as an adult - after I'd already seen the earlier TNG. I watched Trek all the way through to the end of Voyager. I did try to get into Enterprise but it didn't really grab me the way the earlier stuff had.

Nimoy and Spock seemed to embody peace, forgiveness, love and fascination for science and logic, and loyalty to friendship and kin. So thank you, Mr. Nimoy for your wonderful contributions in life - you've made an indelible impression on generations of people.

drnanamom said...

Such a sad day, mostly because a lovely human being has left us but also because Mr. Spock and Star Trek meant something special. For me, this show expanded my view of the world and the possibilities of the future. I clearly remember playing Star Trek as a child in the vacant lot in our survey. I was always Mr. Spock.

milostanfield said...

Some day some one will name a space ship after him. It's only logical.

Gavrielle said...

What a lovely tribute. He lived long, he prospered, but it's still too soon. He it's already missed.

Billie Doux said...

There is a news release from the President.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/27/statement-president-passing-leonard-nimoy

"Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.

"I loved Spock.

"In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.” And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear Leonard Nimoy did just that. Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today."

Kathy said...

That was beautiful, Billie.

I don't get super upset when I hear of a celebrity's death. There are just a few actors who I grieved (and still grieve for). Paul Newman is one, so is James Garner. And Leonard Nimoy is right up there.

You're lucky. You got to see him in person. I would have loved that so much. Awesome just poured off of of him. I remember first jaw dropping when I saw him appear for the first time in Fringe, and then I started squealing.

And Spock--I was 6 years old when Mom rented Star Trek II for us to watch (she was a Star Trek fan.) I started crying at Spock's death. It's a scene that hits even harder now.

I am, and will always be, his fan.

Kat

Anonymous said...

"Of my friend, I can say only this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most...human." Thanks for this great piece, Billie!

ClaireNYC