“Change is the essential process of all existence.”–Spock, “Star Trek: TOS”, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”
The pointy-eared half-Vulcan half-Human emotionally suppressed character debuted Sept. 8, 1966 on CBS. The role of Mr. Spock was a risky move for an actor struggling to make a name for himself, but it paid off. Shortly after “Star Trek’s” cancellation, Nimoy wrote that, “Six years after having completed the role, I am still affected by the character of Spock.”
Nearly fifty-years later, the impact Spock has had is undeniable. For example, the word “Vulcan” is universally identified as a fictional alien race, instead of its Greek mythological origins, and the “Live Long And Prosper” slogan is an easily recognized hand gesture. Further validation of Spock’s influence includes being listed in TV Guide’s 50 greatest TV characters of all time.
In a recent interview with Pharrell Williams. Nimoy candidly reflected on his role of Spock, “The Spock character…opened up my life personally and creatively, created great opportunities for me to do work I chose to do, not had to do.”
Nimoy’s career is evidence that he successfully parlayed his role of Spock into other creative outlets. He directed two “Star Trek” feature films, as well as the hugely popular box office smash “Three Men and a Baby” (staring Tom Seleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Dansen); he also worked as an executive producer, wrote numerous screenplays, authored several books and became an accomplished photographer.
After formally retiring from acting, Nimoy did accept acting gigs and projects that suited him. He was a welcomed guest star on TV series and feature films. His work on “Fringe” as William Bell was wildly popular among the show’s fan base, and his role as Spock Prime in the 2009 reboot of “Star Trek” reintroduced his character to a whole new generation of fans.
One of Spock’s greatest lexicons in his vocabulary was exclaiming “fascinating” when he faced a perplexity. Spock once said, “fascinating is a word I use for the unexpected, in this case I would think interesting would suffice” (“Star Trek,” “The Squire of Gothos”). The raised eyebrow and the deadpan stare followed by Spock’s timely remark unquestionable sums up Nimoy’s life.
Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston on March 26, 1931 to Ukrainian Orthodox Jewish immigrants Max and Dora Nimoy. His father was a barber. Thirty-five years later this obscure actor that grew up from humble beginnings would be introduced to the world as Mr. Spock.
In his 1975 autobiography “I Am Not Spock,” Nimoy addresses the affect playing Spock had on him personally, “Of course, the role changed my career. Or rather, gave me one… It also affected me very deeply and personally, socially, psychologically, emotionally.” Nimoy continues, “To this day I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes, and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior.” This sentiment can easily sum up the affect Spock has had on society and pop-culture as a whole.
Lowen Liu’s article “How Leonard Nimoy Left Us With the Best Scene in Star Trek” argues that “Star Trek II not only has the honor of the best Star Trek film ever—a tight revenge plot whose special effects hold up today—but it not coincidentally contains the best and most powerful scene in the franchise’s expansive oeuvre…. In it, Spock dies.”
Spock’s death scene in “Star Trek ll: The Wrath of Kahn” is arguably the greatest death scene ever made in film history. A lesser character, played by a lesser actor, would not have had the profound impact it had on audience members during its 1982 release. That scene is responsible for launching Nimoy’s directorial career and solidified him as an actor’s actor.
The coverage of Nimoy’s (and Spock’s) death from major news sources is a remarkable testaments to the iconic actor’s life; however, the buzz surrounding Nimoy’s passing that is manifest on multiple hashtags throughout Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets is more impressive. A Crow’s View sees the outpouring of love from family, friends, co-stars and fans as the best demonstration of a life well-lived.
Nimoy’s last tweet says it best, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.” As a lifelong Trek fan, I wish to extend my condolences to Mr. Nimoy’s family. Live long and prosper.