Fridays are usually gleeful days; days where we skip to work, happy in the solace that we stand poised on the precipice of the weekend. But every so often, we happen upon a Friday that truly sucks—like today’s Friday. A news story broke, causing my inner geek to pause. I saw the story via The New York Times. The headline read, “Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek’, Dies at 83.”
A Legend Passes
Leonard Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 26, 1931. According to Wikipedia, his mother was a homemaker and his father a barbershop owner.
Best known for his role as the Star Trek character Spock, Nimoy himself was a memorable character. His gaunt face and striking image were logically unforgettable, and his portrayal of Spock launched him into a status of global worship from cult-like fans around the world.
Nimoy’s wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed her husband’s death today. His passing was the result of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a disease he announced battling only last year. Attributed to years of smoking, a habit he kicked three decades earlier, he was hospitalized earlier in the week. It resonates that only Monday he tweeted:
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
Spock and More
It was Spock who made Nimoy a star. Premiering on NBC on September 8, 1966, Star Trek made an unrivaled mark in the industry surpassed only by its effect on the lives of millions of devout fans. The creator of the franchise, Gene Roddenberry, often referred to him as “the conscience of ‘Star Trek’.” Despite the original series being canceled after only three seasons, it stood strong with a spinoff animated series and a succession of movies starring most of the original television cast.
The franchise grew into a handful of television series, a battery of movies, and a following few other franchises can rival. In 2009, director J.J. Abrams revived the film franchise with a revisit and revamp to the original Star Trek universe. Spock’s role was taken up by Zachary Quinto, and Nimoy appeared in a cameo part as an older version of Spock. He later appeared in the 2013 follow-up where one of the most iconic scenes was reenacted with a twist. Here’s the original followed by the 2013 remake:
But Leonard Nimoy was not just Spock. His career spanned so much more, a fact few often saw beneath the umbrella of Star Trek. He had a passion for entertaining and enlightening, a passion that carried his career across genres and left millions inspired.
The most comprehensive coverage of Nimoy’s career can be found at IMDB.com. Here are the highlights I’ve found most inspirational over the years:
- Fringe: The show caught my eye back in 2009, and I have to say Fringe was superb. The characters, the stories, the downright creepy craziness of it were epic. It captivated and fascinated. Nimoy took the role of Dr. William Bell, a role he owned with a class and finesse I strongly doubt anyone else could have brought to the part.
- The Big Bang Theory: One of my all-time favorite television comedies, the main character (Sheldon Cooper) is positively obsessed with Leonard Nimoy because of his portrayal of Mr. Spock. It bordered on stalker-ish. In 2012, in the episode “The Transporter Malfunction,” Nimoy’s voice was uncredited but present.
- Transformers: In Dark of the Moon, Nimoy lent his voice to Sentinel Prime. I’m a huge Transformers nerd, and his voice literally sent shivers down my spine.
- General Hospital: Dating back to 1963, Nimoy held the role of Bernie. I adored the role. To me, it shows his humble beginnings prior to the stardom explosion of 1966 when he took on the role of Spock.
Over the years, Nimoy has lent his voice to numerous animated and feature films and television shows. He did voiceovers for video games. And if we want to talk awards, the man was nominated for four Primetime Emmys and put another eight wins and ten nominations under his belt! He truly had a prosperous career; one I dare say leaves a great many of us (geeks or otherwise) inspired, motivated, and determined to take our craft to the next level.
Saying Good-Bye to Leonard Nimoy
Parting truly is such sweet sorrow. When I pause to reflect on the man and his career, I’m filled with joy and happiness. His natural talent and hard work brought the world untold treasures in film and literature that will last and continue to inspire for ages, but it’s still so sad to say good-bye.
Our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences go out to the Nimoy family in this shadowed hour, but know that the sadness is merely that; a shadow, which will inevitably fill with the warmth of a new day’s light. We shall carry forth as groundskeepers of a garden where perfect moments continue to blossom, ensuring Mr. Leonard Nimoy is never forgotten and always blooming in our memory.