A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
It’s with a heavy heart that I report that actor and director Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Spock in the Star Trek series, has passed away at the age of 83. The man who originated the role, and really became the heart and soul of the series through its entire run, died Friday morning in his home in Bel Air, California, his wife confirmed. The actor had announced last year that he had lung disease from smoking for so long thirty years prior.
Nimoy was a profound actor, and became an icon of the science fiction genre. Before being cast in Star Trek, Nimoy would guest star in a lot of the most popular shows of the time, including but not limited to, Dragnet, The Untouchables, and The Virginian. But it was the role of Spock in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek that would make him a household name, while also earning him a place in our hearts forever. The highly logical Vulcan would become one of science fiction’s most well known and beloved characters, for his straight forward nature, and his friendship with Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner. Nimoy would portray the character of Spock over a hundred times of the course of the Star Trek series in live action and animated form, from 1966 to 2013, with his final appearance coming in J.J. Abrams’ 2013 film, Star Trek Into Darkness. It was Nimoy’s Spock who would play the anchoring role in the Abrams’ rebooted timeline as Spock Prime, our link back to the original series in the original timeline, and being the only actor from that universe to appear in this new timeline.
While Star Trek will always continue to be Nimoy’s most well recognized role, he followed up the series with many memorable performances, many of which have stuck in geek culture. He’d go on to guest star in many shows including Columbo and Night Gallery, while taking over the role of Paris in Mission: Impossible, replacing Martin Landau, for two seasons. His role as Dr. William Bell in the J.J. Abrams produced Fringe would mark his biggest return to TV in some time, becoming one his most memorable roles. It would also ultimately be one his last. He also lent his vocal talents to Sentinel Prime in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, being on the highlights of the film.
But Nimoy’s work in front of the camera wasn’t his only passion. He also had a rather strong, albeit short career behind the camera as well, directing two of the most popular Star Trek films, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and Star Trek III: The Voyage Home. In 1987, he would direct Ted Danson, Tom Selleck, and Steve Guttenberg in the comedy hit Three Men and a Baby, which had a follow up film that Nimoy didn’t direct. Just a few years ago, there was talk about a third film in the series, Three Men and a Bride, with the possibility of Nimoy returning to direct if they could get a script together that everyone liked. Unfortunately, it seems it would not come to fruition, and Nimoy would never direct another film.
Nimoy was also an avid advocate of science, bringing its importance to the masses in a way that many couldn’t. He had a theater in Griffith Observatory named after him, where he also hosts and narrates a show about the observatory’s history. He would spend his time tweeting about many new scientific breakthroughs, sharing the work of many like NASA and other scientists were working on. His love science and helping mankind shown through, even in his final months. He was a man who wanted nothing more than to make the world a better place in anyway he could, even if it just meant sharing knowledge with those who wouldn’t normally be looking for it.
To me, Leonard Nimoy was much more than just Spock. He was an extraordinary human being in every sense of the word. Not only did he embrace his fans, and the role of Spock for the better part of almost fifty years, but continued to bring joy and happiness to those around him. He loved his fans, and they loved him more, and he never forgot what was most important. Even in his retired years, he continued doing the things he loved, embracing and enjoying life, even amidst his health problems. This man defined my childhood, was someone I admired and respected, and someone I honestly never thought could die. For the twenty five years I’ve been alive, Nimoy has showered me with entertainment, knowledge, and a thirst for being better. He made me believe that we could all be better, do great things, and make something incredible out the world; we just had to work for it. His loss isn’t one that hurts me just as an icon of the geek counterculture, but as a hero, and dare I say mentor. I feel like I’ve lost a family member today who always believed in me, the amazing work I could do, and always pushed me to be better. I’m completely and utterly heartbroken at his passing, but I will never forget him. I have been – and always shall be – your fan, Mr. Nimoy. Live long and prosper.