Leonard Nimoy has reportedly died
More later, but it is with great sadness that we report that Leonard Nimoy has reportedly died.
We were Spock.
That was part of the incredible talent, wisdom, and (yes, illogically) magic that was Leonard Nimoy.
Geeks everywhere understood Spock. That idea of being different, of not fitting in, but of being seen by others as being superior in certain ways…and nonexistent in others.
While there is no denying the contributions of writers (including Theodore Sturgeon) and producer Gene Roddenberry, Nimoy contributed important elements to the Spock mythos.
Certainly, the Vulcan salute was Nimoy’s. More importantly, though, Nimoy didn’t think Spock should simply punch somebody, and invented the Vulcan nerve pinch. This nonviolent and scientific way of temporarily disabling an enemy really resonated with many of us. It wasn’t dependent on strength (even though Spock’s was superhuman), it didn’t damage…it simply allowed intellect and technique to defeat physicality.
As the old 1960s bumper sticker said, “I grok Spock”…Nimoy did.
Nimoy also understood Star Trek in general…perhaps better than anyone else who directed the original cast in a Trek movie (Nimoy directed two of them).
While many people cite Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as their favorite TOS (The Original Series) movie, which is understandable, it is reasonable to argue that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, may have been the best at capturing the spirit of the original.
Think about the “character moments” in the Star Trek movie series, where somebody besides Kirk or Spock get the spotlight. Scotty trying to talk to a 1980s computer. Chekov asking people on the street, in a Russian accent, during the Cold War, where he could find the “nuclear wessels”.
Even Kirk telling the crew to “remember where we parked” an invisible ship illustrates Kirk beautifully…and while you credit Shatner the actor for the delivery, you have to credit Nimoy the director for the impact of the scene.
When Nimoy wrote I Am Not Spock (at AmazonSmile*: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), it wasn’t to say that Spock didn’t exist or that the actor wanted nothing to do with the character. It was to say that there were two of them…Spock and Nimoy, and that they weren’t exactly the same.
Certainly, Nimoy (actor, director, singer, photographer, mentor, inspiration) made great contributions to the world even if we removed Spock from the resume. Yes, that included mainstream works and recognition: playing Theo Van Gogh, and being nominated for an Emmy (his fourth nomination, after three for Spock) in A Woman Called Golda.
Other geek-friendly credits include:
- Francis (the talking mule) Goes to West Point
- Zombies of the Stratosphere
- The Brain Eaters
- Twilight Zone
- The Outer Limits
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
- Get Smart
- Mission:Impossible (as Paris, the magician/master of disguise)…multi-season role, essentially taking over from Martin Landau
- Night Gallery
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the Donald Sutherland remake)
- Faerie Tale Theatre
- The Transformers: The Movie
- The Pagemaster (as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
- The Simpsons
- The First Men in the Moon (TV movie)
- The Lost World (TV movie)
- Brave New World (TV movie)
- Invasion America (TV series)
- Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire
- Civilization IV (videogame)
- Land of the Lost (the remake with Will Ferrell)
- Kingdom Hearts (videogame series as Master Xehanort)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (as Sentinel Prime)
- The Big Bang Theory
- The recent Star Trek movies (as Spock Prime)
The Measured Circle also can not fail to mention Nimoy’s role as the narrator of In Search of… (and later, History’s Mysteries). We had come to trust Nimoy, in some ways, and certainly to see him as science oriented. Having him as the host of this series gave it credibility in a way that many other people would not.
That all only scratches the surface of this remarkable life. Leonard Nimoy directed 3 Men and a Baby, a very successful mainstream comedy. Nimoy had hit records. However, it may be the way he interacted with other people that will be his greatest legacy.
Look at the reactions in social media to his passing. See the stories, from stars, from scientists…and from geeks like me.
I had a hard time figuring out what to say. Spock has been one of my fictional heroes, but I knew much more about Nimoy (without ever having met him) than that. I found a particular resonance in a quote from the series:
“Parted from me and never parted, never and always touching and touched.” Goodbye, Leonard Nimoy: in some way, we were all Spock. Thank you
I will always carry Spock with me.
Goodbye, Leonard Nimoy…the world is simply less without you.
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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.
This post originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.