Some links before getting underway today. Norma wrote about her mind wandering. Yesterday having had been a Friday, Parsnip had a Square Dog Friday. Cheryl had a look at winter in her area. Lynn had snow birds. Mark paid tribute to the subject of today's blog. And the Whisk had a Friday Question.
“My parents came to the US as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Los Angeles, and became an alien.” ~ Leonard Nimoy
“Spock, do you want to know something? Everybody’s human.” ~ James Kirk
“I find that remark… insulting.” ~ Spock
“If I were human, I believe my response would be ‘go to hell.’ If I were human.” ~ Spock
“I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may.” ~ Leonard Nimoy
The world seems a bit less bright today. The passing of a sci-fi legend has that effect. Leonard Nimoy has passed away at home after dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was eighty three, a good age and a mark of a life well lived. An actor and a director, he will be forever linked to a single character and a franchise: Mr. Spock, and Star Trek.
Nimoy came from outsider roots, born in Boston, the son of Russian Orthodox Jewish immigrants. Perhaps that was fitting for the eventual role. He was an actor getting steady parts in a variety of roles when Gene Roddenberry came calling for his series, essentially a pioneer tale set among the stars. Playing the alien was something he wasn’t quite certain of, and in fact he would spend a good deal of his career trying to come to terms with the fame that Spock gave him, and how closely tied it was to his life. The character, a human-Vulcan hybrid, was an outsider, the lone Vulcan in a crew consisting mostly of humans. Spock’s unlikely friendship with Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner, was the bedrock of the series, the two characters vastly different and yet completely in sync with each other (Spock’s regular tendency to annoy Doctor McCoy was another factor in that). He was a contrast to his castmates, his character being a logical figure with a detached, rational world view. And not much of a sense of humour.
The original series ran for three seasons, but found fresh life in syndication, giving the cast an enduring legacy. It would spawn movies, more television series, and a wealth of books and other media. Nimoy would return as Spock eight times in various films, directing the films twice, in the case of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Among his other work, Nimoy would also direct Three Men And A Baby, the comedy about three bachelors suddenly caught up with a baby in their midst, a film that would be hugely successful at the box office and a favourite ever since. In the director's chair, he had a way of bringing out the humanity in the story. That certainly seems to fit with the man himself, who came across as someone of warmth, humour, and empathy.
It was Spock, though, that stuck with him. That sage of a character, the quintessential outsider, seemed to strike a chord with many people, even if they weren’t rabid Star Trek fans. It got to him for a time- he wrote an autobiography in the mid Seventies titled I Am Not Spock, but in time that world view changed, and he seemed to have accepted the fame that came with the character. He would say years later, “I admire him, I like him, and I respect him. I would rather be identified with Spock than any other character on television.” As time moved on, perhaps, it had become more obvious that Star Trek in general and Spock in particular had transcended popular culture and became a classic. To be remembered for such a role and such a character is, after all, a good thing.
I am struck by some of the reactions that I’ve seen on social media. Astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted yesterday “Leonard, you lived long and prospered, and were an inspiration to me and to millions.” Jonathan Frakes, another Star Trek alumni who featured in The Next Generation as Commander Riker, and directed films in the franchise as well, tweeted: “RIP to the best First Officer.” George Takei noted, “Today the world lost a great man and I lost a great friend. We return you now to the stars, Leonard. You taught us to live long and prosper.” William Shatner had this to say: “I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.”
It’s perhaps fitting to leave off with Leonard’s final tweet, dated some days ago. He would have known time was short, and the words strike me as someone who was at peace with that. They’re very wise. “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.”
Rest in peace, Leonard. Thank you. You’ve touched more lives than you know.