Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

It is a time of grieving for Trekkies.  Nimoy isn’t even our only loss this week; we also lost Maurice Hurley, one of the primary shapers of The Next Generation, and creator of the Borg.  But more than anyone else, even Gene Roddenberry, there’s been a feeling that Leonard Nimoy is Star Trek.  There has been no character from any of the franchise’s many installments as iconic as Mr. Spock, no other character that has so transcended Star Trek and become part of a our general pop culture.  Roddenberry had to fight to keep him on the show after the first pilot, and thank the cosmos he won that battle.  Spock was the alien, the symbol of the great universe out there, that was different from everyone else, but was unquestionably a valued member of the crew, his different way of doing things enriching the group.  He was also a character we humans could still identify with, especially with his story of being of mixed race, and suffering prejudice as a result-a story all too familiar to Nimoy, who suffered from the same in his youth-being an inspiration to outcasts all over the world.  He was also out introduction to the Vulcans, a race vital in shaping the Star Trek universe, one that has always been there and always had their say.  And Nimoy, both by his performance and some of his offscreen influences on the character, played even greater a role in shaping Mr. Spock than most actors do.  Mr. Spock would never have been Mr. Spock without Leonard Nimoy.  Even when another actor took over the role for the reboot, Nimoy was still there to guide the new Spock on his way, and the new James Kirk too, and he more than anything else gave the movies the feeling that there was a true connection between them and all that had gone before.

That would be enough of an accomplishment for any man, but it wasn’t Nimoy’s only one.  He played other roles too, some of them remarkable indeed.  There was also his work as a director and as a photographer, and in the latter he made a point of photographing women with unusual body types and portraying them as just as worthy of being photographed as those who looked more socially acceptable.  And a poet; his final public act was to tweet some worthy final words to leave us with.

His was a long and prosperous life.  RIP.

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