He was Spock.
That’s what many know, and that was one of the many thoughts that people had when they heard of the death of Leonard Nimoy. By his own admission Spock was a part of him, and in turn he brought life to the alien that he played. Without his intervention the half-human, half Vulcan science officer would have been very different. The Vulcan salute, so often accompanied with the statement “Live long and prosper”, never would have graced our screens.
He was Spock. As Spock once pointed out, all living things perform according to their gifts. Leonard Nimoy performed according to his own gifts and was a director too, being responsible for bringing two Star Trek films to the big screen – one of which, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, is still considered the movie in the series with the most heart and warmth. It’s also the one which gave him a platform to address environmental issues that concerned him. Then he directed Three Men And A Baby, a comedy which became the biggest box office hit of 1987, as well as a variety of TV shows.
But he was Spock.
Even though he starred in many shows, plays and movies, one character in particular was iconic and would always stay with him. Yet Nimoy was also a writer. And a singer. And a photographer. And a poet. And…
Summing up Leonard Nimoy by the achievements in his career is one way of looking at things, because he did so much. Another would be to talk about his life as a husband, father and grandfather. Or the things he did, like being dubbed “the conscience of Star Trek” for taking on the cause of pay equality for Nichelle Nichols and urging that his fellow Star Trek co-stars be hired for voice-over work on the animated series. Or…
Again, none of that says enough about him and who he was. But it does go some way towards pointing out the wonderful quality of human being that he was.
The statements and condolences from family, friends and others have been numerous. Co-stars and astronauts, politicians, presidents and fans, the influence of his life and work on so many is impossible to ignore. Like others, I’ve found my own conversations with friends steering in the direction of the sad fact that Leonard Nimoy is no longer with us, a fact that’s so hard to believe that it seems almost illogical.
Quotes from both Nimoy, Spock and Star Trek in general have been going through my head since I heard the news. He isn’t really dead as long as we remember him;I have been, and always shall be, your friend;Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human;Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory;We are one;Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end;Tell her… I feel fine.
And of course, the words that Spock spoke but that Nimoy used as his own personal credo: Live long and prosper.
The words are there, but they still don’t fill the hole that the loss of Leonard Nimoy has created in me, and I’m sure it’s the same for countless others all over the world. In time it’ll be better, and that sense of loss will ease, but the memory of him won’t ever disappear. From his work he inspired us. From his actions he supported us. Things like that are impossible to forget, whether we’re seeing Spock on screen or not.
Yes, he was Spock, but he was so much more than just the character he played, the character we love.
He was Leonard Nimoy. And he has been, and always shall be, our friend.