Saturday, February 28, 2015

He lived long. . . WE prospered : Remembering Leonard Nimoy

 It's difficult to put into words the impact that the death of Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy had on the science fiction community. The outpouring of love for the iconic actor from both friends and fans on social media has been overwhelming proving Captain Kirk's assessment that "How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life."
Nimoy on stage, New York, Jan. 1987
For myself, Leonard Nimoy was a staple of my childhood. Along with Star Wars, Star Trek held my fascination as a young boy enthralled with all things science fiction. With each successive film, my enchantment grew to near-obsessiveness, culminating with my first time attending a Star Trek Convention in January of 1987, just after the phenomenal success of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Dubbed the "Spock family reunion", Nimoy appeared at New York's Penta hotel along with "parents" Mark Lenard and Jane Wyatt. The main auditorium where Nimoy appeared was packed full, standing room only. When he took the stage, it was an immediate standing ovation, and the outpouring of love that emanated from the crowd was overwhelming, an almost physical sensation. It was powerful for me, a boy just turned 16. I can only imagine what it must have felt like for him on-stage. Anyone with a camera rushed to the stage to get a picture. The closest I could get was 50 feet. Nimoy spoke for about 45 minutes, and the crowd hung on every word. One would have thought that the Messiah himself had taken the stage.
Directing Star Trek III, 1983

Over the years, Nimoy distinguished himself not only with his acting, but also as a director, producer, poet, photographer, and writer, penning not one, but two autobiographies I am Not Spock, written at the time the Trek series was still on the air, and I Am Spock, a memoir written in the late 90's, reflecting on his varied life and career. He also used his distinctive voice for voice-over work on shows such as In Search Of. . ., the animated Transformers movie, and Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

His death this past week, due to his long-time fight with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) has touched many, celebrity and fan alike. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites came alive with postings all celebrating the man and his work. Zachary Quinto, who played opposite Nimoy in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek said, on Instagram, "My heart is broken. I love you profoundly my dear friend. And I will miss you everyday. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." The entire remaining cast of the original series also had nothing but kind words for their friend and co-star. "I loved him like a brother," William Shatner told ET. "We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love."

Perhaps most poignant were Nimoy's final words to friends and fans, posted on his Twitter account just five days before his death. "A life is like a garden." Mr. Nimoy said. "Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"

We will never see his like again.

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