Remembering Leonard Nimoy
Yes, Mr. Spock was an influential character. Yes, Star Trek has a huge fandom. But let's remember that the man did something else with his life, OK?
Your humble author will throw editorial distance out the window and confess that his earliest childhood memories of television were of curling up into a ball in front of a static-snowing black-and-white TV with bent rabbit-ears antenna, watching Leonard Nimoy on TV. Not just in Star Trek, but in Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and much later as the spellbinding narrator to the TV-tabloid show In Search Of.... Not just Star Trek, but science fiction as a whole, played a great role in shaping the person he is today, and Nimoy was the gateway to that world.
Here's just one episode of In Search Of... to showcase Nimoy's narrative prowess:
For a kid born in the late 1960s, the Kennedy assassination was a faint legend. It was difficult to understand what all the adults were talking about. But Nimoy could take a dry history subject and turn it into a fascinating quest for answers. It tells you something that Rod Serling was the original narrator for In Search Of..., and Nimoy was selected as his successor after Serling passed away.
Oh, he acted on TV outside Star Trek? You have no idea. Here he is on Bonanza, very far from starships and pointy ears:
But hey, most of his early TV career was indeed work-a-day bit parts and filler. In fact, the Enterprise wasn't even the first stage that William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy shared together. No, that distinction goes to... would you believe, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.?
There's even a whole generation who remembers Nimoy better as the voice of Galvatron in the transformers franchise:
Not only that, but his interests stretched from photography to poetry. Among his works are his famous paradoxical pair of biographies, I Am Spock and I Am Not Spock, and works of poetry You & I and We Are All Children Searching for Love: A Collection of Poems and Photographs.
Oh, and (because we're posted it before so why not?) singing...
Sure, it strikes you as corny and 60s. But really, you have to admit it: Everything Nimoy did was filled with light and love and wonder.
The point here, is that this isn't just a bunch of Trekkie nerds mourning one whom arguably brought the deepest, most detailed alien character ever portrayed in media to life. Nimoy had many careers and talents - any one of which would have been more than enough to fill a biography. The fact that he mellowed in his twilight years like a fine oak-casked sherry into a stand-alone celebrity widely recognized the world over is just a testament to how well-rounded he was. Even until his final tweet, he inspired.
In the end, it turns out that the Shatner spiel opening the original Star Trek was no fantasy. In many ways, Leonard Nimoy really did boldly go where no man had gone before.