On Friday, Leonard Nimoy died. It bothered me more than I would have expected.
I was never much of a Star Trek fan. The original television series always felt remote to me (pretty much because it wasn’t Star Wars) and Spock, with his weird bangs and pointy ears, was the kind of 1960s low-effort alien that bored me as a kid. He was the personification of a way of thinking and I was more interested in the shape of things back then. The fact that he didn’t have an exoskeleton and multiple arms was a serious downer.
The older I get, the more I come to appreciate the original Trek. It was an important show and a good portion of that is down to Spock, one of the great characters of the 20th century.
It is the documentary series In Search Of… that I found myself thinking about on Friday, though. Airing from 1977 to 1982, and living on forever in syndication, In Search Of… investigated mysterious phenomenon, like UFO encounters and the Loch Ness Monster. It did this with a distinctly trippy, horror-film style, often using elaborate reconstructions and a memorable moog-centric soundtrack. For me, Nimoy’s deep voice will be forever associated with those mysteries, with monsters and ghosts. It was key in developing my interest in all things weird. (I highly recommend Bigfoot and Amityville, if you want to check some out)
It was the loss of Nimoy himself rather than his legacy that saddened me the most, though. He had a long, strange career (directing Three Men and a Baby? That Bilbo Baggins song?) that he never seemed to take too seriously – he loved what he did but always did what he loved (even if that was sometimes perplexing to outsiders). He seemed thoughtful about life in a way that strikes me as rare in the entertainment business. Can Hollywood really afford to lose a man whose last tweet was, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.”
I think not.
– Stu Horvath
While most may reference Star Trek or In Search Of…, for me, one of Mr. Nimoy’s biggest contributions was his turn in the absolutely terrifying yet bombastically overlooked (in the pantheon of great horror films and/or remakes) Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Playing off his small screen persona, his coolly intellectual character blended seamlessly with the audience’s has-he-turned-or-not guess work while facing off against Jeff Goldblum and Donald Sutherland.
And with that, his greatest line from Trek: “I am what I am… And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”
– Matt Giaquinto
Now is the time to journey home to tell of what I’ve learned
My people I believe have every right to be concerned
For in spite of computers and advanced psychology
Behavior patterns are still a mystery
I predict the future of this earthly human race
Is that having made a mess of earth, they’ll move to outer space
Well, there goes the neighborhood
Totally, completely, absolutely, irrevocably, highly illogical
– from the song “Highly Illogical”
– Matt Marrone
He lived long. He prospered. We should all be so lucky.
“I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”
– Don Becker
“He’s not really dead as long as we remember him.” Dr. Leonard McCoy
– Jason McMaster
In the vast mythos of Star Trek, it really says a lot that one of the first things you think of is Mr. Spock. The cool, logical character played by Leonard Nimoy in so many different iterations of the franchise was one of the first science fiction characters I gravitated towards as a child. The first Trek I saw in the theaters was Star Trek IV, directed by Mr. Nimoy. It’s one of the first live action movies I remember seeing with my father as well, and the movie will always have a place in my heart thanks the fond memories I have of that experience.
There’s so much more to mention as well. In Search Of…, “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins,” Invasion of the Body Snatchers, his artwork and numerous memorable appearances in TV shows like The Simpsons. To partially quote a line from his first Simpsons appearance that always makes me smile: “The cosmic ballet goes on.”
It sure does, Leonard, and you will be missed. Rest in peace.
– Michael Edwards
Leonard Nimoy’s presence in our culture will never be forgotten. Though most fondly remembered for his fictional roles in some of our favorite films and TV shows, I think his his optimism, faith in humanity and philosophy on life is what I will ultimately miss the most. Leonard summed this up best in his final tweet:
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”
Rest easy Leonard. May we all learn to appreciate and treasure life as you did.
– Erik Weinbrecht
One of the first things I remember is my dad teaching me the Vulcan salute. We would watch repeats of Star Trek, and I would wear my black “Spock boots” around the house. As I have said before, we were a Star Trek home.
The summer of 1982, my dad and I saw Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn. I still have the program the theater even gave out that day. In case you don’t know, Spock dies at the end of the movie, sacrificing himself to save the crew. It was a very heavy scene for 8 year old Chuck. At this point in my life I had never even been to a funeral, or heard bagpipes before.
I cried at the end of Wrath of Kahn because Spock died.
After the funeral scene, we see the crew gathered on the bridge for the epilogue of the movie. Dr. McCoy says to Captain Kirk, “He’s really not dead, as long as we remember him.”
That line from McCoy helped me understand what I needed to know about my own life. My dad and I talked and talked after that movie.
Shortly after seeing that movie I visited my mother’s grave for the first time.
– Chuck Moran