In 1931, a son – destined to be a future American icon – was born to Jewish immigrant parents in Boston, Massachusetts. On February 27, 2015, the person who became that icon departed from us. His global legacy may well live on forever. Leonard Nimoy’s death took from us more than the embodiment of a logical and helpful space alien. We also lost a true humanitarian. In addition to being a social activist and friend to the oppressed, Nimoy was also an accomplished film director, poet, singer-songwriter and photographer.
Star Trek came to life in September 1966 right at the height of the Vietnam War. The timing couldn’t have been better for those seeking a distraction from the horrors of that war. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry used the opportunity writing for Star Trek gave him to explore conflicts within the human condition and to try out solutions through various scenarios set in the distant future. Finding successful solutions to life threatening situations gave hope to those who were seeing life and death lived out on television news broadcasts every day. Many of the solutions could be attributed to the calm and logical thinking of Mr. Spock played by Leonard Nimoy. The show had low ratings and was cancelled after just three seasons, but lived on through syndication, several additional continuation series and feature films. Nimoy had a part in all of them and, as a result, has part ownership in the shaping of not just a generation, but an entire global culture enthralled with space related science and science fiction.
Tributes to Star Trek, and specifically Mr. Spock, have been on-going since the 1970’s in the forms of all kinds of merchandise ranging from toys to clothing and accessories recreating his costume. Star Trek fans have organized into clubs and attend conventions by the millions all over the world. The Chicago Tribune reported in 1987 that “Since that dark day in 1969 when NBC brought the programming hammer down on Star Trek, there probably hasn’t been a 24-hour period when the original program, one of the original episodes, wasn’t being aired somewhere.” Since February 27th, people all over the world have been honoring the memory of Leonard Nimoy as “Mr. Spock”. In Canada, Star Trek fans have been “Spocking” their five dollar bills by taking marking pens and turning the picture of Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier into a likeness of Spock.
Leonard Nimoy’s legacy will live longer than most of his current fans, and that in itself is a monumental accomplishment. Like Marlon Brando, the method actor he decided to study and model himself after, everything Nimoy participated in took on a life of its own and thus became bigger than himself. He taught us to consider things in ways we would have never dreamed of and took us to places we would have never dreamed of going. He had a way of taking the gritty things of this earth and turning them into something out of this world. Leonard Nimoy was quoted as saying “The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have.” He practiced what he preached. Leonard Nimoy indeed lived long and prospered and shared all of his life with all of us.
© 2015 Curt Savage Media