When first hearing of Leonard Nimoy’s passing, it takes a little time to absorb. Naturally people first think of his role as Spock, from the Star Trek series and movie saga. Most fans who followed Nimoy begin remembering his voice and persona from things completely unrelated to the television series, the movies, or (almost) anything that Spock was. We feel the depth and extent of the loss of a great actor, educator, and science advocate.
Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston in 1931. He was the son of a barber and homemaker, both immigrants from Ukraine (then a part of the Soviet Union). Leonard began his acting career at the age of 8 in local theaters, although his father wished him to be an accordion player. In 1977 Leonard earned his M.A. in Education from Antioch College, and later received honorary doctorates for his work in Holocaust remembrance, the arts, and environment. Through his passion for acting, education and activism, Nimoy lived a long and prosperous life.
Years after perfecting the “Vulcan Nerve Pinch” on TV, Nimoy became a prominent scientific advocate. Leonard also provided voice-overs and narrations for science documentaries, such as The Once and Future Griffith Observatory, Next Wave. He even hosted the investigative series In Search Of… For many people, his natural character became the de-facto voice of science and logic. His inherent ability to narrate and describe scientific phenomena sparked millions of people to pursue, at the very least, an interest in our known universe.
After reaching stardom, he went on to to touch different aspects of our lives. He would occasionally direct a light-hearted feature film, such as Three Men and a Baby. But beyond film and TV work, Nimoy was an art collector, and also made profound contributions to photography. One of his best known works, The Full Body Project, is a portfolio which challenges contemporary thought of beauty and the female body. In fact, all through his career, he showed support for women’s rights. He even helped get Nichelle Nichols equal pay as her male co-stars, a daring feat considering the time… the late 1960s. His contributions to gender equality were both bold and long-standing. Leonard Nimoy stood up for his personal beliefs, a quality we all should respect and admire.
His success in television, movies and the arts in general didn’t come without difficulties, and none that he was afraid to admit. In 2001 Nimoy revealed to the public that he had attended rehab in his struggle with alcoholism. Nimoy also spent his later years encouraging people to quit smoking, a habit he broke decades earlier but still contributed to his devastating battle with COPD.
Leonard Nimoy’s legacy still lives with us. As soon as his death was confirmed NASA Tweeted, “RIP Leonard Nimoy. So many of us were inspired by Star Trek. Boldly go…”
Nimoy’s legacy left us a call to action – to try and make the world a better and more equal place. His values permeated through his roles in both film and television, reaching audiences of many millions. And thankfully, so many of the earlier Star Trek series are streamable on Netflix, and the old movies, such as Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (which Nimoy directed) are still shown regularly on SyFy, so he will be kept close in memory. Although his loss is great, it is important to remember his achievements so that we all might overcome our obstacles and strive for a better world.
Leonard Nimoy – Wikimedia Creative Commons
Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner – Wikimedia Public Domain
Guest Author Bio
Kate Voss is a freelance entertainment writer from Chicago who loves restoring antique furniture. Her most recent project was upcycling her mother’s old trunk to be used as a coffee table.