Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015): He Who Was Spock and Lived Long and Prospered

It is with a heavy heart full of illogical human emotion that I absorb and reflect upon the passing today of Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy.

True to the philosophy of his half-human, half-Vulcan alter ego Spock, Nimoy lived long and prospered for 83 amazing years.

Although he was an accomplished and versatile actor, writer, director, and producer both on and off Star Trek – in addition to releasing music, poetry, and photography – he will forever be synonymous with Spock, whom he portrayed in the original Star Trek television series (1966-1969), the animated series (1973-1975), two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991), and eight feature films (1979-1991, 2009, 2013).

I was born four years after the original TV show ended, so I couldn’t enjoy it during its initial broadcast run, and I was too young to be aware of and comprehend the animated series. But starting when I was nine years old and beginning with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in 1982 (I missed Star Trek: The Motion Picture in theaters in 1979), my family had a blast going to the cinema to watch the new adventures of the original cast on the big screen every two or three years. Even though these actors’ exploits had begun seven years before I arrived on the scene, their continuing treks sustained me from grammar school through college.

A real highlight and thrill for me happened when, in 1997, I had the privilege and honor of interviewing Nimoy by telephone. At the time, he and John de Lancie (Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation and other Star Trek shows) were staging radio plays in the spirit of Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre (famous for the infamous, mass hysteria-inducing War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938). The office I conducted the interview from was right next to the movie theater where my family saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, featuring Nimoy and his original costars, 15 years earlier.

While the new Kirk and Spock Star Trek movies are the best Star Trek movies since the original Kirk and Spock movies and continue a great tradition and legacy, they can never recapture or replace the magic of the original cast, a magic that briefly resurfaced when Nimoy returned to his classic role of Spock twice more in the latest feature films.

Nimoy was so much more than Spock and Star Trek, but we all love and will miss him because of Spock and Star Trek. To paraphrase one of Nimoy’s popular sayings as Spock from the earlier movies, he has been and always shall be our friend. And to quote Dr. McCoy from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, “He’s really not dead as long as we remember him.”

May Leonard Nimoy’s katra live long and prosper, as Nimoy himself certainly did in this life.

--Raj Manoharan

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