All of us at Blastr were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Leonard Nimoy, a giant in the sci-fi world lost to the rest of us at age 83. To those who grew up with Star Trek, it was almost like losing a family member ... but rather than mourn the absence, we want to celebrate the joy he brought us in his time on this pale blue dot. Read below for our writers' recollections of their favorite Leonard Nimoy moments, then join the celebration and share yours in the comments.
Leonard Nimoy was Spock for only three years on television, but multiple appearances in films, videogames and even more television cemented him in my mind as the intelligent Vulcan forever. Some people make the world a better place by being in it. I think his work promoting the idea that people should rely on their rational choices rather than going with their gut will continue to make the world a better place. More than any person I've ever met in real life, Nimoy informed my taste in men. Since he became my TV boyfriend, I've fallen for intelligent men in real life and married a man whose ability to think his way through every situation would make Spock proud. I interviewed Nimoy once, and he told me, "I have a great life." His death feels like a punch in the gut to me, but I take comfort in knowing, to use the phrase that's about to headline every obituary, he lived long and prospered.
I don't know if there was a single Nimoy or Spock moment that really is the one -- it's more that the figure of Mr. Spock and the larger universe of Star Trek towered over my formative years in a way that I'm not even sure I can articulate. I learned to read through the old James Blish novelizations of the original series episodes (which were also my gateway to sci-fi literature in general); my earliest life memory is actually watching Star Trek with my beloved and long-gone grandfather. Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock provided escape, wisdom, adventure, friendship and education for this little boy, who was often lonely and shy in those days. They also provided father figures in a way -- very important to a child of a broken home. Later, as an adult, I came to respect the man who wore the ears even more for his other accomplishments in life, the compassion and humanity that came through in his interviews, and his protective stance toward Star Trek's original vision of a better future. But if I had to pick one moment that crystallized all this for me, it was probably Spock's death in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. As I choked up in the darkened theater, I was shocked at how strongly this character had impacted and moved me over the years. And now we are living through that moment again -- this time for real. Safe travels, sir, as you head into the true final frontier.
Aside from his work as the spirit and soul of the Star Trek franchise, I most recall Leonard Nimoy beaming into our suburban California living room with his paranormal program, In Search Of.... Every week, I'd watch with sustained awe and a Salisbury steak TV dinner in my lap and listen to Nimoy tell me fantastic tales of mysterious creatures, historic ghosts and strange disappearances. His authoritative style and mesmerizing voice made me believe in the weird and the unexplained in a way my blossoming geek brain couldn't deny. The show ran from 1977 to 1982 and was an addictive rush of Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness monster and the Bermuda Triangle, presented by a trusted host I'd traveled to the stars with in weekend reruns of Star Trek. I thank Nimoy for his triggering of my burgeoning teenage imagination.
I think we can all agree that the highlight of Leonard Nimoy's career as an entertainer was his portrayal of a guy who really loves Bilbo Baggins. As he was in the middle of Star Trek production, he bears his usual Spock hairstyle in the video for his rollicking tribute to The Hobbit's protagonist. Strangely, he does not wear the pointy ears, although women in the video wear either Spock or hobbit ears. This leads us to the conclusion that Star Trek occurs in the same universe as the Hobbit, a notion that has occupied most of our daydreaming for the last 45 years -- the Klingons' cloaking device must have been reverse-engineered from that crazy magic ring, right? Thoughts like these shaped my life. Thank you and goodbye, Leonard Nimoy. I hope you enjoy exploring humanity's true final frontier.
It'd be ridiculous to say that I didn't know Leonard Nimoy first and foremost as Spock -- a sensitive, nuanced, inspiring rendering of a character that could have easily been junk in the wrong hands. But since that's likely going to be what the rest of the world focuses on, I'd like to touch on a lesser-known, but no less awesome, Nimoy role: Galvatron in Transformers: The Movie. It takes a heck of a voice to follow Frank Welker's take on the iconic Megatron, but when Unicron metamorphosed the mortally wounded Decepticon leader into a new, Leonard Nimoy-voiced form, a classic Transformers villain was born. He announced his arrival by straight-up murdering Starscream, the prelude of which was Nimoy's stone-cold delivery of the line, "Coronation, Starscream? This is bad comedy." Of course, there's only so seriously one can take a film featuring two songs by Stan Bush, but Nimoy -- along with Orson Welles, whose work as Unicron Nimoy finished when Welles passed away -- brought a gravitas that elevated the material and made it resonate for this young (at the time) Transformers fan.
Though Star Trek is the obvious franchise that comes to mind, one of my favorite Leonard Nimoy memories stems from his much more recent work on Fox's criminally underrated Fringe. Framed around alternate universes and some of the strangest stuff this side of The X-Files, Fringe threw a whole bunch of cool ideas at the wall and wasn't afraid to get weird. One of the most ambitious moves found Nimoy stunt-cast in the oft-spoken-of-but-rarely-seen role of Dr. William Bell, a linchpin of all the insanity that befell the world of Fringe. Nimoy took the role and ran with it, creating one of the most deliciously mysterious and memorable characters in modern sci-fi. It was amazing to see that all those decades since his turn as everyone's favorite Vulcan, Nimoy still had more than enough talent and humility to take on a small role in a low-rated, but beloved, sci-fi series and knock it clean out of the park. His shocking introduction in the season-one finale cliffhanger is still one of the best moments of television ever filmed. R.I.P., Leonard, we'll always have Over There.
Wrath of Khan has always been one of my favorite movies in no small part because Spock's character informs so much of my own morality. And without Leonard Nimoy, Spock could never have had that ability to engage me. Because Leonard Nimoy really is Spock. His love of science, his selflessness, his dry wit ... never mind the words in the script; without Nimoy there is no Spock. So it's impossible to divorce the man from the role in my mind. And when Spock sacrificed himself to save the Enterprise in Wrath of Khan, he made me realize that there is no more human act than laying down your life to protect the people you love. That ability defines the best in humanity. Leonard Nimoy taught us all that. And in that way, he's really not dead -- as long as we remember him.
My father was (and is) an Original Series purist, so I can't remember a time when Leonard Nimoy's face wasn't on my TV screen. I wore out a tape of the Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror" as a kid, and I was heartbroken by Spock's death in Wrath of Khan, even though I already knew, because we'd watched the films out of order, that he wasn't really gone for good. I will remember Nimoy as Spock, as the voice of the mystery series In Search Of..., as Dr. William Bell on Fringe, and as the most interesting part of Futurama's head museum. What will always stand out above the rest for me, though, is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In my mind, it is inarguably the best Trek film ever made, and Nimoy directed it. Something about Spock's logical approach to the world has always been comforting to me, and now knowing he was the guiding hand behind my favorite Star Trek film will forever be a comfort.
A few years ago, I had the privilege to meet Leonard Nimoy at a Las Vegas Star Trek convention. I didn't know if I wanted to go at the time, because those events are always crazy as heck, and I really hate crowds. But I went anyway because, well, I love Star Trek and have always been a Trekkie at heart, ever since I was a kid. And I also knew that both Nimoy and William Shatner were not getting any younger and thought it would be my last chance to meet them. Nimoy struck me as a quiet man, but he was kind and polite and smiling to the fans who waited in line (and it was a VERY long line) in order to get pictures or items signed by him and Shatner. I was so nervous at the time; I can't even remember what I said to him, exactly, aside from the standard: It's such an honor to meet you, sir, etc. etc. And even worse, I can't remember what he said back to me! But yes, he did say something. And I'm sure it was all very nice, or else I would have remembered that. But today, words don't really matter. What truly matters here, now, is remembering the great man himself, Leonard Nimoy. Thank you for the memories, sir.
To single out Leonard Nimoy Star Trek memories is impossible for me, but what makes me think of him fondly are all of the behind-the-scenes photos and footage that show Nimoy smiling or laughing, showing what a joyful and fun guy he was, which was the opposite of Spock. However, the power and calming effect in his voice has always been understated. His voice acting in Transformers: The Movie as Galvatron always stuck with me. It's not easy to upstage Orson Wells and Frank Welker in that franchise, but Nimoy did, as did his guest appearance in the classic episode of The Simpsons "Marge vs. The Monorail." Yet what remains the coolest use of his voice lies in Information Society's 1988 hit, "What's On Your Mind," in which a sample of one of Nimoy's lines ("Pure Energy" in Star Trek Episode 126, "Errand of Mercy") elevated the listener into outer space.
My first remembrance of Mr. Nimoy was as the foreboding narrator of In Search of.... My parents watched the series religiously, and I can still, to this day, remember how I felt hearing his ominous intonations as the mysterious case of the week unfolded on TV. I've never quite recovered from the Amityville Horror episode (Oct. 4, 1979), no joke. My other exposure to Mr. Nimoy was when my cousin indoctrinated me into the world of Star Trek via her obsession with the original series and then the books and films. She required that I immerse myself in all things Enterprise and even passed me the novelization of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as mandatory reading. I fell in love with the character of Spock via that process and cried like a baby when in ST: TWoK I watched Spock sacrifice himself in the radiation chamber, with Kirk falling apart on the other side. I had the honor to interview him several times for outlets, including his last in-depth interview ever for the official Star Trek Magazine. During our chat, I was struck by how funny, wise and self-deprecating he was, while still being serious about his engagement with the world and the gifts the role of Mr. Spock had afforded him. My takeaway from him was to always be generous with your art because it makes life richer. LLAP, Mr. Nimoy. This world is richer and delightfully nerdier because of you.
Star Trek was the series that inspired my love of sci-fi as a kid, and though it was only later that I caught up with the original series, I remember watching the films with my family and particularly loving Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That movie contains some of the finest work of Leonard Nimoy as Spock and just captured so much about that character. Sure, Spock was logical and in control of his emotions, but the scene where he sacrifices himself for the Enterprise and her crew is so full of emotion. You can feel the pain and love as Spock and Kirk speak for the final time. It's unforgettable. I'm recently rewatching Star Trek: The Original Series on Netflix, which has reminded me of so many amazing Spock moments, but this one will always remain with me the strongest.
I knew Spock before I knew who Leonard Nimoy was. My father is a Star Trek fan, and when I was 5 years old or younger, we named our pointy-eared pup Vulcan. After Trek, I fell in love with him all over again as the host of In Search Of.... The repeats of that show had a significant impact on my fascination with all things unexplained and paranormal. In fact, I ended up hosting a Travel Channel series with a producer who started his career on Nimoy's show; you can bet I was constantly peppering him with questions about working with the TV icon. From The Simpsons to Fringe, a Nimoy appearance made everything better. My most recent memory of Nimoy was the most personal: When I hosted a video Skype panel with him at Chicago Comic Con last summer. Even though it was a virtual meet-and-greet, it was an honor to converse with him and listen to Mr. Spock sing with his grandson. Live long and prosper, Leonard. You are, and always will be, our friend.