Nimoy says he was wrong when he said 'I Am Not Spock' in the '70s

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Dec 17, 2012, 3:16 PM EST

In 1975, Leonard Nimoy published his memoir I Am Not Spock and drew instant ire from many first-generation Trekkies who thought he was rejecting his ties to the iconic Vulcan. That was never the point, but these days Nimoy's willing to admit that he probably should have called the book something else.

In an upcoming interview in Star Trek Magazine, Nimoy calls the semi-infamous titling a "big mistake," and explains that the genesis of the name was an airport encounter with a fan that resulted in a confused little boy.

"I wrote a chapter in that book about how I was identified in an airport by a lady who introduced me to her child as Mr. Spock. This child looked at me and did not see Mr. Spock. So I wrote a chapter about the difference between myself and the character in an effort to give the readers some insight into how an actor goes about building a character. It's partially from him or herself and it's partially from using elements of other people we may know. I called that chapter, 'I Am Not Spock,' meaning simply that I'm an actor who portrays Spock and this is how I go about doing it."

Despite its innocent basis, the title of the book alone was enough to get some fans riled that Nimoy would seemingly reject the character that made him a star. But even if he had felt some animosity toward the role in '75, he certainly didn't in later years. He co-starred in six feature films as the character between 1979 and 1991, directing two of them, and even saddled up for a little more than a cameo appearance in J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot.

Nimoy's not happy with himself for giving the book its somewhat provocative title, but he stands by the distinction he made between himself and the character, and he notes that the rest of the book includes quite a tribute to the Vulcan.

"In the same book, I said if I was given a chance to identify with any character on television, I would choose Spock. I admire him, I like him and I respect him. I would rather be identified with Spock than any other character on television. But the mistake I made was in using that title, 'I Am Not Spock,' as the title of the book. People assumed I was rejecting Spock and Star Trek but they didn't read the book. If you read the book, you'll find quite the opposite."

(Via MTV Geek)