Saturday, February 28, 2015

Leonard Nimoy has died. He was born in 1931 and was best known for his acting role on Star Trek but he was also known for saying such memorable things.  We all know him saying “Live long and prosper” but he was very thoughtful about other things too. He said, “I believe in living a creative life, you are the creators and curators of your own lives. You create your own life’s work. Give us the best, the best of your arch. We crave it and we hunger for it. Help us to see ourselves, to know ourselves. Illuminate our lives and keep in mind what Victor Hugo said, popularity is the crumbs of success.”

He also said, “A life is like a garden, perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.” He died at 83 years old from smoking complications even though he quit smoking decades ago.  We all knew him as Mr. Spock his character in the Star Wars series. The New York Times reported that “From the age of 8, Leonard acted in local productions and winning parts at a local community college where he performed through his high school years. In 1949 after taking a summer course at Boston , he  traveled  to Hollywood.

It wasn’t till 1951 that he landed small parts in two movies, ‘Queen for A Day and Rhubarb;.  His first starring role came in 1952 with Kid Monk Baroni,  when  he played a disfigured Italian street-gang leader who becomes a boxer. Already he was being type cast in ethnic tough guy roles. He also served in the Army for two years   and managed to serve as an entertainer for the Armies Special Service Branch.  He received wide visibility on TV shows in the late 1950’s and 1960’s appearing in shows like Wagon Train, Rawhide and Perry Mason. Then came Star Trek.  

Star Trek was not just a space adventure. It was about social issues that were very important to him. He was glad to play the science advisor on the show and not some evil character. He fought for and was proud of the Asian and black woman cast members of the main  team and fought for their characters to be renewed in countless episodes. He played an alien called Vulcan with special powers and was always going through the conflict of what it is to be human vs. Vulcan. It was all believable and we fell for all of it as people were daily witnessing UFO’s daily on their farms.  We don’t hear about that much anymore these days.

It was the first show that dealt with social issues like women in the military, transgenderism and inter-racial marriage. It was Leonard that though of the configuration of the fingers forming the letter V as the greeting for Vulcans. Handshaking was too human. Throughout the years he became so believable as a scientist that often when he would meet a real scientist they would go into extensive detail as to what their research was that they were working on seemingly looking for validation from their TV icon. He often did not have the heart to say that he had no idea what they were looking for. We will miss Leonard Nemoy.

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