Leonard Nimoy, the beloved, gaunt-faced actor who had gained millions of fans worldwide, died Friday morning in his Los Angeles home. He was 83 years old.
Though the original Star Trek was cancelled after only three seasons, Spock had solidified himself in the public mindset. Millions of fans around the world respected, loved, and even pretended to be the famous Vulcan. Each of those fans will have to face the universe with the sobering knowledge that Spock will no longer be there to be the best first officer in all of Starfleet. Though his time on Earth has ended, his story is not done, and we can all hope that Mr. Spock is happy in whatever realm of existence pleases him the most. His work here is done, but he has many more adventures to be a part of.
Nimoy publicly announced last year that he was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which he attributed to years of smoking. Though he had quit his smoking habit over thirty years ago Nimoy said that the damage had already been done.
Though Nimoy initially had issue with his fame being tied to a science fiction character – as he mentions in his 1977 autobiography, I Am Not Spock – he eventually came to terms with his Star Trek fame in his other autobiography, I Am Spock, published in 1995. Finally realizing that “Spock” belonged to the throng of fans who worshiped the logical Vulcan in ways that very few actors ever get to experience in their lifetimes, Nimoy understood that “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
Whether it be fighting off Khan, saving the crew of the Galileo 7, helping to destroy the Doomsday machine, operating on his own brain, fighting off Klingons, or trying to stop Tribbles from breeding – every single episode Nimoy was featured in was an absolute treasure.
Captain Kirk, Helmsman Sulu, Lieutenant Uhura, Ensign Chekov, Engineer Scotty, Chief Medical Officer Bones and First Officer Spock all inspired generations of dreamers and sparked the imaginations of little boys and girls, as well as grown men and women all over the world. From future astronauts, to computer effects masters, to comedians such as Whoopi Goldberg – all were inspired by the freedom that Star Trek proposed as the not-so-distant future. Peace and prosperity was possible.
Nimoy will be wildly missed, but the world is a better place for having had the half-human, half-Vulcan man. Though he is now traveling to unexplored places beyond the stars, where no person has gone before, we can all appreciate Nimoy’s many contributions both to the acting world and to our popular culture. Whether you’re a Star Trek fan, a Trekkie, a Trekker or even if you hate everything about Star Trek — everyone can appreciate Spock’s most famous phrase:
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