There's no Star Trek without Leonard Nimoy. Gene Roddenberry probably still would have created it and it would have probably been a TV show, but it wouldn't have been the Star Trek that we know. It wouldn't have had the heart that has allowed the show to endure so powerfully as it approaches its 50th anniversary. There's a reason why Nimoy was the only cast member to make it from the original pilot to the regular show, why he appeared on The Next Generation and why he was in the Star Trek reboots. Leonard Nimoy is Star Trek.
I Am Not Spock was the title of Nimoy's first memoir, but eventually he figured it out - later he penned a book called I Am Spock. Leonard Nimoy did more than play Mr. Spock - he was a strong director, he sang, he took sexy pictures of plus size women (follow your bliss, man) - but he was Spock. And what a gift that was to us, and what an amazing thing for him. How many people are allowed to create characters who become absolutely iconic, who mean so much to so many that they transcend the place where they were created. Mr. Spock - the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer, starship captain, best friend - was a character who spoke to us with clarity and honestly. And so much of that was Nimoy, who was allowed to create this character, and parts of Vulcan culture (he invented the Vulcan salute, the nerve pinch and 'Live long and prosper'), on his own. He was able to bring so much to a character who, ostensibly, had no emotions, but who truly felt everything so much more deeply than the humans around him.
There's a reason why Spock dying in Wrath of Khan meant so much, and hurt so much. He was the logical one, the thinker and the problem solver, but he was really the heart of the Enterprise crew. Nimoy's humanity and decency shone through in every scene.
This quick, short obituary cannot do justice to the life of a man who came from immigrant Ukrainian parents and ended up taking us to the stars. A man who fought to get Nichelle Nichols equal pay to her male co-stars. A man whose Nimoy Foundation supports artists. A man whose basic kindness to his fans cannot be overstated.
Leonard Nimoy died because he smoked. He had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a smoking-related condition that killed him despite quitting smoking thirty years ago. In his final years Nimoy was outspoken about smoking, urging his fans to quit at every opportunity. If you smoke, now is as good a time as any to do just that.
The loss of Leonard Nimoy feels very personal to me. I have a Star Trek tattoo. One of the only autographs I have ever sought out was Nimoy's. I grew up with Spock, and with Leonard Nimoy. The work that he did meant so much to me, and I hope that I can honor that work by sharing it with as many people as possible. It's sad that Leonard Nimoy is gone, but it's good that he was here. He lived long and he prospered, and thanks to him so did we.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015