“My folks came to U.S. as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien,” Leonard Nimoy said in his Boston University College Of Fine Arts address in 2012. And it’s a perfectly wry summation of a man who was a sci-fi titan, a restlessly curious creative, and for many, someone who opened up their imagination and gave them the universe. And today, he’s passed on to another celestial realm at the age of 83.
Had things gone differently, we might not have ever known the man who made Spock a household name at all. He actually turned down a role on the soap opera “Peyton Place” to portray the half-human, half-Vulcan on “Star Trek,” and the rest is history. He became one of the leading faces of the entire franchise, a beloved fan favorite, and the director of “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.” And while he was a continuing presence in the “Star Trek” universe for decades (appearing in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and in the recent movie reboots), Nimoy also used his cachet to pursue other endeavors.
For many, he was the window into the world of wonder as the host of ’70s series “In Search Of…” He was also an author, famously for “I Am Not Spock” and the followup “I Am Spock,” but also wrote books of poetry, released several albums of music, was an avid photographer, and of course, kept up a too-lengthy-to-recount list of TV appearances, narrating gigs, recurring roles, and more. And it should also be remembered his success wasn’t just in the sci-fi realm: he was the director the massive, 1987 box office hit, “3 Men And A Baby.” Meanwhile, he wasn’t afraid to spoof himself, as he did with a couple of memorable turns in “The Simpsons.”
Nimoy was truly a legend, the rare kind that spanned generations. We hope that wherever Nimoy has gone, he’s continuing to spread Spock’s blessing: “Dif-tor heh smusma” (“Live long and prosper”).