Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Farewell Mr. Spock

Last week I was saddened to hear about the passing of Leonard Nimoy.  It's hard to imagine modern Science Fiction without him.  As Mr. Spock on Star Trek, Nimoy created one of the most memorable characters in television history. While William Shatner as Captain Kirk played the more traditional hero, Spock offered a different type of heroism: one based on using logic and reason to resolve conflict.

Star Trek aired on NBC from 1966-69 and Nimoy went on to revisit the role in seven feature films.  In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock sacrificed himself to save the USS Enterprise.  Of course, he returned in subsequent films, proving a great fictional character never really dies.

Nimoy also directed Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).  In the The Voyage Home, the crew traveled back in time to the 1980s, where Spock is perplexed by all the profanity he hears in the 20th century - and hilarity ensues.  Spock always got the best laughs.

Although Nimoy never quite shook off the "Spock" persona, he appeared in many other roles on film and television.  He wrote two autobiographies, I am not Spock and I am Spock, both about his life in and out of Star Trek. From 1976-82, Nimoy hosted the cult TV series, In Search Of, a documentary dedicated to investigating all sorts of mysteries.  

Nimoy delivered a memorable performance in Phillip Kaufman's 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. As a devious self-help guru who proselytized a bland "I'm ok, you're ok" type message, Nimoy created a memorable villain.

Few actors have left such a distinct mark on the cultural memory.  He will be greatly missed. Live long and prosper.