Follow eastcountytimes on Twitter

Become a Friend of The East County Times


Click on the paper above to visit our
Digital Edition



Article by Teddy Durgin

Teddy pays tribute to Leonard Nimoy

He's dead, Jim. Yes, Trekkies, Trekkers, science-fiction fans and anyone who just loved good narration, the great actor-director-poet-humanitarian Leonard Nimoy has indeed passed away at the age of 83. I really can't tell you how bummed out I am about his passing. Yes, yes. I am, first and foremost, a "Star Wars" fan. I will take that galaxy far, far away over Federation space any day. The old joke is, "What's the difference between 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars?' Captain Picard pilots the Enterprise through an asteroid field at one-quarter impulse power. Han Solo floors it!" For me, though, there's never been a rivalry. "Star Trek" filled the outer-space adventure void in those years between the original "Star Wars" films and the prequels. And for that, I'll always be grateful. The original "Star Trek" series was always on in syndication when I was growing up in the 1970s and '80s. And where we lived in Laurel, Md., during my adolescence, we received both the Washington, D.C., AND Baltimore UHF stations, and the show was on in both markets. Consequently, I don't really remember a time in my life when that great voice of Leonard Nimoy's was NOT in my head, talking about logic and emotion, muttering catch phrases like "Fascinating" and "Live long and prosper." Nimoy became a living legend as a result. A true pop culture icon. If there was a Mount Rushmore of science-fiction, his would be one of the four faces. He was truly a Lincoln-esque figure in sci-fi and fantasy. I often wonder, had Nimoy never come back to the franchise after Spock's "death" in 1982's "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," would the character have endured these 30-plus years? The real question is: "Would 'Star Trek' have endured?" It was a masterstroke on Paramount's part to offer the director's chair to Nimoy on "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" on the condition that he return as the character. Nimoy wanted desperately to move out of Spock's shadow back then, even penning a memoir titled "I Am NOT Spock!" Eventually realizing that he would never be quite believable in any other role, he sensed that his hunger to stretch creatively could come behind the scenes. The general thinking is that the odd numbered "Trek" sequels are not as strong as the even-numbered ones. But "The Search for Spock" easily packs in an intergalactic tsunami of emotion in its two-hour running time, marked by the death of Kirk's son, the destruction of the original Enterprise and the climactic resurrection of Spock. Nimoy's direction throughout that film is assured, his casting of Christopher Lloyd as Klingon Commander Kruge was a masterstroke and the success of the film led to other directorial opportunities (most notably "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and "Three Men and a Baby"). I was always a bit surprised that he stopped directing in the early to mid-'90s. He was quite good at it. But he started having health problems from his years of smoking. And he ultimately he did pass away due to complications from COPD. And while he did many other things (one of my favorites was his role as narrator of the great and syndicated "In Search Of" documentary series in the late '70s and early '80s), Leonard Nimoy was Spock. Always Spock. I'm always fascinated by the fact that certain people are in just the right places at just the right time in history to make their mark. Trekkies and Trekkers will consider this sacrilege, but there are any number of actors who back in the day could have played Kirk or Scotty or Sulu or Chekov. No one could have played Spock as well as Leonard Nimoy. "Star Trek" would have been VASTLY different and not nearly as good without him. He was actually nominated for multiple Emmy Awards as the character! It was a singular bit of casting and a truly big, big break for an actor who had been appearing in mostly bit parts for 15 years prior to "Trek's" debut in the mid-'60s. Godspeed... er... warp speed, Mr. Nimoy!


@2008 East County Times. All Rights Reserved

Phone 410-780-3303 Email Reporting Staff [email protected] Email Art Dept. [email protected] Advertising [email protected]