Saturday, February 28, 2015

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy passed away yesterday, February 27, 2015. He was an actor, poet, photographer and he sang.

Nimoy appeared on many TV shows that I watched while growing up. I first saw him as a young man on Perry Mason, where he appeared in the role of a villainous murderer. 

I watched him play an Indian in an episode of Rawhide. 

His first major role was on the wonderful TV drama, Mission Impossible. He joined the cast in the third season as a magician named The Great Paris. 

This show was popular in the midst of the Cold War. The heroes were US spies given missions to outwit the Soviets by freeing a captive or setting up an important person to fail.

Then of course Nimoy became Mr. Spock, the Vulcan with the pointy ears on the first episodes of Star Trek. And he sure breathed life into that character, making him his own.

He came up with the Vulcan Salute,  "Live long and prosper", from the Jewish priestly blessing.

He had a great career after Star Trek the TV series, in many of the Star Trek movies.

In 1978, Nimoy played Dr. David Kibner in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He also did occasional work as a voice actor in animated feature films, including the character of Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie in 1986. 

From 1982 to 1987 Nimoy hosted a children's educational show Standby: Lights, Camera, Action on Nickelodeon. Nimoy was featured as the voice-over narrator for the CBS paranormal series Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories in 1991.

In 1991, Nimoy teamed up with Robert B. Radnitz to produce a movie for TNT about a pro bono publico lawsuit brought by public interest attorney William John Cox on behalf of Mel Mermelstein, an Auschwitz survivor, against a group of organizations engaged in Holocaust denial. Nimoy also played the Mermelstein role and believes: "If every project brought me the same sense of fulfillment that Never Forget did, I would truly be in paradise." After all, Nimoy was Jewish.

Nimoy lent his voice as narrator to the 1994 IMAX documentary film, Destiny in Space, showcasing film-footage of space from nine Space Shuttle missions over four years time.

In 1994, Nimoy performed as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The Pagemaster. In 1998, he had a leading role as Mustapha Mond in the made-for-television production of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Together with John de Lancie, another ex-actor from the Star Trek series, Nimoy created Alien Voices, an audio-production venture that specializes in audio dramatizations. Among the works jointly narrated by the pair are The Time Machine, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Lost World, The Invisible Man and The First Men in the Moon, as well as several television specials for the Sci-Fi Channel. In an interview published on the official Star Trek website.

From 1994 until 1997, Nimoy narrated the Ancient Mysteries series on A&E including "The Sacred Water of Lourdes" and "Secrets of the Romanovs".

He also appeared in advertising in the United Kingdom for the computer company Time Computers in the late 1990s.

In 1997, Nimoy played the prophet Samuel, alongside Nathaniel Parker, in The Bible Collection movie David.

He had a central role in Brave New World, a 1998 TV-movie version of Aldous Huxley's novel where he played a character reminiscent of Spock in his philosophical balancing of unpredictable human qualities with the need for control. Nimoy also appeared in several popular television series—including Futurama and The Simpsons—as both himself and Spock.

Nimoy's interest in photography began in childhood; until his death in 2015, he owned a camera that he rebuilt at the age of 13. His photography studies at UCLA occurred after Star Trek and Mission: Impossible, when Nimoy seriously considered changing careers. His work has been exhibited at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Nimoy authored two volumes of autobiography. The first was called I Am Not Spock (1975) and was controversial, as many fans incorrectly assumed that Nimoy was distancing himself from the Spock character. In the book, Nimoy conducts dialogues between himself and Spock.

However in 1995 a second volume appeared called I Am Spock. Found Nimoy realizing that he finally reconciled that his years of portraying the Spock character had led to a much greater identification between the fictional character and himself.

Nimoy had much input into how Spock would act in certain situations, and conversely, Nimoy's contemplation of how Spock acted gave him cause to think about things in a way that he never would have thought if he had not portrayed the character. 

As such, in this autobiography Nimoy maintains that in some meaningful sense he has merged with Spock while at the same time maintaining the distance between fact and fiction

He had many other projects and skills as a director, music producer, singer and he was a private pilot. He revealed that as a younger man he was an alcoholic. He even tried to help his friend William Shatner, by counseling Shatner’s alcoholic wife. 

When I was younger I had the pleasure of being in a chorus directed by Dr. Elmer Thomas of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Thomas also directed the May Festival Chorus in Cincinnati.. Dr. Thomas always reminded me of Leonard Nimoy.

In February 2014, Nimoy revealed that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition he attributed to a smoking habit he had given up approximately 30 years prior. 

On February 19, 2015, Nimoy was taken to UCLA Medical Center for chest pain and had been in and out of hospitals for the "past several months." Nimoy died on February 27, 2015 at the age of 83 in his Bel Air home from complications of COPD. 

 A few days before his death, Nimoy shared some of his poetry on social media website Twitter:
 "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.

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