Saturday 28 February 2015

He lived long, he prospered (Leonard Nimoy 1931 - 2015)

Don't grieve, Jim, it is illogical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I have been, and always shall be, your friend. Live long and prosper.”
- Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Leonard Nimoy died on Friday of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with which he was diagnosed last year. The man was, of course, a legend as far as people like me are concerned. I literally do not remember a time when I wouldn't have recognised “Mister Spock”, original series Star Trek reruns being a staple of BBC programming since before I was born.

I will admit his work outside of Star Trek is largely a mystery to me (aside from Three Men And A Baby, which he directed) and there are productions mentioned in his obituaries that do sound interesting, especially the film Never Forget, in which he plays a Holocaust survivor suing a group of Holocaust deniers.

Ambivalent as he often was about Spock (his two autobiographies were tied I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock) there's no denying the character constituted an enormous body of work by any actor's standards, both in terms of broadcast hours and the years he played the role. He first appeared as Spock in the pilot episode The Cage and last did so in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Until the next film is released his contribution to Star Trek literally encompasses the whole length of its lifespan over nearly five decades.

It seems almost inconceivable that even now a Star Trek film is being prepared that will be released into a world where the franchise's longest standing contributor will no longer be around to see it. At the end of the day, though, that's the nature of artistic legacy: to be outlived by your contribution to the culture.

Nimoy's last tweet, which I saw shared by his friend and Star Trek co-star George Takei, read: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.” 

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