February 27, 2015 didn’t start off as a damned sad day, but it surely became one, once the news got out that Leonard Nimoy had passed away. For those of you who know me, it is very obvious why this news hit me fairly hard. But beyond the obvious, I am finding that in a very small way, it’s like losing my father all over again. They were the same age, born within a few weeks of each other, and Star Trek has been such an important part of my life since I was very young. So as much as I have been thinking about Leonard Nimoy, and what he has meant to me, I find myself also thinking about my dad, now gone nearly two years.
I was interviewed earlier today by the radio station at Hofstra University and asked to provide some comments, because of my (albeit limited) connection to Star Trek—as many of you know, I wrote a series of Star Trek comics for Marvel back in the late 1990s, in which I was able to put my lifelong love for the franchise into some character-driven stories that I really wanted to tell. In answering, I said that the passing of Leonard Nimoy signifies the true end of the original era of Star Trek. More than anyone, even William Shatner, Nimoy was the face, the voice, and the soul of Star Trek. With just a few exceptions, he appeared in every single iteration of Star Trek ever produced: The original pilot, starring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike; the second pilot, which introduced Shatner’s Captain James T. Kirk; the entire original television series; the animated series; the first six movies; two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation; and, most recently, the two reboot Star Trek films directed by J.J. Abrams. I would say that pretty much debunks the notion that he hated Star Trek and the Spock character, wouldn’t you?
Upon hearing earlier this week that his health had taken a turn for the worse, my first thought was that I really truly hoped that he would at least live to see the 50th anniversary of the franchise that he was so instrumental in building. And, if the rumors circulating several months ago were accurate, that he would be able to share the screen with Shatner one last time, in the next Star Trek movie. But it was not to be. Time—and nature—had other plans.
Leonard Nimoy and his work have played a key role and have been a major influence on me throughout my life, and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so for the rest of my days.
I thought I would end this with something of a treat. This is the closest I ever got to Leonard Nimoy. It was June 22, 1985, in New York City, at a Star Trek convention in what at the time was called the Penta Hotel (now the Hotel Pennsylvania). Mr. Nimoy was the guest of honor. He had recently been announced as the director of Star Trek IV (the subtitle had yet to be revealed). I had set up camp as close to the stage as I possibly could, but my camera was so primitive that I knew I wasn’t going to get good shots of him unless I moved closer. I practically had to climb over this really annoying heavy-set kid—and nearly got my rear end kicked—to get close enough to get some decent shots. These two were the ones that came out the best. Nimoy’s shirt says “Star Trek IV in ’86.”
|Photo by Glenn Greenberg (1985)|
|Photo by Glenn Greenberg (1985)|
Not much else to say, other than: Godspeed, Leonard Nimoy. We will always... remember.
© All text copyright Glenn Greenberg, 2015.