Leonard Nimoy passed away at age 83.
Those words caused an immediate sense of sadness to permeate my thoughts and spirit today. He was much more than a mere actor, director, celebrity, author, and photographer. He was someone who inspired generations of us who pursued fields in astronomy, science, technology, and yes, even entertainment. More importantly, he inspired me.
I have been a science fiction fan for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest recollections of science fiction television shows included re-run telecasts of the original 1960s Star Trek program, which had premiered before I was born. Nimoy’s portrayal of a half-human, half-alien being from the planet Vulcan confronted the controversies of being from a mixed race background while also delving into the meanings of both friendship and examining the social and cultural qualities of what it meant to embrace one’s inner sense of humanity.
As I grew older, my fascination with Star Trek continued. It spurred my own interests in astronomy, technology, science, and reading science fiction literature, both comic books and novels. After I had re-watched the original television series episodes and watched the films multiple times, there were still fresh stories to explore in books, continuing the exciting interstellar adventures and journeys of Mr. Spock and his peers.
Many quotations from the character Spock -- and, in one case below, a citation from another original source -- have become eternal for us fans.
"Without followers, evil cannot spread." (Spock, Star Trek: The Original Series, "And The Children Shall Lead")
"Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." (Spock, Star Trek (2009), citing Sherlock Holmes)
"It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want." (Spock, Star Trek: The Original Series, "Errand of Mercy")
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." (Spock, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan)
Even as I grew older, Leonard Nimoy seemed eternal.
In 2009, the gifted producer J.J. Abrams brought the magic of Star Trek and Mr. Spock – newly portrayed by actor Zachary Quinto – to a whole new generation of fans using a rebooted and unique time-conundrum storyline. Even then, the memorable Mr. Nimoy reprised his epic role as a future version of Spock who had traveled back in time to confront an enemy, only to confront his younger self in what became a memorable piece of cinematic history.
But now, the talented soul who mesmerized millions is gone. And even though the magic of Mr. Spock will continue, forever preserved in digital archives, his passing reminds us all that, even for heroes who defy death time and again, everyone’s mortal journey is destined for an eventual end.
Leonard Nimoy’s final Twitter message sent on Monday, February 23, 2015 was both prophetic and inspiring: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”
Rest in Peace, Mr. Nimoy. Thank you for all of the wonderful memories and for entertaining audiences for generations since, and for generations to come. You will be missed.
Though I will miss you, within the rich expanse of my imagination, you will always live long and prosper.