Leonard Nimoy, famous for his role as Spock in Star Trek has passed away.
When I was a little girl, dinner was held to the accompaniment of the TV playing. I think it was the only way that my mother could ensure that all of her kids would not only be seated at the table, but would be quiet. How did she keep us quiet? We watched reruns of Star Trek. Some network, I can't remember which one in New York City, ran the show's reruns every night around 6:30.
Watching that show, I became enthralled with science, science fiction and of course, Spock. As a little kid, Spock was the epitome of scientific knowledge, of pure intellect, of the rightness of logic. Growing up in a somewhat chaotic household with an indifferent parent, the ideal logic triumphing over messy emotions appealed to me. I hate to say it, but I did start to emulate Spock, much to annoyance of my mother.
I fell in love with science watching that show. It sparked my life-long interest in theoretical physics, astronomy, science and science fiction. Yes, world, I am a huge geek.
And all of this was due to Leonard Nimoy's portrayal of the coolly intelligent Vulcan Science and First Officer, Spock. And I think somewhere in my pre-teens, like thousands of other geeky girls before me, I developed a crush on the actor.
Leonard Nimoy, born in Massachusetts to Orthodox Jewish parents in 1931, was more than an actor. He was an accomplished photographer, director (he directed two Star Trek movies, Three Men and a Baby and more) poet, author and musician. He started acting when he was 8 years old.
He moved to California around 1951 and proceeded to be cast in bit parts in movies like Queen for a Day and in TV shows like Rawhide and The Twilight Zone.
Then in 1966 he beamed into American homes as Spock on Star Trek. It seems that within moments that he was glimpsed as the Science Officer, he became not only part of our pop culture, but an icon to science nerds and non science nerds everywhere.
I remember reading in some history of Star Trek book, that a student scientist legally changed his name to Spock, just in case he discovered something. James Gibson, a planetary scientist named an asteroid after his cat, Mr. Spock. Another planetary scientist, Mark Showalter tried to get one of Pluto's newly discovered moons named Vulcan. He was shot down.
If you want to read a lovely, well written and intelligent obituary on Mr. Nimoy, check out the New York Times.
Mr. Nimoy passed away early Friday morning. He was 83 and died at home with his family by his side. Whether as an actor, director, photographer, musician and philanthropist, he touched the lives and generations of millions. Thank you Mr. Nimoy for everything.