Kurland On Film Obituaries: Remembering Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

By Scott Kurland

Today is a very sad day for all Trekkies, not just yours truly. Today the members of the USS Enterprise have lost their science officer, and we the viewers have lost a friend. It breaks my heart to say this, but we lost Leonard Nimoy one of the most iconic legends of sci-fi fantasy. I was hoping that 2015 would not be as painful as 2014, but sadly it is. Leonard Nimoy was not only a great man, but he was a role model to boys & girls, men & women, and vulcans everywhere.

Nimoy wasn’t just Mr. Spock, he was also crucial in the golden age of cinema and television. Nimoy starred in “Mission Impossible” for two season, “Catlow” with Yul Brenner, and appeared in Rod Serling’s “Night Gallery.” Nimoy was truly a recurring part of entertainment in the 70s. I remember one of my favorite mix CDs I ever got featured Nimoy’s “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”, it was a perfect way to start a mix CD.

For me the most crucial role Nimoy ever play was in 1978’s remake of “Invasion of The Body Snatchers”.  Nimoy’s Dr. David Kibner was a psychiatrist and friend of Donald Sutherland’s Matthew Bennell. For me this was a breakthrough role, because for years Nimoy was Spock, and now he was playing the a similar but also a polar opposite role. Nimoy was so perfect Kibner, and it would only lead to him venturing out into new unexplored territories like directing and producing.

In 1987 Nimoy directed “Three Men and a Baby” starring Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson. What I love about know this story is how Nimoy was so impressed with the french film “Trois hommes et un couffin” he jumped at the chance to direct the American verison. Nimoy’s directing was simple, not too complex/experimental, and always aimed to warm people’s hearts. “Three Men and a Baby” is by no means a perfect film, but it does have Nimoy’s heart pulsing through every frame. 

What Nimoy is best known for is playing Mr. Spock on “Star Trek”...fascinating. Nimoy was originally cast as Spock because of his height....it was the 1960s they wouldn’t cast roles based on performance for another ten years. However, once cast Nimoy brought life to Spock, was this a man or was he a vulcan? Maybe both? Without Nimoy’s performance Spock would not have been as memorable as he was. If you were in a room with thousands of Trekkies 80% if not 90 would say their favorite character was Spock, and I assure you it is all because of Nimoy.

To me Nimoy was so iconic for a number of reasons, one being he was the voice of the Mugar Omni Theater at the Museum of Science. Nimoy was also Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde in “The Pagemaster”, but it isn’t what you do, it is who you are. I have never heard anything bad said of Nimoy, I have heard plenty about Shatner, but not one bad word about Nimoy. His colleagues loved him, his friends admired him, and his fans worshipped the ground he walked on. 

I’m not going to go all Sheldon Cooper, and berate you with why Nimoy was so great. Nor am I going to fanboy out, and name episodes of “Star Trek” that proved Spock was better than Kirk. What I will say is as a nerdy boy who loved “Star Trek” growing up, Mr. Spock showed me and many others that being different was quite “logical”. I didn’t need to be athletic, I didn’t need to be the bravest or strongest, all I needed to be was myself and use my brain. All the lessons Spock taught were probably the most realistic for a show set in the future about the voyages of space.

I would love nothing more than to scream “KAHN!” in anger, but it would be useless. Leonard Nimoy died this morning in his Bel Air home from complication cause by COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Leonard Nimoy was many things. He was an author, director, producer, and most importantly a good man. Nothing will ever be able to fill the void that Nimoy left, and no one would ever try to fill it. Nimoy was one in a million, and for that he will be missed. To quote a once great Captain, “Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human.” Live Long and Prosper....
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