On Friday came the news that Trekkers knew was coming eventually, but still it hit them like a photon torpedo.
Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy, passed away at the age of 83. He died in his Bel Air home from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to reports.
For those of us old enough to remember the classic “Star Trek” series in it’s first run, being a Trekker was the beginning of a lifelong love with this wonderful series that only aired for three seasons, but lived on through reruns. This was before terms like “fandom” and “shipping,” even before conventions and, yes, before Comic Con. We Trekkers watched, mailed fan letters to the studio and followed the careers of the “Star Trek” actors, writers and production staff long after the show was canceled.
Like his counterpart, William Shatner who played Capt. James T. Kirk, there was a time when Nimoy wanted to distance himself from the role of Mr. Spock. But, as the years went on, he and the others on the Starship Enterprise began to see the value of their “Star Trek” connection. Then in 1979, the “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” helped the franchise begin to make a comeback. And back it came with a new series, more movies, more series and more movies.
Being a Trekker turned to being a Trekkie – conventions, toys, books and all kinds of promotional items blossomed from this Desilu television series created by Gene Rodenberry as an answer to “Wagon Train to the Stars.”
But what Trekkers understood from the beginning was that the series was special because everything worked. The writers, the creator, the actors – all worked. The characters that were created on the classic “Star Trek” was the reason the franchise succeeded and to create those characters that have lasted for almost 50 years you have to be an amazing actor.
Nimoy came to terms with his inner Spock and, in fact, embraced it. He guest starred on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and was in almost all the Star Trek movies from his generation to this new generation of Star Trek films.
The media covered the fact that Mr. Spock had passed away but what should be celebrated and recognized is that we have lost a great actor. He took a character on a page and created an icon.
He did what actors, great actors, do best – he made the audience forget they were watching an “actor” and believe the character.
Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana began writing for “Star Trek” during the original series. She went on to “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” She knew Nimoy well.
“He was a wonderful, intelligent, caring man,” Fontana said.
She had known him since 1960. He starred in the first script she sold to television for the series “The Tall Man.”
“He was thoughtful of others in the cast, and I never saw him lose his cool,” she said. “He was a wonderful human being.”