Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy 1960
On February 27, 2015 we lost an icon, but Leonard Nimoy was more than that, he was a hero. Those of us that grew up in the 60’s and 70’s first met him as Mr. Spock on Star Trek, the half human, half Vulcan science officer onboard the USS Enterprise. However, I also remember him as different characters throughout different television series that my dad watched all the time. Bonanza, Sea Hunt, Rawhide, and even Get Smart. The one thing that all of his characters had in common was that he was believable. He was never the handsome heart-throb. He was the man that told you how it was, like it or not.

As Mr. Spock, Leonard gave hope to those who felt different, looked different. He showed that differences could be bridged through friendship and by trying to understand the feelings and opinion of others even if you didn’t share them. He never judged Jim (William Shatner) for being a he-whore, or McCoy for being as over-the-top emotional. He didn’t care that Ohura was African American or that Chekov was Russian (we were in the middle of the cold war). And that Vulcan eyebrow didn’t raise a bit when America experienced its first inter-racial kiss between Kirk and Ohura!
Throughout the years, Leonard was never able to shake the Mr. Spock persona even though the series only lasted 3 years but he used it to his advantage. He was able to play the same character in three different mediums, the first to do so. Star Trek the original series, Star Trek the animated series, and all of the Star Trek movies.

In many interviews since the beginning of Star Trek (1966), Leonard Nimoy has recounted the origin of the Vulcan salute, which he introduced into the series. In one such interview (with The A.V. Club in July 2010), he explained, "The gesture that I introduced into Star Trek, the split-fingered Vulcan salute, we'll call it... that came from an experience -- I'm going all the way back to my childhood again -- when I was about 8 years old, sitting in the synagogue at high holiday services with my family. There comes a moment in the ceremony when the congregation is blessed by a group of gentlemen known as Kohanim, members of the priestly tribe of the Hebrews. And the blessing is one that we see in the Old and New Testament: 'May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord cause His countenance to shine upon you', and so forth. When they give this blessing, you're told not to look! You're supposed to avert your eyes. I peeked, and I saw these guys with their hands stretched out - there were five or six of them, all with their hands stretched out toward the congregation - in that gesture, that split-fingered gesture. Sometime later, I learned that the shape that hand creates is a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the letter shin, which is the first letter in the word Shaddai, which is the name of the Almighty. So the suggestion is that they're using a symbol of God's name with their hands as they bless the congregation.".

Leonard, as you begin your journey into your final frontier, may your spirit “Live long and prosper” for you will be in our hearts forever.


No comments:

Post a Comment