It’s only logical. That time would eventually take from us the man who inspired generations is only logical. We saw it coming… and hoped it would not. Yet on February 27, as I slept here in Japan, Leonard Nimoy succumbed to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the age of 83. As is often the case, my geographic and temporal displacement meant that I woke up to the bad news others had been discussing for hours.
This time the news didn’t shock me in the way it did when Robin Williams took his own life last August. That was completely unexpected. This was something I had been keeping an eye since Nimoy was taken to the hospital earlier in the week. The sense of loss, however, feels the same. Or perhaps more. Both of these great men inspired me over the years, helping me form a sense of identity and a desire to always strive for the best.
As sources of personal inspiration go, Spock, the role for which Nimoy is best known, sits in rarified air. Most people know me as someone who is level-headed, who looks for solutions, and who doesn’t panic at the first sign of trouble. It isn’t easy, though. As a young man, I found keeping my temper in check difficult. Nimoy’s measured performance as Spock was a role model for addressing this. Later on Captain Picard offered guidance as well, but I’m of the age that The Original Series was Star Trek. TNG and all the rest came later. For me growing up there was Kirk, Spock, and Bones; and Spock was the character who made me see that it was possible to remain calm and be successful in life.
In light of today’s news, I’m also reminded of something else I learned from Spock: things change. He himself put it eloquently in his final tweet:
In universe, Nimoy conveyed this as Spock when asked by Lt. Valeris—a fellow Vulcan—why he keeps Marc Chagall’s Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise on the wall in his quarters. “It is a reminder to me that all things end,” he explains.
Nimoy’s passing is a stark reminder of this truth—something we so easily forget as we race through the day-to-day of life. But while this great creative may no longer be with us, the impact he had on the world remains while his own journey continues into that undiscovered country.
In the midst of writing this, I stopped to record some of my thoughts for an episode of my show Hyperchannel. You can hear those, as well as the exchange between Spock and Valeris, by playing the audio file below.
And later in the weekend I was able to sit down with my good friend and renowned Star Trek historian Larry Nemecek to reminisce about Leonard Nimoy's life and career. You can hear our discussion by playing the special episode of The Ready Room below. Or grab this in iTunes for easier listening on the go.