He will probably go down in history as the first Alien Being to die on Earth. History will forget that he was just a fictional character masquerading as an actor.
When Star Trek hit the world’s TV screens it did so at just the right moment. The Western World was enthralled with the burgeoning exploration of space and the Starship Enterprise with Captain Kirk at the helm speeded up the experience as it took us on a short cut from Low Earth Orbit to Galaxy-wide Peace Keeping. We were hungry and couldn’t wait for NASA.
Enterprise, his right hand man, (or Vulcan) would be there with logical advice that always confounded the Captain’s emotional reasoning. Despite Kirk’s lofty speeches embracing all races of the Galaxy, we all knew that the Enterprise patrolled an American Galaxy. This was the world that America found itself in – writ large. Spock was always there, a gentle hand on the tiller staying the illogical excesses of Kirk as he carries out his awesome task of bringing stability to the federation.
Spock once remarked “Interesting. You Earth people glorify organized violence for 40 centuries, but you imprison those who employ it privately.”
Spock was cool. Like so many, we all drank the Kool-Aid.
But of course, it was just a television show, a make believe with characters played by actors. (“just a television show? What do you mean, just a television show…” shrieks a trekkie off camera) By the time William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy finished shooting the Star Trek TV Shows in 1971 they had become trapped forever inside the skins of their characters. Be honest – whenever you see Shatner acting in a movie or on TV it’s impossible to not see James T Kirk.
In 1975 Nimoy wrote an autobiography called “I am not Spock” This was his bid to distance himself from his avatar. It didn’t matter how many times he said it, no one believed him. But Nimoy had a special place in the hearts of Fans. Over the years that appreciation became almost cult like in character. It is said that Star Trek is responsible to for prolonging virginity for many thousands of people.
Over the next 20 years Nimoy concentrated on his poetry and photography and he trod the boards in the theatres of Boston and New York. But there was no escape and over the years he began to embrace Spock as his alter ego.
In 1995 he wrote a second edition of his autobiography “I am Spock” in which he celebrated the character and his values. Nimoy, like Spock was deeply philosophical and yearned for a more logical and reasoned approach to the world’s problems. Therein lies Leonard Nimoy’s reluctant stab at immortality, even if he is just a slim pencil mark on the chart of human development. In it he wrote: “I am not Spock. But given the choice, if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock”
William Shatner on the other hand, has a slightly different view of his legacy. “I am not a Starfleet commander, or T.J. Hooker. I don’t live on Starship NCC-1701, or own a phaser. And I don`t know anybody named Bones, Sulu, or Spock. And no, I’ve never had green alien sex, though I’m sure it would be quite an evening. I speak English and French, not Klingon! I drink Labatt’s, not Romulan ale! And when someone says to me ‘Live long and prosper’, I seriously mean it when I say, ‘Get a life’. My doctor’s name is not McCoy, it’s Ginsberg. And when I speak, I never, ever talk like every. Word. Is. Its. Own. Sentence. I live in California, but I was raised in Montreal. And yes, I’ve gone where no man has gone before, but I was in Mexico and her father gave me permission!