Tragedy has struck the geek culture community today, as one of its brightest stars has fallen. Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Vulcan Science officer Mr. Spock on many iterations of the Star Trek franchise for decades, passed away in his Bel Air home at the age of 83, as a result of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The impact that an icon like Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock had on the science-fiction genre, popular culture, and geek fandom is immeasurable. Mr. Spock broke the mold of traditional lantern-jawed, act first-think later heroes — using intelligence, logic, and reason instead of his fists and reckless passion to solve problems, vanquish enemies, and escape calamitous predicaments.
Though his character—and the entire Vulcan race—was cold and emotionless, Spock exuded nobility, loyalty, and a devilish aesthetic that made him surprisingly attractive to female viewers; he was the first nerd sex symbol. That same icy façade and devotion to reason made for compelling chemistry when juxtaposed against the characters of James T. Kirk and Bones McCoy, and that dynamic forged one of the greatest on-screen relationships in sci-fi history.
Nimoy was also hugely inspirational and influential to millions. How many lonely, quiet, socially awkward souls lost in the world did he inspire to pursue a life exploring the sciences or mathematics, going on to become engineers, astronauts, or technological entrepreneurs?
I grew up a Star Wars fan, and went through a dumb, irrational hatred of what I perceived to be an overly-technical, cerebral, and political franchise like Star Trek in my teen years, but I always respected the icon that was Mr. Spock, and the tremendous job Nimoy did portraying the character and keeping him not only relevant, but vital during the countless cultural shifts and tonal trends affecting sci-fi storytelling through the years.
Other career highlights for Nimoy include his cult musical hit “Bilbo Baggins,” hosting the popular ‘70s TV series In Search Of, directing numerous films, and appearing in the FOX series Fringe. In his personal life, Nimoy was also an author, poet, a wonderful artist and an acclaimed photographer. He will be missed more than words can express.
“Live Long And Prosper.”
“You have been, and always shall be…my friend.”