How old is Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy became a legend as Mr. Spock

There is probably no other actor whose fate is more closely linked to his greatest film role than Leonard Nimoy. The "Star Trek" actor would have turned 90 this Friday.

"I am not Spock" and "I am Spock": the titles of the two autobiographies from 1977 and 1995 are impressive evidence of an ambivalent relationship to a figure who has decisively shaped collective cultural awareness in the past few decades. Leonard Nimoy, the great gentleman of science fiction, was so inextricably linked to the conscientious Vulcan from "Star Trek" as hardly any other person with a character from popular culture - and in the end not only accepted this personal union, but lived it. Nimoy was Spock and he will be Spock forever - this is also shown in the 2016 documentary that Adam Nimoy dedicated to his father after his death and which is entitled "For the Love of Spock". Leonard Nimoy, who died in 2015 at the age of 83, would have turned 90 on March 26th.

"A life is like a garden: perfect moments can be experienced but not preserved - except in memories" - a piece of wisdom that Nimoy, who suffered from lung cancer, shared with fans on Twitter a few days before his death. He had been a legend for decades; He had earned his iconic reputation from the 1960s in the science fiction series "Star Trek", in which he explored space as Mr. Spock alongside William Shatner alias Captain Kirk on the spaceship Enterprise.

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"Fascinating" was Spock's reaction to threatening phenomena. The career of the actor, director and producer Nimoy can also be described: for over 47 years, between 1966 and 2013, he accompanied the semi-human scientific officer of the Enterprise through the universe. Or better: Spock, the rationally calculating person with sympathy and hairstyle with the distinctive ears and the hypothermic manner, accompanied him through life. For a longer period than any other actor in TV and cinema, Nimoy slipped into the same role that became part of himself from an early age.

Nimoy, who grew up in Boston, was always more than the cerebral logician on board a spaceship: For example, a passionate photographer with a degree from the University of California, an artist of black and white images who presented his works in numerous exhibitions. In addition, a writer with a penchant for poetry slumbered in him, some unfortunately hardly noticed volumes of poetry bear witness to this. And who knows that as a passionate singer Nimoy produced four more albums besides the "Star Trek" -Merch LP "Leonard Nimoy presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space", on which he mainly performed cover songs?

But just as little as he was granted a longer career as a photographer, writer or musician, he was able - thanks to Spock - to emancipate himself as an actor from the spaceship Enterprise. Not that he didn't take on any other roles: Before, between and after the "Star Trek" series and films, Nimoy appeared in well-known productions such as "Bonanza" (1960), "Columbo" (1972) "Die Körperfresser Come" ( 1978), later also in "Fringe - Grenzfalls des FBI" (2009).

"I went to Hollywood and became a stranger"

But the ambivalence of his alter ego Spock, in the sense of the fascinated outside observer, appeared to be part of Nimoy's biography from an early stage: Born in 1931 as a descendant of Jewish Orthodox immigrants from Ukraine, Nimoy, who had been acting since childhood, ended up after a brief episode of the Studied acting at the age of 18 in the direction of Hollywood. A transformation that Nimoy, who speaks fluent Yiddish and Hebrew, was able to connect with the eventful history of his family: "My people came to the United States as immigrants, as strangers, and became citizens. I was born a citizen in Boston, then followed Hollywood and became a stranger, "he philosophized in an interview.

With numerous small roles in the 1950s, Nimoy succeeded in adapting to the customs of the dream factory business, but he remained an outsider. Until the "tall, thin guy" was finally discovered in him in the mid-sixties, who was being sought for the crew of an ominous spaceship that was supposed to make its way through the "infinite expanses" of a pacified space.

Nimoy had won over the "Star Trek" producers with his acting in the world war series "The Lieutenant" (1963), agreed for his first permanent series role and created one of the most cited, best-known icons of pop culture with the scientist Mr. Spock. A contradicting, complex and inscrutable figure who made Nimoy indelible and who won him three Emmy nominations while the original series "Spaceship Enterprise" was running between 1966 and 1969.

Spock became "one of his best friends," as Nimoy once said: "If I put these ears on, it will be a very special day." He shared his existence with Spock so intensely that he turned down directing and a cameo on Star Trek: Meetings of Generations in 1994 because he didn't want to be part of a movie in which Spock is not an integral part of the plot. But not only that: The migrant son found himself in a certain way in Spock's character and origins: For Nimoy, the half-human, half-volcanic Spock was "the embodiment of the outsider, like the immigrants, in whose midst I was in my early years How do you find your way as a stranger in another culture? Where does your identity and dignity come from? And how do you make your contribution? "

Nimoy chose the offensive identification with tolerance and the dignified life that Spock as well as "Star Trek" represented. Even the Vulcan greeting that he created for his figure had its origins in Nimoy's own socialization: the hand spread in the middle resembles the gesture of the Cohanim, the Jewish priests at services in the synagogue.

Deep friendship with William Shatner

Nimoy's Spock was one to be looked up to with respect outside the trekker community. Somebody who at times was not entirely understood because of his lack of empathy and who, in turn, as an analyzing, mind-guided observer, often found the human urges and emotions incomprehensible. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Spock became the most popular character in the series alongside Captain Kirk.

With its actor William Shatner, Nimoy not only had a year of birth and a tinnitus suffered while shooting, but also a deep, long-term friendship. After the original "Star Trek" series was canceled, Spock, who had matured to become a cult figure, returned to the Enterprise in the first six films between 1979 and 1991 - Nimoy directed two of these films: With "Star Trek III: In Search of Mr. Spock "He made his directorial debut in 1984, and two years later he directed" Star Trek IV: Back to the Present ". Four more non-Star Trek films followed as director, including “Three More Men, Another Baby”.

But despite numerous attempts to gain a foothold in areas outside the Enterprise world, for example in 1982 with "Marco Polo" or 1998 with "Brave New World", he remained Mr. Spock. Even Nimoy's multiple announcements to finally withdraw from the film business, he rejected again and again and celebrated his return as an aged, now legendary Vulcan in 2009 in the new edition of "Star Trek" and 2013 in "Star Trek: Into Darkness".

"Live long and prosper", the empathetic motto from "Star Trek", was with him every step of the way. The cross-generational hero never lacked the self-deprecating approach to his commitment to one role - this is shown in particular by his guest appearances as Spock or as himself in the "Simpsons", in "Futurama" or "The Big Bang Theory". In the end, Nimoy advised his fans, whom he always offered the expected presence and care from Trekker fairs to the social web, on Twitter: "I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says:" Stop it now! "

His cigarette consumption was the cause of the incurable lung disease from which Leonard Simon Nimoy died on February 27, 2015 in Bel Air, California. Before that he had published one of his poems - something that Spock would probably never have done: "You and I / Have learned the song of love / And we will sing it / The song is timeless". Whatever timelessness Nimoy finds himself in now that his remains have been buried for more than six years in the Garden of Solomon at the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City: Spock will continue to live long and in peace. The "endless expanses" in which the Enterprise was en route will also be preserved for him and his actor: Shortly after his death in 2015, the asteroid (4864) Nimoy was named after him.

Source: teleschau - der mediendienst GmbH