So much has been written about Leonard Nimoy that there's little left to be said. He made an indelible mark on the world as an actor, a filmmaker, a family man, a photographer, a philanthropist and an icon. As we at contemplated how best to commemorate what would have been Nimoy's 84th birthday, it hit us that no one said it better than... Nimoy himself. And so, below are quotes from Nimoy, spoken or written over the years, which more or less sequentially touch on many of the personal and professional milestones in his life and career.

“I think (Spock) caught a lot of people by surprise. I must say that I was somewhat surprised by response, but I understood it. I understood what it was about the character that people were responding to. The mail told me a lot about what people were responding to. Certainly, the network was totally caught off-guard. The people at NBC, the network that was running the show, had actually asked Gene Roddenberry to eliminate the character or to keep him in the background, because they were concerned that the character was not a positive character. In fact, in some of the earliest promotional materials that they put out to potential advertisers, they had retouched the photographs of me as Spock to take off the pointed ears. They actually took off the pointed ears in the photographs. And it was explained to me that they were concerned that the character looked devilish and that a 'devilish' character might have a negative connotation, particularly in the Southern states, where people might be uncomfortable having a devilish on their TV set.”
“There was a smile in the first pilot. I was directed to smile. Being the good guy that I was, I did what the director told me to do. I was working with Jeffrey Hunter, who was the captain of the Enterprise at the time, in the first pilot, and we were on this strange planet where a certain kind of strange plant was growing. I was to reach out and touch one of the leaves of this plant, which gave off a certain kind of eerie sound. The director said, 'Why don’t you smile when you hear that sound, as though it’s a pleasing sound.' I thought, 'OK, I’ll do that.' It was a long time after that before I ever smiled again on Star Trek (laughs). It happened only under very special circumstances. But it took a while to find the character. It wasn’t until we made the second pilot, really, that I got a total grasp and was able to make my own decisions, frankly, about how the character should function in certain circumstances. I did what I was asked to do on that first pilot and that’s why you saw a smile.”
“If people were to ask me, 'What are you thinking now about the original Star Trek series?,' one of the things that comes to mind immediately is the people who have not had enough recognition, and I include Walter (Koenig) and Nichelle (Nichols) and George (Takei) in that, as well as DeForest Kelley, Jimmy Doohan and Gene Coon, who gave us some wonderful writing and worked very hard as a producer. Harve Bennett doesn’t get enough credit for having put Star Trek back on its feet when it was beached after the first Star Trek movie. Nicholas Meyer did a terrific job of shaping up the script for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. When I first read it, it was not very good, and I told him so. He said, 'I agree with you. I’m working on it.' Sure enough, he did a great job shaping up that script and then helped us a lot on Star Trek IV. Nick and Harve elevated the audience and spread the audience.”
“I was very, very confident with (Star Trek IV). I made a big commitment to the development of that story. I stayed on the lot for the entire time. When Star Trek III was finished, even before it opened, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was the head of production at the studio, called me and said, 'We’d like you to make another one.' I said, 'I need to have some more freedom. I felt too tightly controlled on this last film. I need to have some freedom to explore some ideas and do my own movie.' And he said, 'The training wheels are off. Make your own film. Give us your own image of what the film should be.' I spent a lot of time on it. I did a lot of research. I did a lot of reading. I did a lot of traveling. I went to the East Coast to meet with various scientists and to talk about what they were interested in as possible ideas to explore in the future. It was all very helpful and found its way into that movie in one way or another."
“I went to the producers at Next Generation with the idea that we could do a crossover, that I could do an appearance on The Next Generation that would, in a sense, be a connection to the Star Trek films that we were making. They wrote a script which I thought served that purpose. I went and gladly did it. And yes, it was my idea. I went to them with the idea, and we did it.”

"Spock is definitely one of my best friends. When I put on those ears, it's not like just another day. When I become Spock, that day becomes something special."
“(Tweeting) snuck up on me. I had no idea. I love it. It’s a great world out there and it’s a great way of communicating with a lot of people in a very quick way. I enjoy it. I’m on Twitter fairly regularly. I don’t do an awful lot of tweeting. There are some people I see that tweet all day, every day. They start in the morning and say, 'Good morning,' then are on it all day. I don’t do that. I pop up. I try to tweet when I’ve got something really interesting to say or some idea that I think is meaningful. I don’t tweet when I go to the drug store.”

"I finally got a real good sense of closure for myself with Star Trek [by appearing as Spock Prime in Star Trek (2009)], and I was very happy to see Zachary Quinto take over the character. I think he’s an excellent, well-trained actor and excellent for the job."
“This cameo in Star Trek Into Darkness was about the Spock character. The (proposed) cameo in Generations was not about the Spock character. It was just somebody named Spock saying some lines that had nothing to do with Spock. It wasn’t about the character at all. The character was just being used to say some lines that needed to be said about the exposition of the story. I suggested to them that they could take those lines and give them to other members of the cast and no one would know the difference. And that’s exactly what they did. So that indicates to you how clear it was that it wasn’t about Spock. It was about something else. So I just let it go. There was no need for me to be there. This story lent itself to the idea that Spock would contact me to ask for information.”
“The photography is a useful outlet for me, for creative ideas. I can get an idea and execute it on my own. I don’t have to deal with large-budget issues and scores of people. I don’t need to bring together writers and designers and very many performers. I don’t need to be away from home for weeks and months at a time. It’s a comfortable way for me to express ideas and to remain creative without it totally taking over my life. My personal life is very valuable to me. I enjoy my family a lot. I enjoy my personal time with my wife a lot. I don’t want to be away. I don’t need or want to do that.”

“I am intrigued with scriptural mythology that tells us that God created a divine feminine presence to dwell amongst humanity. This concept has had a constant influence on the work. I have imagined her as ubiquitous, watchful, and often in motion. This work is, in effect, the photographic image of the invisible.”
“I enjoyed doing (The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins). It was a lot of fun. It’s a song aimed at kids. It was about 30 years before its time. We were way ahead of the cycle on the Hobbit stories. It was much, much later that the Rings trilogy was produced as films. I know that The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins has had a very active life on the Internet. I get a kick out of that. I think it’s wonderful.”
“I think it would work wonderfully (if I appeared in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars movie). I think it would work just great. I think it would be a great idea, and somebody ought to tell (Abrams) that.”

"The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have.”

“Look, I liken myself to a steamship that’s been going full-blast and the captain pulls that handle back and then says, 'Full stop,' but the ship doesn’t stop. It keeps moving from inertia. It keeps moving. It keeps moving. It’ll start slowing down, but it doesn’t stop. It doesn’t come to a dead stop. That’s the way I am. I still have a few odds and ends things that I enjoy doing. I don’t want to get up in the morning and have nothing to do that day. That would be boring.”

"(If I live to be 100), I hope to stay creative, but to keep my personal life at the forefront. I have three kids and six grandchildren and a great-grandson. I’m thrilled with the way their lives are developing and it’s great fun to see them grow into themselves. I’m looking forward to enjoying that, and I want to keep some of my life available for creative possibilities. You’re talking to a very, very happy, thankful, grateful guy."


Nichelle Nichols
Walter Koenig
Star Trek
Zachary Quinto
DeForest Kelley
James Doohan
Harve Bennett
Star Trek New