Leonard Nimoy made an indelible mark on the world as an actor, a filmmaker, a family man, a photographer, a philanthropist and an icon. It's most illogical to even comtemplate that he passed away four years ago today, succumbing to COPD at the age of 83. To mark the occasion, StarTrek.com thought we'd let Nimoy speak in his own words. And so, below are quotes from Nimoy himself, written (in his books, on Twitter and elsewhere) or spoken (to StarTrek.com, Star Trek Magazine and other outlets) throughout his life, which more or less chronologically address his many personal and professional milestones.
"My folks came to the U.S. as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien.”
It's a Blessing
“When I saw the split-fingered gesture of these (rabbis in his family’s Boston temple)... I was entranced. I learned to do it simply because it seemed so magical. It was probably 25 years later that I introduced that gesture as a Vulcan greeting in Star Trek and it has resonated with fans around the world ever since. It gives me great pleasure since it is, after all, a blessing.”
No More Training Wheels
"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 it all found its way into that movie in one way or another."
Approaching The Next Generation
“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."
"Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end."
Lending an Ear
"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.
“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.”
Star Trek Forever
“I am getting email and fan mail now from young people who are watching The Original Series for the first time. J.J.’s (first Star Trek) film has opened up the territory and made people conscious of it all over again. I guess we’re into a third generation by now of viewers. It’s extraordinary. I don’t see Star Trek fading. That it just keeps reviving itself is wonderful.”
A Grateful Guy
"(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."
The Final Tweet
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory."
What's your favorite Leonard Nimoy memory?