Published Mar 14, 2020
Looking Back: Nimoy Gets His Hollywood Star
StarTrek.com takes a look back at Entertainment Tonight's coverage of Leonard Nimoy receiving his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
By Joseph Bergren
Thirty-five years ago, Leonard Nimoy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Sandwiched between Red Skelton and Nat King Cole, Nimoy’s monument was placed at 6651 Hollywood Boulevard, which is also right in front the city’s famed restaurant Musso and Franks.
Bearing the names of over 2,600 people, the Walk of Fame has been honoring legends of the entertainment industry since 1960. Each honoree is given a dedication ceremony for the unveiling of their star, most often surrounded by friends, family, collaborators, and anyone on the street who can grab a good spot to watch.
Johnny Grant, then Chairman of the Walk of Fame Selection Committee, was on-hand to lead Nimoy's ceremony. Among those in attendance for the Trek actor's special day were Gene Roddenberry, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, DeForest Kelley, Gary Nardino (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock executive producer), and Fred Phillips (TOS make-up artist). Grant commented on James Doohan’s absence that day and explained the actor had fallen ill that morning.
William Shatner was also a no-show, but he had taken it upon himself to send a telegram, which Grant shared with the crowd. He read aloud, "As one of my dearest friends, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on your star on Hollywood Boulevard. Now, you must live on this slightly adjusted Marine motto, 'Please tread on me.' We know that we'll be seeing each other very soon.”
Stepping up to the podium, Nimoy thanked everyone who had organized the event, as well as the fans who had amassed to watch the ceremony. In the actor and director’s speech, he expressed appreciation for having a career in Hollywood that had far exceeded his expectations.
“I'm very grateful. I'm a very lucky guy. It was about 35 years ago, I was 18 years-old, when the Enterprise hadn't been built yet and I came out here from Boston by train. And it was a long ride. It was three days and three nights in a coach seat to arrive in the city of Los Angeles with one hope — and that was to make a living as an actor. And a lot of great things have happened. I've been very fortunate to be able to work with so many talented people. To develop such good friends amongst my co-workers. To have the love and support of a wonderful family all these years. And I must tell you that, there's no way in the world that I could have hoped or even possibly dreamed that a day like this would come in my life — to see this event take place. And I'm very, very grateful for it. As of today, I find myself in a rather illogical condition. I'm probably the only man on this street who can say that his head is in space and his star is on the ground. I want to thank you all very, very much. Live long and prosper.”
Naturally, he accompanied that last sentiment with a Vulcan salute.
After the unveiling, Entertainment Tonight caught up with Nimoy and asked him what it felt like to be a part of this legendary group of honorees.
“It really feels great. I'd never dreamed anything like this would happen in my lifetime. It's a really special day for me,” Nimoy told ET.
Seeing Nimoy in the flesh must have been an extra sigh of relief for the fans after witnessing the resurrection of his iconic character six months earlier in The Search for Spock, which had also fueled speculation for where the franchise was heading. “Well, we promised at the end of Star Trek III that the adventure continues and that's our intention,” said Nimoy. “We're preparing now for Star Trek IV. We're in the very earliest stages. It's too early to talk about the story, but we hope to be filming the picture sometime later this year.”
Each cast member of The Original Series has received their own individual star on the Walk of Fame (Shatner was the first in 1983 and Walter Koenig’s turn eventually came in 2012). The ensemble also took part in the handprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1991.
Joe Bergren (he/him) is a writer and media coordinator for ET Live. His interests include "Star" related franchises and retro celebrity scandals, as well as niche subjects like his very cool dog.