Friday, February 27, 2015

I Have Been And Always Shall Be Your Friend

Thirty-plus years later, that quote from the end of Wrath of Khan always gets me. Leonard Nimoy passed away today at the age of 83 from complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It's impossible to sum up his 60+ year career since he'll forever be remembered as Spock from Star Trek, and I'm not even going to try. The only way I know how to honor a man who has influenced me so much growing up is to share some moments that I enjoyed the most.

The Big Bang Theory

Nimoy retired from acting in 2010, but that didn't preclude him from doing voice-over work. Nimoy is one of Sheldon's idols, and in the episode "The Transporter Malfunction, he dreams about his Spock action figure giving him advice on what to do with his newly acquired Star Trek transporter toy.

Mission: Impossible

After Star Trek went off the air in 1969, Nimoy joined the cast of Mission: Impossible for 2 seasons as the Great Paris, a retired magician who specialized in disguises and languages. MI was one of my favorite shows as I watched it in reruns in the 80's. I loved the complicated and often convoluted cons the team would run and Nimoy was at the center of a lot of it as he was the man on the inside. Here's a super-clip of many of his appearances on the show so you can see some of his versatility as an actor.

And just because he can't stray too far from Star Trek, here's a clip of him acting with Mark Lenard who played Sarek, Spock's father.


In 2002, one of the geekiest shows of all time, Futurama got the cast of Star Trek back together (save for Scotty) and recorded possibly the best episode in its history. In "Where No Fan Has Gone Before," the heads of the Star Trek cast are stolen by a super-fan and forced to reenact old episodes. It's hilarious and great fun, and if you have Netflix, you can check out the whole episode.

The Simpsons 

In Marge vs The Monorail, which incidentally is Conan O'Brien's favorite episode, the town of Springfield invests in a monorail and gets Nimoy as the Grand Marshall for their opening ceremony even though Mayor Quimby doesn't really know who he is.

Transformers: The Movie

Any Transformers fan should know that he voiced Galvatron, and we should probably just forget about his role in Dark of the Moon.

Star Trek

What can I say about Spock. The character taught me that it's okay to be smart and to be different from other people. He taught me to keep my emotions in check and he taught me to always have your friend's back. He even showed me that it was okay to be a kid with squinty eyes and a bowl haircut. Yes, Mr. Spock certainly had a big influence on me growing up. Probably more than he really should have but it is what it is. And here are some of my favorite Spock moments.

When Star Trek was rebooted in 2009, my interest was middling at best. So I didn't keep up with any information that came out about the movie. So when I went to see it, the first appearance of Spock Prime was a huge surprise to me. And for the record, I thought the movie was awesome.

In Amok Time, Spock returns to Vulcan and the episode features the famous fight scene between Spock and Kirk which was hilariously parodied by The Cable Guy.

When Spock believes he has killed Captain Kirk, he resigns his commission. And when he finds out Kirk is alive, a brief out of character moment of levity is experienced.

This one's gonna get you. In Wrath of Khan, Spock sacrifices himself because "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." This is the first time a character I looked up to was killed off in a movie and the first time I was traumatized by it.

It just seems fitting to pay final respects with Captain Kirk's speech.

"Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels... his was the most... human..." Cue the Kleenex. Live long and prosper, and Rest in Peace Leonard Nimoy.

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