Leonard Nimoy Slips his Surly Bonds at 83


color_nimoy_headshotLeonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.

His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Nimoy announced that he had the disease last year, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.

His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).

Mr. Nimoy, who was teaching Method acting at his own studio when he was cast in the original “Star Trek” television series in the mid-1960s, relished playing outsiders, and he developed what he later admitted was a mystical identification with Spock, the lone alien on the starship’s bridge.

[ article by Virginia Heffernan ]

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  1. INFORMATION SOCIETY offered this:

    Everyone loved Leonard Nimoy. Let’s face it: Spock was the first cool science geek.

    But for Information Society, there was one small moment that epitomized the openhearted nature and generous spirit of the man.

    In 1988, our first Warner Brothers album was completely finished: recorded, mixed, and mastered. It had taken nearly a year, but with the help of our producer Fred Maher, A&R man Kevin Laffey, and Tommy Boy bigwig Monica Lynch, we could finally look forward to releasing a real “major label” album.

    That’s when the Warner Brothers legal department heard the record and realized that nearly every song contained uncleared, and therefore illegal, samples. To make matters worse, these weren’t just samples from other musical artists, many of them were from network TV shows, mostly Star Trek, of course.

    There was a deep thorny thicket of big Hollywood players who were not about to let some no-name nerds from Minneapolis co-opt their intellectual property and put it into a song; everyone from Paramount Pictures, to the Screen Actors Guild, to the Musician’s Union had problems with our record.

    The record sat on the shelf for six months, while we gnashed our teeth and troubled deaf heaven with our bootless cries. One night our A&R man, Kevin Laffey, happened to meet Leonard’s son Adam Nimoy, in a bar in Los Angeles. After hearing our tale of woe, Adam offered to play the record for his father.

    After hearing “What’s On Your Mind”, Leonard not only gave us permission to use the “pure energy” sample, but said that if Paramount and the others still refused, he would re-record the line for us.

    It was that small act of generosity that broke the legal logjam, and within a few months the record was out. He led by example, and essentially shamed the others in his industry into doing the right thing.

    He is quoted as saying, “the more we share, the more we have”, and by sharing his inimitable voice with us, Leonard Nimoy gave those no-name nerds from Minneapolis a career.

    He lived long and prospered, and helped many others to do the same.

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