A few weeks ago (February 27, 2021) was the sixth anniversary of actor Leonard Nimoy’s death. This coming Friday, March 26, 2021 would have been his 90th birthday, just six days behind his friend and co-star, Canadian actor William Shatner, who celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday. In honor of his ninetieth birthday, his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts is declaring Friday, March 26th to be Leonard Nimoy Day.
Leonard Simon Nimoy was born March 26, 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts, in the West End neighborhood. He left Massachusetts when he was eighteen to go west to California and pursue his craft as an actor, but always kept his hometown in his heart. Now, Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston is returning the favor, by saluting the actor on what would have been his 90th trip around the sun.
Nimoy is legendary for his portrayal Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan son of Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan and his Terran wife, Dr. Amanda Grayson, from 1966 to 2013. During the turbulent Sixties, a character who belonged to two worlds but didn’t fit in either, appealed to many viewers, especially teenagers. Teenagers always feel they don’t fit in. Many scientists and engineers claimed Spock as their inspiration. His Jewish heritage and faith were important to him and he tried to give back by narrating the documentary A Life Apart: Hasidism in America, about the various sects of Hasidic Orthodox Jews in 1997 and publishing The Shekhina Project, a photographic study exploring the feminine aspect of God’s presence, inspired by Kabbalah in 2002; it was controversial because it features nude pictures. In 2000, he received an honorary doctorate from Antioch University in Ohio, awarded for activism in Holocaust remembrance, the arts, and the environment.
He died from complications of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) February 27, 2015, as a result of years of smoking. Not one to miss an opportunity, he used the news of his diagnosis to encourage other tobacco addicts to quit.
Leonard Nimoy stretched the wings of his creativity not only as actor and a director, but was also a photographer, a voice actor, a singer, a songwriter (you can hear his songs here on SciFi.radio — we take requests), and an author. His portrayal of Spock inspired some viewers to pursue a STEM career, and others to apply logic and a stoic calmness to their own lives.
Nimoy earned three Emmy nominations for his role as Spock, and one for co-starring in A Woman Called Golda. He was granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985. In 2010 the Space Foundation granted him the Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award for creating a positive role model that inspired viewers to learn more about the universe. In 2012 he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Boston University.
Matt Atchity, the editor-in-chief of Rotten Tomatoes claimed that Nimoy as Spock was essential to appreciating Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. “His legacy as that character is key to the enjoyment of Star Trek. The way that Spock was used as a device for the writers to examine humanity and examine what it meant to be human, that’s really what Star Trek was all about. And in finding Leonard Nimoy, they found the perfect person to portray that.”
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.