Leonard Nimoy: Tributes and Memories

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This was Leonard Nimoy’s final tweet. While we were all trying to think of something to say, he had already said it for us.

The internet is holding a giant wake today. Everyone is gathered around their computers, telling stories about the person we’ve just lost. My clearest memory is a small one: I was eight years old, sitting in the darkened IMAX theater of the Boston Museum of Science, when Nimoy’s voice came over the loudspeaker as part of the pre-recorded sound check. After that, he narrated a short movie about New England, and I knew that he loved that place as much as I did. I felt like Nimoy and Spock and the museum and my home were all connected, along with everything I loved about science and science fiction. Next time I’m up there, I’m going to have to try to make a pilgrimage – The Museum says his voice will live on in the theater’s sound check.

Everybody I know can tell you some way that Nimoy and his characters influenced their lives. These stories, big and small, paint a picture of his legacy. We’ll keep remembering, sharing, laughing, and crying.

Here are some of the things that have made me burst into tears today.

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1) Barack Obama participates in our great nerd wake:

Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy.  Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time.  And of course, Leonard was Spock.  Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.

I loved Spock.

In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person.  It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.”  And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear Leonard Nimoy did just that.  Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today.

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2) Nimoy was fighting for equal pay in Hollywood before it was cool, according to this interview with Walter Koenig.

Leonard (Nimoy, Mr. Spock) was always kind of unapproachable. But a very good man. Sound ethics and a good sense of morality.

How so?

When it came to the attention of the cast that there was a disparity in pay in that George and I were getting the same pay but Nichelle was not getting as much, I took it to Leonard and he took it to the front office and they corrected that.

He was sort of the captain, then?

On that issue, he was. You could count on Leonard for that kind of thing.

3) He was also a huge champion of body positivity and acceptance, publishing a gorgeous book of NSFW nude photographs that glorified women of all shapes and sizes.

Natalie Angier, an author who wrote the introduction to The Full Body Project, told Mashable that Nimoy was deeply troubled upon hearing that most women felt some degree of body shame.

“It really disturbed him that women who considered themselves overweight had this terrible feeling about themselves,” Angier said. “He wanted to show the world that there’s beauty to be found in different body types.”

4) Many found the way Spock dealt with his dual heritage inspiring, as Tobias Bucknell wrote in this moving essay. Last year, My Star Trek Scrapbook  shared an article Nimoy wrote in response to a letter from a biracial girl in 60s teen magazine FAVE. I’m just going to post it here, in all its heartbreaking yet inspirational glory.

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This is just a small selection of the awesome things he’s done. There are great tributes all around the web, if you want to hear more stories, and feel more feelings, everywhere from i09 to the New York Times. I think NPR spoke for all of us when they said Leonard Nimoy was, and always will be, our friend.

And for everyone who feels a connection they can’t really explain and are looking for some way to express it… he’s got that covered, too.HonoraryGrandfatherThank you Leonard Nimoy, we’ll miss you.

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