As plans developed in 1978 for Star Trek to return to weekly to television, it became clear early on that Leonard Nimoy was not going to be involved. He had moved on and was not interested in revisiting the role again within the confines of the small screen. However, when the TV series evolved into a theatrical film in 1979, he was more agreeable and, once again, Nimoy was Spock. Over the course of the next 12 years and six feature films, Nimoy would not only revisit his iconic role but evolve it through death and rebirth. He would also become a director of two of the movies, along with the highly successful Three Men and a Baby (1987). After the completion of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and what appeared to be a send-off for the original cast, Nimoy appeared ready to move on to other projects.
Nimoy would become more selective about his screen roles as he entered the twilight of his career. Whatever project he attached himself to, his mere presence and mention of his name would elevate it above what it may otherwise have achieved. Such is the case with Brave New World (1998). This made-for-television movie is only loosely based on the classic sci-fi novel written by Aldous Huxley. The well-known tale deals with a futuristic and totalitarian society in which people have no control over their own lives. In this world, people can have whatever they want instantaneously (a very scary foreshadowing of the world we live in now). Nimoy stars as leader Mustapha Mond and does very well in the role but his screen time is somewhat limited. Ultimately, the film fails to inspire as it leaves the darkness of the novel behind for superfluous plot revisions. Brave New World is available on DVD through Amazon and is well worth your time. It’s been forgotten by too many and is waiting to be rediscovered. Vince Rotolo and the gang recently reviewed over at the B Movie Cast, so be sure to take the time and listen to their thoughts.
In 2009, Nimoy would return both to television and feature films. He would play the key role of Dr. William Bell in the TV series Fringe. Appearing in only 11 episodes, his on-screen presence seemed to legitimize the series and ensure its’ future iconic sci-fi status. He also revisited his role as Spock for the first time in 18 years in Star Trek (2009). Nimoy’s presence in the film helped bridge the generational gap and establish that the film was less a reboot and more an alternate timeline. His subsequent public approval of new Spock Zachary Quinto helped the film gain acceptance amongst some fan circles. But, let’s be honest, Nimoy was and always shall be the one and true definite Spock. How fitting then that his final screen role would be as Spock in an unpublicized cameo in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).
In February 2014, it was announced that Leonard Nimoy was suffering from chronic pulmonary disease. Trekkies everywhere would see the photo of Nimoy one month later looking frail in a wheelchair. How exciting was it then to see a much better looking Nimoy appear at several conventions via Skype, including the Salt Lake Comic Con in September 2014. To the best of my knowledge, these would be his last “public” appearances. On February 27, 2015, at the age of 83, he was gone.
His final Twitter post is a fitting epilogue to his amazing life: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”
I was lucky enough to have met Leonard Nimoy on three different occasions. Thank you Mr. Nimoy for the years of enjoyment I’ve received through your performances. How lucky are we that we can continue to experience that joy well into the future. Live long and prosper Mr. Nimoy.