On what would have been his 85th birthday I salute the world’s honorary grandpa.
I love this man really I do. In a way he is the embodiment of the American dream. Starting from simple beginnings in the West End in Boston he became world famous for portraying a character that has lasted in popular culture for decades. Yet through it all he remained humble, generous, and down to Earth. I had the good fortune to see him at one of his photography talks when he was promoting Secret Selves and it was at that time that I began to realize my secret self was him. He brought dedication, passion, and honour to everything he did as an artist and that’s something I try to always remember about my own work.
The thing that makes him have such a lasting impression on me was his humanity. It’s easy to forget looking back on all the success that’s come since that Spock was the first steady job Nimoy had ever had as an actor and his was 35 when that happened. Also he was never shy about talking about the struggle of those early years, about being bitter and angry at trying to build a career to support his family. About taking every acting job that came along and working all kinds of side jobs to make end meet. It serves as a wonderful reminder that no one is perfect and that no one’s life is perfect all the time. Even when success came there were still family issues and alcohol and smoking. As he said in his final tweet “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.”
Yet Nimoy tended the garden of his life faithfully even when it was hard. He was constantly trying new things like photography, acting, singing, voice work, sailing, directing, writing, poetry the list goes on. And he was always willing to share what he had with others whether that was supporting projects like the Griffith Observatory renovation or the Talia theatre rejuvenation in New York. Or even just individuals like Zachary Quinto and his cousin Jeff Nimoy. He was willing to share with the fans too going to convention after convention for decades on end. Even at the end he was willing to share a lot of his struggle with COPD; to spread awareness of it and highlight the dangers of smoking and the importance of quitting early. He could have shut himself away in those final months, but instead he was skyping, tweeting, and promoting shopLLAP that he ran with his granddaughter Dani. He was even in the planning stages of new projects that are now being carried out by his son Adam and daughter Julie.
So although it still hurts that he’s gone I can take comfort in the fact that a beautiful, happy, fulfilling, impactful life was lived and that’s the most we could ever ask for. The legend is gone, but his memory will truly live long and prosper.