The Greatest Role: Leonard Nimoy’s Struggle With ‘Being Spock’

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from 21st Century Wire.com

His career was truly galactic. Actor Leonard Nimoy played the role of ‘Mr. Spock’ in the long-running Star Trek television and film series, a career which spanned nearly five decades. Sadly, this great icon of the screen died yesterday at the age of 83.

One thing is clear by the sheer amount of tributes from fans of Nimoy – that he was greatly admired and respected by so many, not just because of the brilliant character which he played, but because of the way he played it – inspiring audiences worldwide, with great poise, integrity and dignity.

As modern mythological avatars go, his was one of the strongest ever constructed. Within, the Star Trek story, Spock’s assumed qualities which were beyond the grasp of humans – a superior intellect and power to apply logic in any instance – even under extreme duress, reliability in adversity, as well as the uncanny the ability to transcend petty emotions, and ‘the seven deadly sins’ which seemed to handicap his human crew mates. Through these popular science fiction dramas, Spock’s innate Vulcan abilities saved humanity, and the galaxy, many times over. Occasionally (and when it mattered most) he would also exhibit, albeit measured, certain endearing human insights and emotions. One might say he represented a ‘cosmic missing link’ between what is “out there” and with humans on earth. This unlikely combination elevated Spock’s ‘humanoid’ character to an other-worldly status in the eyes of Star Trek followers. In this way, Nimoy’s role was perhaps bigger and more symbolic than any other.

The names Nimoy and Spock should be synonymous with astronomical expectations. With so many watching his every move, there was a tremendous amount of pressure placed on Nimoy’s shoulders – having to always conform to the parameters set forth by his role as ‘Dr. Spock’. Loyal fans did not always accept his forays into other areas, as if he was some sort of veteran public official, or intergalactic war hero. Such were the great expectations and high ideals set forth by his magnanimous off-screen personality, and larger than life on-screen character.

Regardless of the drawbacks, he dutifully played his role on, and off, camera…

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