Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

What can you say? He was defined by a role, but he defined it. He played the character that ended up being the driving dramatic force behind a cultural touchstone. All an actor wants to do, if he's really passionate about his craft, is make enough money to begin to tell the stories that matter. Leonard Nimoy did that.

I think I can understand his ambivalence about being Spock, but then again, Star Trek is much bigger and greater than it appears, and he knew that. The greatness of Spock was what you might call the interior life of the character. You have to wonder how much of that mystique was driven forward by his own reflection on the experience of being Jewish.

I still say that Spock's death scene in The Wrath of Khan is one of the greatest visual portrayals of the gospel, encapsulated in John 15:13, that I have ever seen. "Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends."

One of the things I appreciate about his acting, in really every role I saw him play, was his beautiful enunciation. It's a small thing that isn't so small. It reflects dedication, and respect for the audience. Our language can be beautiful, and our stories, all the more so, when we decide that's how it's going to be.

These words aren't enough; they can't be. I only know that if he loved his family and friends as much as he loved to act, they were loved indeed. It was a love that spilled over to all of us. He has been, and always shall be, our friend.

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