How Leonard Nimoy (RIP) grew to love Spock as much as we did

Andrew Collins in The Guardian:

ScreenHunter_1036 Feb. 28 19.36As with many others of my generation, Mr Spock was my babysitter. What we now refer to as “the original series” of Star Trek – it having since been superseded by four others, not to mention a dozen motion pictures – was famously cancelled by NBC in America in 1969 after three seasons, but it started airing here that July and boldly went into eternal syndication like no show had done before. I’m guessing I started watching it a couple of years later, unaware that its vision of a pioneering American future was already history. Spock was my favourite character on that famous bridge. Wasn’t he logically everybody’s?

As played by Leonard Nimoy, a Boston-raised polymath of Ukrainian parentage who eventually learned to embrace the pixie-eared half-Vulcan who made him an international icon, the starship Enterprise’s science officer was our appointment to view in those glory years when those of us too young to see science fiction at the cinema snaffled it up on TV. It was Mr – never Doctor – Spock who kept his head while all around were losing theirs, whether to a sexy female alien like fallible farmboy Captain Kirk, or amid some engine-room catastrophe like Scotty. (I seem to remember my mum having at least one baby book by the famous American paediatrician and Olympic rowing medallist Doctor Spock, who empowered mothers with his 1946 book Baby and Child Care. He was not Spock.)

Although the thespian and the half-Vulcan were two different people, to us they were one and the same. We assumed Nimoy to be as calmly logical and emotionally repressed as Spock. Nimoy’s relationship with his alter-ego was encapsulated by the titles of his two autobiographies, I Am Not Spock, published in 1975, and I Am Spock, 20 years later. But Nimoy was Spock; he even invented the famous Vulcan “neck-pinch” as a fighting technique suitable for a vegetarian, which Spock was. And the Vulcan salute (do it now), which he adapted from a blessing sign used bykohanim priests. The actor admitted that Spock’s personality had influenced his own in real life. Nimoy is in Spock’s green blood and Spock is in Nimoy’s red equivalent.

More here.