One of my favorite interviews ever, Leonard Nimoy talks with Geoff Boucher of the site Hero Complex. He talks of photography, directing, and meeting Jimi Hendrix!
Recently I posted a picture of young Leonard on an FB page that caters to vintage images (1st picture below) and, to me at least, it was surprising to read the comments. Many seemed ‘shocked’ that he was ‘attractive’ in his youth, readers compared him to Paul Newman, Kevin Costner, and Chris Evans! And comments ranged from ‘So Handsome!’, ‘Swoon’ and ‘Who knew?’ to “He’s positively scary looking to me!” and ‘Yuck!”
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally (of course) he was perfection to me as a 13 year old. 40+ years on it seems he still had something that just made him beautiful. Not just the soft brown eyes, the hair, perfect jawline and warm smile, but especially that he was a genuinely good, loving, creative, and compassionate human being. It’s easy for someone who wasn’t familiar with him to scoff at his ‘unconventional’ handsomeness. To me it was enough that Nimoy himself didn’t find himself attractive, but he didn’t have to; we all saw it for him, and we loved him for himself.
The world could use more Leonard Nimoys. <3
Painting below by artist Tafafa (wow!)
Came across these on eBay the other day — a dealer had purchased original negatives from a photographer who took on-the-set photos of the Star Trek cast during the filming of Amok Time (among others). These outtakes are quite a treasure trove! I suspect it was common to have photographers on set to take pictures for publicity, but unlike regular publicity photos, these are not staged, but taken during the actual rehearsals and filming. I’ll be watching out for more!
I realize it’s been a little while now, but I had to do a little tribute to actor Adam West, who as you know passed away on June 9th. Adam’s Batman was to all his fans what Spock was to Trekkers; a beloved character, an inspiration, and an overall a hero. I loved Adam West’s voice, and how he made Batman a lovable hero, (if a bit goofy). Of course the 1966 TV show was pure parody, but it was a tonic the country needed from seeing the horror of Vietnam on the nightly news.
As Batman came out the same year as Star Trek, my initial memories of it as a 5-year old were a bit sketchy. I recall watching it with my family at the “Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!” every week. In fact, Batman was so popular, it aired twice a week at one point! I remember I loved the animated opening, because any child could not resist a cartoon! I recall having a crush on Burt Ward (a.k.a. Robin) because he was the cool teenager, and being a bit creeped out by The Joker. It was funny when the dynamic duo would climb up the buildings, and we all wondered why The Joker had a mustache under his makeup! (Cesar Romero refused to shave his trademark lip fuzz). We all thought it was pretty silly and never took it as seriously as Trek but it sure was fun escapism.
As I grew older and saw it in reruns, I remember finding it a bit embarrassing to watch (Bat-Tusi anyone?) but I did begin to appreciate the tongue-in-cheek atmosphere of the whole thing, and West really knew how to play it up! I only wish Batman could have married Catwoman! It appears that West agreed with me, when asked what Batman story he’d write:
“My Bruce Wayne would have been romancing Catwoman with a brandy snifter full of milk. Then he would have said something silly, like “Man cannot live on milk alone.”
After Batman, West had trouble getting roles because of the typecasting Batman gave him, but he remained optimistic:
“I can’t tell you how grateful I am to those fans. They are not stupid. I think they appreciate my sincerity and my work. Actors want to be loved. Batman (1966) has done that for me. I have an audience out there which is always waiting to see whatever I do. And new generations are constantly discovering me in reruns. So, as long as I stay sharp, good things can still happen for me. Meanwhile, I keep hoping that a wonderful opportunity will come along. Believe me, my life ain’t so bad, after all.”
And eventually, he found many a role after Batman, and had rarely been out of work right up to his passing last month. He also remained remarkably young-looking, even as he struggled with leukemia at the end.
Before Batman, West even had a Star Trek connection! He and Bill Shatner appeared in the short-lived series-turned TV Movie Alexander the Great with Shatner in the lead and West as Cleander. Here’s the whole movie!
On June 16th the city of Los Angeles beamed the Bat Signal onto city hall. I can’t imagine a better tribute to this beloved actor. <3 Rest in Peace.
Here’s a WONDERFUL interview with Leonard on Charlie Rose from 1995! This’ll make you smile! <3
I wish this was longer! Leonard on a campaign trip for Governor George McGovern in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1972! He made a lot of these trips during that year, and I’ve been coming across many pics from this era. I’ll post some soon in the My Weekly Spock column next week, but for now, enjoy that beautiful deep voice of yore.
For all our Mothers, here and above, our hearts are filled with your sweet love
Did you know that May is National Mental Health Month? Such an important condition, and one that its own sufferers are often too ashamed to get help for fear of being stigmatized. Never neglect a loved one who is going through their own personal hell; they need all the help they can get.
On a lighter note, here’s Leonard in his 1974 stage performance as Randall McMurphy, the wrongly institutionalized patient in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Boy I would have loved to see this.