Leonard Nimoy, Always Spock, Always Human

Leonard Nimoy made Mr. Spock almost as much as Mr. Spock made Leonard Nimoy.

The struggle within.

Photograph: CBS via Getty Images

“Star Trek” premiered the year I started seventh grade, and lasted exactly as long as my time in junior high school. I can’t speak to what happened elsewhere, but at Alice Deal Junior High in Washington, the boys were falling all over themselves to imitate Mr. Spock.  It wasn’t his lack of emotion that we admired -- at least, looking back, I don’t think so -- but his struggle with emotion, his determination to remain in control of his feelings rather than letting them control him. In other words, the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock reminded us adolescents of ourselves. One of the very last episodes of the show, “The Way to Eden,” played on the affection Spock generated among the young, when he alone is able to empathize with the guitar-playing hippies the Enterprise takes aboard.

Plus, he was always right. We liked that, too.

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