"I am not Spock! " declared Leonard Nimoy. “l like being Spock. But I like myself, too. I’d like to be independent of him. I try very hard at doing my things, thinking my thoughts. To be me, Leonard Nimoy."
It was Spock in Star Trek that made Nimoy a household face. He hadn`t started out trying to become a cult hero. He was skid actor of 19 looking Iike, as he terms it, "A deformed Garfield." And, like Garfield, he came from the streets of Boston. Nimoy says he was "an outcast, semi-understandable, angry young guy." His goal was to be at Lon Chaney or a Paul Muni. But it was the 1950s and people wanted actors who looked and acted like Tab Hunter, not a Nimoy trying to act like Paul Muni. Finally, after fifteen undistinguished years, he happened into the role of Mr. Spock.
Work on Star Trek lasted three Seasons: 1966, 1967 and 1968. From the beginning, the series was a success, and so was the mysterious Vulcan. As Nimoy explains: "The scientists admired his logical, precise and scientific mind. The hippies dug his cool and his mysticism. The kids revelled in his strength and his sharp, dry wit, to say nothing of his fascinating ears.”
AlthoughStar Trek has long l been consigned to the re-run circuit, the interest among its fans has only heightened through the years. Conventions of Star Trek Club Members flourish. In Nimoy’s latest book Am Not Spock, he tries to describe the theme of the scripts written for the series:
"There is hope ln the 22nd century we have survived the atomic and hydrogen age. We have contacted intelligent life on other planets. We have joined in an intergalactic federation to work together for the common good We respect truth and recognise that beauty exists in many diverse and interesting forms. We have survived the wasting and near destruction of earth`s natural resources. We fight dictatorship and political demagoguery, and we win “
After Star Trek, Nimoy tried two sessions of Mission Impossible as Paris, the master of disguises, giving him each week a new but "non-dimensional" character. So, he quit.
Nimoy returned to the legitimate stage in a variety of roles: Teyve in Fiddler on the Roof, Fagin, King Arthur, R.P. McMurphy, Caliguia, and The Man in the Glass Booth.
One thing that really annoys Nimoy is the idea that he can be treated like a pawn by other members of his profession. "l hate that sort of stuff‘," he says. "l have the manipulation and the emotional tomet. I went through that for years and I just won’t have it in my life anymore. I`ve been through that so many times, so MANY times. I‘ve had my heart broken so many times."
Nimoy’s 45th birthday was March 26. He has a wife of 22 years and two children in college. His daughter Julie is studying commercial art and his sort Adams is in political science.
Nimoy is also a student. At least twice a month he meets with an adviser from Antioch Collage to work on projects for his masters in education "to see where it will lead". He does about 35 lectures a year and has a swarm of agents "one for lectures, one for West Coast film-TV work, one for East Coast commercials. Literary agents, theatre agents. I'd like to get one agent to handle them alI," he sighs.
He has produced two books of photographs and poetry. One reviewer said of Nimoy`s poetry efforts: “Nimoy doesn’t`! have a big enough name to sell something Iike this. It would take a name like Mark Spitz or Richard Nixon."
"I’ve got that review hanging on my wall," answers Nimoy. "That book (You and I) is now going into its sixth printing of 10.000 each at four dollars is crack and Avon bought it and paid us $4.000 for paperback rights and not it has sold 250.000 copies!" His latest literary effort I Am Not Spock, is his phiIosophical statement on the Spock period, Nimoy had his own philosophical, social activist period.
When he’s home he watches television and frequently appears on one television game show, $10.000 Pyramid. "lt happens to be one of The few games that I play well,” he admits. "I always watch it when I’m home. I knew it would be fun, and fun isn`t that easy to find these days. Some game shows are an embarrassment, and I often wonder why people get into them."
This summer Nimoy tours in America as `lggins in My Fair Lady. He also played Sherlock Holmes, which is one of his favourite recent accomplishments. Nimoy had wanted to play Holmes ever since 1968 when a writer mentioned the similarities between Spock and the beloved Holmes.
"Gene Roddenberry (who produced Star Trek) talked with me about some Holmes projects,” said Nimoy," and Sid Sheinberg at Universal said I should look for roles where the requirement is to project mystery and intelligence, which he felt I did. He said some actors who are intelligent don’t necessarily project it, and of course some who aren`t do.
"The physical aspect is right, Tool, from Conan Doyle’s description tall, lean, sharp features. Plus it’s fun to be that one step ahead of the audience."
Nimoy is happy about the dramatic roles but not anxious. He says, simply, "I’ve got nothing to prove to anybody anymore."