An open talk with "Star TRek" pointed ear Leonard Nimoy Iabout his divorce, new family happiness and the great desire to make films - behind the camera.
Leonard Nimoy, world-wide known as pointed-eared, unemotional, super-intelligent Mr. Spock from movie and television "Star Trek", changed his private and his professional course with 57 years. Hollywoods most famous alien got divorced after 33 years and shows a lot more emotions privately than in his Spock role. In January he married for the second time - the film producer Susan Bay. "I still cannot grasp what has happened in the last 5 years", he softly says. "My life totally changed: I've never been so happy!"
Professionally, too, Nimoy is deeply satisfied. After years as actor who's not always been happy with his roles, he succeeded to change to the directing part. The sonof Ukranian- Jewish US immigrants already directed 2 "Star Trek" movies, directed the box-office hit "Three Men And A Baby" ($ 165 Million box office income) and directed the film drama "The Good Mother" with Diane Keaton.
It smells like Hyacinths. Sun floods the room through open windows. Leonard Nimoy sits relaxed with a broad content smile in the office of his new house. The house is at an idyllic place in one of the most expensive canyons of the Los Angeles luxory quarter Bel Air.
"The big turn began 5 years ago.", Nimoy tells. "I had come to accept the way my life went -- that I can't change anything any more. Then Paramount insisted in a third "Star Trek" film. Again I was supposed to play Spock. I agreed, but only if I could direct the film. The studio agreed though I only had direct in theatre so far.
In future Nimoy wants to quit acting and to direct only. "I've got several projects in preparation.", he says. "but so far nothing is decided on." Probably I will make a film of a book next. It is the story of of an American medicine student who decides to go on with his studies in France. I've got the rights for that. Susan and I will live in Europe for several months and work there. She will co-produce."
Susan Bay, the divorced wife of John Schuck, mother of a seven year old son, knows Nimoy since 27 years.
"I took acting lessons with Leonard in 1961," she says and touches Nimoy's hand kindly. "In the years after that we stayed friends, led our own lives. Then we met by chance at Paramount. I was working there for a smaller production."
The affair of both and Nimoy's divorce kept the US yellow press busy for months.
"They have written a lot of nonsense," Susan Bay laughs. She's a slender, elegant mid-fourty. Sie doesn't hide her grey hair. "One paper even claimed I've converted to Judaism on the day of our wedding. But I always have been jewish."
Nimoy, who's got two grown up children with his first wife, Sandi and who is a grandfather by now, does not talk about his divorce. "It had to do with re-gaining of territorry. It had to do with fullfilling duties not only to prevent a fight."
Today the new Nimoys live with Susan's son and a german nanny. ...
... Nimoy has bought it two years ago, after the divorce from his wife. For Hollywood standards it is a rather modest villa in Mexican style: red tiled roof, many tiles, plants and flowers, dark bars at the ceiling, garden with pool in the back of the house overshaddowed by a huge Sycamore-tree. On the walls there are photographs by Nimoy and memorabilia like the films where Nimoy directed. And there is a show-case with two Spockian latex-ears.
"We enjoy every minute in this house." Susan Bay says enthusiastically. "instead of going out we rather spend time here. I love to cook. Often friends come to visit. And our house still got many white walls. We always look for what would suit us at art markets." For Nimoy the joy of home and work comes after years of tireing fight for recognition. "I am glad my children did not become actors like me." he says. "It is a difficult profession with little chance for success."
The fight for recognition started for Nimoy as a child. His father -- a barber in Bosotn -- was against his choice of porfession. "Acting was no decent profession for my parents. They rather had seen me become a doctor, lawyer or engineer. Actors for them were vagabunds, people without a steady home.", he remembers.
Nimoy had to wait for 18 years until he was successful in the TV series "Star Trek". (here and in Austria known as "Raumschiff Enterprise" in television). Before that he never had steady work for more than two weeks.
Pointed eared Spock was his big chance in "Star Trek". He played the interplanetary hybrid for three years. He did it so well that he had problems getting away from it later. Spock hang on him as -- as the New York Times says -- "a tin can on the tail of a dog".
"That was not nice.", Nimoy admits openly today. "For the next 10 years I always was offered films or TV programs in which I should plays exotic or unemotional types like Spock. Even a two year guest role in the series "Mission: Impossible" didn't set me free from Spock. In his desperation Nimoy wrote his biography with the significant title "I Am Not Spock". He recorded two albums and wrote four poetry books. ......
... Because of the continuing popularity of the show Paraoumt decided in 1978 to pursue "Star Trek" with a movie after the episodes. The whole ensamble was hired. By now 5 films have been shot. The first four made more than 100 Million at the box-office. Part five starts in November in German cinemas. In America it started in the middle of June and entered the top of the success list at the first weekend with $ 17,3 Million. Nimoy smiles: "If I had known that at the time, I'd be more relaxed in front of the camera, I'd not worried about the future. Today I know that I can have a second career besides Spock."
How well Nimoy knows how to direct he could show with "Three Men and a Baby". It was the first film where he was directing only and not acting besides.
"I am full of respect for him", says "Baby"-main actor Ted Danson. "He's handled all brilliantly. The production were done ahead of time and for less than the calculated expenses.." Dansons co-star Tom Selleck praises: "Leonard strengthened the selfesteem of all actors."
His latest film "The Good Mother", a story of a mother -- as a consequence of a love affair she looses the custody of her six year old daughter -- Nimoy took so easy that he decorated the camera with "Spock for president" stickers.
"I am proud of this film", he says. "But it was the film which touched me the most."
Susan Bay swears that it is better to live with director Nimoy than with frustrated actor Nmoy. Nimoy empahsizes that he would take part in a sixth "Star Trek" film: "Why not? Today I stand above it all."
What if there is a great party in 1991? The occasion is the "Star Trek" 25 anniversary? Both Nimoy immediately answer: "Then we take a vacation in the Caribic..."