Anytime an actor of a certain magnitude passes, we all reflect back on the reasons why we collectively felt drawn to that individual in the first place. Usually, we latched them based on our memories of a particular role or project. However, sometimes an actor manages to rise above the typecasting, that singular role. I think Leonard Nimoy did that.
And yeah, I know that sounds stupid when discussing Star Trek icon Nimoy, who passed away today at age 83. He’s Spock. He’ll always be Spock. A true pop culture icon. Now I’ve been a die-hard Trek fan…well, forever, and it’s a sad day for all Trek fans. But much like his counterpart William Shatner, Nimoy was a man of many, many talents: actor, director, writer, singer, poet and photographer. Hell, he even earned a Master’s Degree in Spanish in his 40’s. He was more than just one character.
Beyond Star Trek, he lent those talents all over television and movies. Though he never dove deep into the horror genre, it doesn’t mean he didn’t leave an impact. He guest starred and directed an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, but I specifically always remember Nimoy for two roles in horror. 1) In Search Of... 2) Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Ok, so In Search Off… isn’t really horror, but I grew up with the reruns, and it always managed to scare the hell out of me. Nimoy had that kind of a voice where his presentation always induced a sense of darkness no matter the seriousness or stupidity of the subject. Perhaps in an alternative dimension, the man could’ve been Morgan Freeman, the go to voice-over narrator. I know he did plenty of voice work over the years, but he really should have been the voice of everything. Hollywood sold him short.
I’ve always thought the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been under appreciated, as was Nimoy’s performance as Dr. David Kibner. That gaunt face and monotone voice worked perfectly for a horror film, and he showed that here. Granted, his isn’t the biggest role in the film, but he’s memorable as the psychologist who knows things aren't quite right with the world. Hell, some of his dialogue from the film seems appropriate now when considering Nimoy's death: “We drift through the universe, from planet to planet, pushed on by the solar winds. We adapt and we survive. The function of life is survival.” Seems about right.
So yes, Leonard Nimoy was and will forever be Mr. Spock. But let’s not shortchange him. Fans like myself loved him for the character, but we also grew to truly appreciate the man. LLAP.