The wisdom of Leonard Nimoy

Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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Leonard Nimoy, the actor known best for his role as Star Trek‘s Mr. Spock, has died at 83 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In a role that spanned over three decades, Nimoy imbued the half-Vulcan Spock with gentle poise, cool wisdom, and an earthly vitality that we now know were reflections of the man himself.

This was his final tweet, from Feb. 23.

Nimoy was for a long time ambivalent about the role that defined his career—and he was indeed much more than Spock—but largely because of his elegance and charisma, the first officer of the starship Enterprise became one of the most recognizable and esteemed characters in both TV and cinema.

Spock, like Nimoy, was a thoughtful person. The number of profound quotes, said by both the character and the actor, are too many to name, but this one is perhaps the best at embodying his life philosophy.

Spock’s famous “Vulcan salute,” accompanied by the phrase, “Live long and prosper” (of which Nimoy did both), was based on the priestly blessing performed by Jewish kohanim (priests) that he remembered seeing as a child.

The salute is probably the most famous hand gesture in all of fiction.

Spock’s curiosity for the world was typified by his frequent utterance of “Fascinating!”—sometimes sarcastic, sometimes genuine, but always positively Spock.

One of Nimoy’s more recent roles was on Fox’s sci-fi series Fringe as William Bell, the head of a shadowy corporation.

If you haven’t seen Fringe, you’ll have no idea what’s going on, and yet Nimoy is such a familiar, warm, and magnetic presence on screen that it almost doesn’t matter.

Today we’re left with only Nimoy’s memory, but what a perfect memory that is.