Nimoy Talks Life With Spock

In January we ran early excerpts from an unpublished interview with Leonard Nimoy, and now the full interview is available. In the interesting discussion, the original Spock talks about aging, photography, his long career and politics. He also talked a bit about the character of Spock and how it has influenced his life, excerpts below.

From the interview by Peter Hossli.

On what it was about Spock that became his most defining character

It is a very intriguing character. My job is to make the character believable. [He picks up a sculpture and explains who he photographed it] Spock is an interesting character, unusual, very intelligence; I thing people enjoy the intelligence of the character. He also has a sense of humor; he ‘s extremely dependable, useful in a crisis, a problem solver, and a friend of the humans.

On if Spock is ‘a burden’:

No. I don’t even think about this anymore. I do what I do. People either except what I do or they don’t. Having been Spock helps me because I’m a public figure. It helps me to attract interest to what I’m doing. I can attract more interest to this work than somebody who is totally unknown.

On leaving Spock behind

I don’t worry about it, I just do what I. I let it take me where it takes me. If it takes me away from Spock, that’s fine. If it doesn’t, fine. I can’t spend my time worrying what’s going to happen with public perception. That’s a waste of time. I don’t have any control over it. I don’t have any influence over it. If I make an image I take responsibility for it. I can’t take any responsibility for people think for me as Spock or a photographer. I’m not interested in that.

On the reaction to the name of his 70s memoir “I am not Spock”

I wrote that book because I was getting a lot of questions about Spock, about “Star Trek” and about my career. While I was writing the book I was in the airport in San Francisco. A little boy saw me. Hi mom said “look who is standing right here in front of you, this is your favorite person, you are watching him on TV every day”. The boy had no idea what his mother was talking about. “This is Mr. Spock, go and say hello”. And he still didn’t see it, for a good reason. I didn’t have the make up, the ears, the costume; Mr. Spock was not standing in front of him. What the mother meant to say was this is the actor who is playing Spock. But she didn’t say that, she said this is Spock. For this little boy I was not Spock. That’s why I called the book “I am not Spock”. Well, it was a mistake. People misread my intention. They thought I was rejecting the character. I was not. Spock. It’s a great character, positive, useful, intelligent.

Much more in the interview with Nimoy at including our previously reported quotes of his thoughts on returning to the role of Spock in the new Star Trek.

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Spock does rock!

Every time this guy talks, I respect him even more.

I’d like to know Quinto’s answers in 40 years :D

I actually have “I am Spock” which has some enlightening commentary between Leonard and Spock. He also talks about his mistake in titling “I am not Spock”

How do I put this……………any word on Nimoy’s nose?

I have both “I am” and “I am not”… I have an original printing (for whatever that’s worth) of “I am Not Spock”. I had Nimoy sign it a few yrs ago. I think it’s cool, nonetheless.

The title “I Am Not Spock” did not really fit the content of the book that well. I haven’t read it for a long time, but I don’t remember it being any kind of rejection of the character. People who only know it by the title are the ones who have mistakenly assumed that it was a rejection.

Spock IS a great character. For Mr. Nimoy it was also a job. It’s probably tough to worry about your wife, kids, parents and bills, go outside and deal with your real life, and the short time daily you have to live it because of work, and then when you go out and try to live it, the character just occupies all your time, both inside and outside the studio.

Nimoy gracefully and thankfully was able to gain perspective with time and growth and diversification of his own oeuvre. He also finally freed himself of Spock and then re-visited him and finally relaxed.

For many, Spock is the true icon of great intelligence, emotion and logic living in one body, in conflict, and LN did a damn good job with it. It’s his forever, in my book.

Harry: I thought I read in the Observer that he got up and finished the scene.

Only in NY can ‘Leonard Nimoy Bonks Schnoz’ be a headline in a respectful article.

You put it correctly, Harry … right on the …

Why so many bumbles and typos in the transcript of the interview? It’s barely legible.

Is this merely the result of reporter rush, or is Nimoy’s aging taking its toll on him?

I love this guy dearly. Hope it’s just sloppy quality assurance.

LN is such an elder statesman for Trek. Very helpful. Very classy.

Gotta say i cant wait to se him in the new film!

NOT CANNON!!! Leonard Nimoy is not Spock, spock is real and a real person who is this pretending to BE

Ya, Spock rocks!
Those books sound like a fascinating read…!
Can’t wait to see Mr. Nimoy on the silver screen in MAY!!!

trek official
your ‘not canon’ is now officially old….find new material

#11 English is not the reporter’s first language.

LOL, you can definitely sense Nimoy getting more and more irritated with the interviewer. Clearly he’s getting tired of answering the same questions about the Trek movie again and again.

It’s great to hear him enjoy reminising. For a while there he really did not like being reminded of the role!

Don’t really think it’s so much that Nimoy is irritated about questions regarding the movie–it’s just a potential minefield that he’d rather avoid at this point.

am i high or what?


You’re what.

Decloaking . . .

Man, I wish I would have heard the story about the little boy and “I Am Not Spock” 30 years ago. I have been bummed about it all this time.

#16 Anthony. Shoot, I just figured out he was joking. I thought the “Not Cannon” guy was serious all this time.

Wow two misconceptions destroyed inside of one minute. Most excellent.


If I’d ever have half as much class as this guy, I’ll be very happy.

Is this a “Real” script leak?????

To paraphrase Paul Simon..

“Still grokking Spock, after all these years”

Any follow up info on Leonard’s nose? I hope there isn’t any permanent damage. I have visions of Leonard with Karl Malden’s nose. AHHHHH!!!!!! Nightmare!

What’s the deal with that “leak?”

I still wonder about Old Spock and what he’s going to be like after all these years. I’m very much looking forward to that little part of the story.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

I heard that Mr. Nimoy hurt his nose recently on the set of Trek. Did anyone else hear about that? Is he okay?

oops, sorry. I didn’t see #28’s comment :-(

Script leaked?? hmm… if someone really stoled these script pages from
the set, he is a loser :-) I think this looked like pages that were leaked on purpose….because they tell absolutely nothing…at least nothing that makes sense without knowing the rest of the script. I guess somone is teasing us.
And I dearly hope that script excerpt is a complete fake…because it sucks

Anthony, who is playing Lt. Lin?

I hate when actors start talking politics. They should just keep it to themselves.

But yeah, the interview was pretty lame, and the guy seemed kinda hostile at times….

I dont want to believe its real iether.
its been said that it goes up and get yanked cause tptb blah blah. but this one has been up there for 11+ days so far, so when is that one coming down? :)
oh forget im not geting into that thign right now.

By the way… Mr.Nimoy, I think you are at least as interesting and talented a person in real life, as Spock is in fictional life. Thanks for decades of public presence.

I wonder how popular TOS not to mention Leonard Nimoy would still be if the show had ran 7 years or more, I think because it lasted such a short time it has become a legend.

Always great to hear about the original actors’ take on the characters. For XI, I’d appreciate an Old Spock Cut with only the Nimoy footage put together for convenient re-viewing.

I don’t know who wrote this, but it’s full of spelling and grammatical errors .. seems like you need a proof reader?

“He picks up a sculpture and explains who he photographed it” (how)
“Spock is an interesting character, unusual, very intelligence” (intelligent)
“I thing people enjoy the intelligence of the character” (think)
“People either except what I do or they don’t” (accept)

Call me anal if you must …

I was just going to post the grammatical issues Bruce did in #40 — was this a rush-post?

Nevermind — it’s the source material @ Hassil that has the errors:

I agree with #35. I love these people so much, but I hate when they talk politics. I do agree, however, with his statements regarding the US press and his statements regarding society’s view of beauty. I’m sure a lot of people would say, “Hey, why did that Dr. Spock guy take pictures of all those naked fat chicks?!” Personally, I am appalled by how some people view “overweight” men and women. Good for LN for seeing the beauty of photographing something different.
(And a belated happy birthday from me, Mr. Nimoy!)

38. Battletrek

So your point is “The less Trek, the better”? If so, you probably belong on a different site.

Spock represents Star Trek to me, more so than anything else. Leonard Nimoy and his character Spock are truly iconic.

That so-called script leak is just someone trying to get attention. It’s not real, heck it’s not even sensible. It’s a joke.

Despite some of the comments made here, I actually commend Leonard Nimoy for speaking his mind regarding politics.

Being a pivotal character in Star Trek, would you people seriously expect him to be anything BUT liberal? Why is it that liberalism can be good in the fictional world of Star Trek but must be silenced in the real world???

I wonder if some of the reactions here had been the same if it were Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger praising GW’s war in Iraq…

It seems that 99% of what comes from Hollywood is liberal. And liberalism is hardly silenced in the “real” world. Lots of people love movies and the actors in them, but don’t share the actors’ views. It’s one thing to ask a politician a question about politics, but why is the view of Hollywood so important? Are they experts? The entire entertainment industry seems (not always) to promote the liberal viewpoint.
The beauty of Star Trek has always been its ability to make social commentary, but in a way that’s so subtle that it’s not preachy or uncomfortable. A lot of ST is about duty, honor, loyalty, etc. Those values are neither conservative or liberal, they’re just Human.
If you think about the stands the Spock character has taken, they’re not liberal or conservative, they’re just logical.
If an actor holds a conservative viewpoint, they’re expected to keep quiet.
But anyone who holds a liberal viewpoint can shout it from the mountaintop? Doesn’t seem fair (or logical).
I think that’s why #35 and I would prefer that all actors keep their views to themselves.

Well said, Cobra Commander!

so refreshing and even brave for mr. nimoy to have shared his love/hate relationship with his spock-character. although it seems that in his hindsight, he himself is not aware at how bitter he appeared regarding his typecasting.

and what actor wouldn’t be frustrated. especially when you think of all the great actors who worked in the horror and sci-fi genres back then who never ever got good work in the entertainment industry after being myopically typecast by hollywood producers.

people need to remember that actors back then were routinely traveled around the country and compelled (sometimes contractually) to appear in costume or even in character at public relations and promotional events. leonard’s book actually spoke out for the anger of many many other actors who had suffered his fate.