Leonard Nimoy On Finality Of Retirement & Closure For Spock + New Photograpy Show

mccoyThis week Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy has a new photography show all about "Secret Selves" open in Massachusetts. In a new NPR interview promoting the opening, Nimoy also talked about how the Star Trek movie brought closure to Spock and how his decision to retire is final. Details below. 


Leonard Nimoy on retirement and bringing closure to Spock

In an interview with WAMC Public Radio, mostly focusing on his new "Secret Selves" photography show, Leonard Nimoy also discussed his retirement of acting (which seems very final) and his final time as Spock.

Nimoy on his "announcement" to retire from acting

It was an accident [laughs]. I was finishing a conversation last year after I had done the Star Trek movie last year and typically [journalists] will say "What’s next for Leonard Nimoy?", and I said "that’s it, I’m done, I have had enough of this" off the top of my head. I hadn’t planned on making an announcement, but it went out there like a shot "Nimoy Quits…Nimoy Retires…It’s Over". And I was kind of glad. It gave some finality to the idea. Otherwise I might have dibbled along for a while and I didn’t want to do that, so it was. So it was an accident, but a happy accident.

Nimoy on his final roles in Star Trek and Fringe

I went back to the Star Trek movie because it offered me a chance to do something with the Spock character that we had not done, and that was to kind of bring him around full circle and give some closure to the character. And then having done that and having a very good experience, the people who made the Star Trek movie asked me as a favor to do some appearances on the Fringe television show and I did five episodes, and I said "you got it guys" and they said "if we come to your home, can we shoot some more?" and I said "no, it’s done". So it’s over. I am totally committed to the photography now.

Nimoy in Season 2 finale of "Fringe" – his final appearance as actor

Got to WMAC to listen to the full interview with Leonard Nimoy, talking about retirement and his new Secret Selves show.

Nimoy’s new Secret Selves show

Leonard Nimoy’s "Secret Selves" show is open now at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA and R. Michelson Gallery in Northampton, MA. The theme of the show is to show the subjects "alternate identity" as subjects were asked to show who they thought they could be.

Nimoy at his "Secret Selves" preview

You can order the book for secret selves for $39, or $75 signed by Nimoy

Here is a clip from the DVD that comes with the book.

Here is Nimoy talking to Bill Shatner on Raw Nerve about the idea for "Secret Selves".

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“Take me through the Genesis of the idea…”

Haha! These guys we’ll always have a part of Star Trek in them.

I will always admire Leonard. He may be retired from the stage and screen, but he’s having a ball with Twitter and his photography. I wish him all the best.

LL&P, Leonard.

I wish him all the very best

I met Mr. Nimoy at the Vegas con in 2008.

What a true gentleman.

Thank you Mr. Nimoy for providing me with such great entertainment over the years. You made Spock such a noble character. Thank you

Oh, well. We’ll always have Paris.

And William Bell. And Spock.

So… he actually means it this time?

Nimoy, in a sense, really is Spock. The character was, for many years, uncomfortable with his human self. The actor was, for many years, uncomfortable with his Vulcan character. Spock could not escape his humanity – Nimoy could not escape the character.

His presence in the last film arguably contributed to some of the sloppy writing. First, you have to have a time travel script, and those almost never turn out quite right. We implausibly meet Spock in a random cave and everything plays out as if the universe is ruled by the fates.

The purpose, of course, is simple. You also want old-school fans to show up at the theater and Nimoy is a draw for the old-timers. Nimoy serves as the torch-passing actor, establishing continuity and connection between the two worlds (a mojo transplant). TNG launched with the same gag. In the latter case, however, the show didn’t really feature McCoy having one last adventure. It was nice to see Spock in the film, but it was a bit contrived, out of place, and the motivating purpose was a bit to obvious.

Frankly, I don’t want to see any new Trek franchises digging up TOS Trek’s remaining living cast members in a cheap bid for authenticity. Ditto for TNG.

If you are going to boldly go, then just go.

AN interesting POV on Secret selves, Mr Nimoy looks so fresh and enthusiastic while talking about the project.
It’s ironic that back in 1979 when TMP was released there were a few critics saying that the crew where too old when compared to the fresh faces of George Lucas original trilogy, but the videos posted here demonstrate that you are only as old as you feel :)

Thank you, Mr. Nimoy–arguably the best actor in all of Trek!

“and Enterprise feels like a house, with all the children gone”.

My daughter and I had the honor and privilege to meet Mr. Nimoy at the fan expo last year in Toronto, I told him that I wanted my daughter to meet one of my childhood hero’s (the second Mr Shatner.. this year at fan expo in Toronto). And that allot of her childhood memories with her dad was watching Trek together. Thanks for the great entertainment over the years and for giving me some of the fondest memories as well. Mr Nimoy all of the best and I hope you LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!

Wait, he’s quitting acting but there’s still hope for his singing career, right?

After all, The Hobbit movie is getting made, and they’ll need a theme song…

My secret self: Vulcan. As for comments made by YARN, a little harsh but I do agree with boldly going and passing the torch, which is exactly what Nimoy has done.

Nimoy: “Everybody, it seems, or many people, have this sense of, who am I really supposed to be? Where’s the rest of me? Who am I looking for? A partner? A mate? Some part of me, that I feel is missing, to make myself feel complete?”

Spock: “Each of us, at some time in our life, turns to someone, a father, a brother, a god, and asks, why am I here? What was I meant to be? Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?”


#7: “Frankly, I don’t want to see any new Trek franchises digging up TOS Trek’s remaining living cast members in a cheap bid for authenticity. Ditto for TNG. If you are going to boldly go, then just go.”

Very, very, very well said, sir.

I completely agree with Nimoy on him bringing Spock full circle and all that and I totally respect his decision to retire. Really, I mean, a man approaching eighty and still being the class act he is, I’m absolutely on his side if he thinks he should quit doing conventions and all that stuff. Really, I mean who could blame him.

So, if Nimoy brings Spock full circle in the sequel together with Shatner, and if he solely attends conventions I’m going to attend too, I’m absolutely fine with his decision. Really. :))

15. S. John Ross

Seconded. I understand entirely why they brought him back for one last handover, but actually, in the long run, the new team were so good, it wasn’t necessary to feature Mr Nimoy, merely fun!

Oh well, now Zachary Quinto’s off Heroes, they could always cast him as a young William Bell! ;)

#7 and #15

I don’t think it was a cheap bid for authenticity. I think it was meant to pay tribute to a great actor and important character- one that needed to come full circle in end. It allowed all of us fans to pay respect to the actor and character of Spock. Bill and Kirk had closure in “Generations”, though not one that we fans would have chosen neccessarily.

I never really imagined it without him, it wouldn’t have been as good to me-

Nimoy in Star Trek (2009) was also a way to keep the movie from being a straight reboot that ignored prior canon. It allowed them to use existing canon to create a new timeline. Yes, it was a way to get old fans to check out the new film. But it also allowed them to keep a link to what has come before.

I also like the closure of Nimoy’s Spock in the 2009 movie. I was great to see him starting a new Vulcan colony and that’s what I like to think of him doing for the rest of his days: exploring a new frontier for the betterment of his Vulcan people. I would prefer him passing away of extreme old age among his own people than some heroic death among the Romulans.


“Nimoy in Star Trek (2009) was also a way to keep the movie from being a straight reboot that ignored prior canon. It allowed them to use existing canon to create a new timeline. Yes, it was a way to get old fans to check out the new film. But it also allowed them to keep a link to what has come before.”

There are a number of people on this site who NEED to read this statement so that they are able to put aside their ignorance regarding how this movie fits into the overall canon.

19, 21, and this is the deft handling of Trek by Orci etc. that made me proud they were working on the films.

Met him last year at Comic Con, and he was nothing short of a gracious gentleman.

May he live long and prosper! And good for him to retire and leave the fans with such a great body of work on view (his movies/TV and photography). He is wise to retire and end his career on a high note and not overstay his welcome as so many less-talented celebrities tend to do.

A class act, he is.

Another big check and he will be back!


Indeed, but you unintentionally implied he was retiring from photography. He was very specific that that was not the case. He is retiring from those other careers to concentrate on his photography.

Although I don’t know Mr Nimoy’s financial situation, he certainly doesn’t need the money. If he ever does anything else, it would be for pure enjoyment.

The other half of the duo, Shatner, is like the energizer bunny, he keeps going and going and going…

I heard or read somewhere where the young kids know Mr Shatner more as the priceline guy, rather than the iconic James T Kirk. Their loss.

But I guess that’s the way things go…..

Does anyone else think Spock Prime should have died in the last movie in a heroic manner to save the younger cast.


Killing Spock Prime again can be a dicey proposition that also risks being labeled cliche.

Of course, that’s one thing were Trek has sort of cheated fans as the series and franchise have never really explored what it means for Spock to have died in a series where:

1. The transporter first kills you and then makes a copy of the live you some far distance away.

2. Three alien katras from an advanced but decayed civilization can suck the katras out of three Enterprise crew members, preserve those katras in glass globes, and then insert their own alien katras into the vacated bodies to “live” again.

3. A human female and male can exchange katras using some alien tech.

And a film franchise where a Vulcan technique allows two katras to exist in one humanoid body at the same time.

You see? After his first death, killing Spock Prime again is no longer as simple as two words in a script as you now also have to establish whether his katra survives or is obliterated as well.

And then there’s the whole question not explored in the 2009 movie of whether Spock and Spock Prime “share” the same katra?

And all of that culminates in the question of whether the Nexus preserves katras or is it as Guinon hints: that even when you “leave” the Nexus you never really do – at least, katra-wise?

#28: get a life?

It is all about money. He wants another big check. He will do it for the right money!


Robert Smigel SNL 1986

#7 – agreed… but can I also agree with #19 (ie. I would have liked a total reboot but what we got worked incredibly well, despite the Nero/time travel/supernova clunkiness).

#27 – I don’t. Saving themselves worked pretty well.

#30 etc. – I like to think he’s sincere about retiring, at least from Trek.