According to original Star Trek cast member Walter Koenig, Leonard Nimoy once fought to get Nichelle Nichols pay equity. TrekMovie checked with Mr. Nimoy and he gave us the exclusive details. More info below.
Leonard Nimoy Tells TrekMovie Why Gene Roddenberry Called Him The “Conscience of Star Trek”
Today the Las Vegas Sun had an interview with original Star Trek star Walter Koenig to promote the big Las Vegas convention. Mostly the interview covered familiar ground but when talking about his relationship with his fellow Trek co-stars, Koenig said this about Leonard Nimoy.
Koenig: Leonard (Nimoy, Mr. Spock) was always kind of unapproachable. But a very good man. Sound ethics and a good sense of morality.
LV Sun: How so?
Koenig: When it came to the attention of the cast that there was a disparity in pay in that George [Takei] and I were getting the same pay but Nichelle was not getting as much, I took it to Leonard and he took it to the front office and they corrected that.
TrekMovie reached out to Mr. Nimoy who confirmed the story. He also clarified that it "was during the Desilu years," meaning during the production of the original Star Trek series. Nimoy also recalled a similar incident (which has been reported before) about how during the 1970s he again went to bat for his co-stars, noting…
Nimoy: There was also the case where George and Nichelle we’re not hired to do their voices in the animated series . I refused to do Spock until they were hired. Mr. Roddenberry started calling me the conscience of Star Trek.
The fact that Nimoy fought for Nichelle Nichols back in the 1960s shows a bit of bravery. Back then women’s pay equity wasn’t the same kind of hot topic it is today. On top of that, while he was a lead, Nimoy was still just an actor in the show and didn’t have the kind of pull he would eventually have when he went on to produce and direct for the Star Trek movies in the 80s & 90s. All in all, Walter’s story just proves what we all knew, Leonard Nimoy is a mensch.
With Leonard Nimoy’s help, Nichelle Nichols (C) eventually got pay equity with her "Star Trek" co-stars George Takei (L) and Walter Koenig (R)