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‘For the Love of Spock’ doc celebrates the life and career of Leonard Nimoy

A Boston-born son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Leonard Nimoy played one of the most iconic TV characters of all time, the ever-logical half-Vulcan Mr. Spock on “Star Trek.”
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September 15, 2016

A Boston-born son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Leonard Nimoy played one of the most iconic TV characters of all time, the ever-logical half-Vulcan Mr. Spock on “Star Trek.” 

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the television series, the recently released documentary “For the Love of Spock” celebrates the sci-fi character’s impact on pop culture while honoring Nimoy’s life and career. More personally, it’s also a candid account of an increasingly strained relationship within a family, as only a son can tell it.

“I was fulfilling a mitzvah to honor my father, and that was very important to me,” filmmaker Adam Nimoy told the Journal. “The film is not a tell-all or exposé. It’s an homage, but it doesn’t sugarcoat. We had bitter disagreements. There are times when I thought, ‘I never want to speak to this guy again.’ In fact, we were estranged for a long time. But he was a mensch. And what he accomplished in life was phenomenal.”

Anticipating the “Star Trek” anniversary, Nimoy asked his father about making a documentary in November 2014. “He was interested right away in doing it. But we didn’t know how fast the clock was ticking,” he said. Leonard Nimoy, a longtime smoker who had quit, died in February 2015 of chronic lung disease. “The damage was done,” Adam said.

The younger Nimoy proceeded nevertheless, poring through what he calls “a voluminous amount of material” from “Star Trek” TV episodes and feature films, and his father’s other projects, photographs and interviews, including archival and newly shot footage with celebrities from the “Star Trek” world and elsewhere. The $662,000 raised via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign paid for licensing video clips, music usage and other costs.

The film also highlights Leonard Nimoy’s career in theater, voicing documentaries and as the author of two autobiographies, the first of which upset fans who misinterpreted its title, “I Am Not Spock,” as disrespect and a desire to distance himself from the character. 

“He insisted on the title, and apologized for it his entire career. ‘Star Trek’ fans were angry. They didn’t lay off him till the first feature film,” Adam said. “It was difficult for him. But if you read the book, it’s nothing but reverential for Spock and the opportunities Spock brought him. He’s always said that if he had one character to play again, it would be Spock.”

Adam told the Journal that his father chose the title simply to make the distinction that he is more than a character. (His second autobiography was titled “I Am Spock.”)

“>www.beittshuvah.org for details.

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