There already have been tremendous losses in the Star Trek family before this weekend. DeForest Kelley was the first when he died in June 1999. James Doohan followed in July 2005. And, of course, Leonard Nimoy passed away Friday at the age of 83.
But the surviving members of the original “Star Trek” cast took the time this weekend to share some words of remembrance of Nimoy, led by Walter Koenig — who played Chekov in the original series — writing a guest piece for Time.
“The eulogies for Leonard will be affirmative, loving and respectful,” Koenig said. “That’s what people confirm after the passing of others, whether or not they draw an accurate picture. It is my honor to say that in this case, it’s true; Leonard Nimoy was all those things.”
Koenig said Nimoy was so devoted to his character on Trek, he actually got to know Mr. Spock before he knew Leonard Nimoy.
“When I finally did get to know the man better, I discovered his compassion, his intelligence and his humanity,” Koenig said. “All of which laid the foundation for his keen sense of philanthropy.”
George Takei, who played Sulu in the original series, told MSNBC that Nimoy had been ill for a very long time — he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from years of smoking — and that he and other cast members missed him a lot.
“The word ‘extraordinary’ is often overused, but I think it’s really appropriate for Leonard,” Takei said. “He was an extraordinarily talented man, but he was also a very decent human being. His talent embraced directing as well as acting and photography. He was a very sensitive man. And we feel his passing very much.”
The original “Star Trek” series’ Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, remembered the man from a convention in Pensacola, Florida, who helped her get more equal pay on the set than she might have received otherwise back in the 1960s.
“Leonard’s integrity and passion as an actor, and devotion to his craft, helped transport ‘Star Trek’ into television history,” Nichols said. “His vision and heart are bigger than the universe. I will miss him very much, and send heartfelt wishes to his family.”
Besides his castmates, others in the greater Star Trek family offered thoughts as well. Nicholas Meyer, who directed “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” thought about that second movie in the Trek franchise when remembering Nimoy.
“He was an exciting person, I think he was a good person,” Meyer told Off-Ramp. “He was passionate, he was mercurial, he was industrious — God knows. And I also find myself thinking about a line in ‘The Wrath of Khan,’ which was not my line, but somebody else said it and I used it. They were talking about the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, and they said, ‘He is not dead, as long as we remember him.'”
Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” told readers of his popular blog that while he did not get to know Nimoy really well, or really at all, he did idolize the actor and his character of Spock as a kid.
“Mr. Spock made it OK for me to be the weird kid who eventually grew into a slightly less weird adult,” Wheaton said. “But it was Leonard Nimoy who made Mr. Spock live, and who made Star Trek — and every science-fiction TV series since 1966 — possible.
“I wish I gotten to know you the way so many others did, because everyone says you were as awesome and wonderful as I hoped you would be.”
Finally, William Shatner — who announced he would be unable to attend Nimoy’s funeral Sunday — maintained media silence for the most part, but did share a brief thought.
“I loved him like a brother,” he said. “We will all miss his humor, his talent and his capacity to love.”