I was never a Trekkie – never religiously followed the series, never went to Star Trek conventions – but I watched my share of the original shows. There was no question which character was my favorite. The very rational, understated Spock appealed to me much more than the bombastic Kirk or the curmudgeonly McCoy.
I met Leonard Nimoy once in the mid-1970s. He was in Champaign-Urbana for some reason – I think to perform in a play, or maybe it was a side trip from the American Library Association Conference in Chicago, where he appeared to sign copies of his memoir “I Am Not Spock.” I’m not sure.
In any case, Nimoy had heard of the PLATO system that was being developed at the University of Illinois, and expressed an interested in seeing it while he was in town. The director of the lab, Don Bitzer, brought him up to the rather ramshackle 5th floor office I shared with Doug Brown because we had a PLATO terminal that was equipped with all the extra bells & whistles. I remember that Nimoy was wearing large black-rimmed glasses. He made a wry comment about the ASCII art on wide fan-fold computer printer paper we had taped to the wall (a naked woman – what else?)
For such a well-known star, he was surprisingly unpretentious. He struck me as being very intelligent, polite, and having a quiet sense of humor.
Leonard Nimoy died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 83. But Spock, of course, will live forever.