AP / Matt Sayles

Leonard Nimoy eventually came to terms with the fact that most people will know him as a character, not a man. Fortunately, that character was virtuous, wise and generous, qualities shared by the man. To paraphrase his first autobiography, Leonard Nimoy, who has 134 acting credits, was not Spock, but where it counts he may as well have been.

He was a giving man. He and his wife, Susan Bay, have made many donations, large and small, public and private. Out of respect for their modesty, I’ll leave it there, but know that they were the real deal, and Susan, a force herself, will carry on.

As an artist, Nimoy pursued a passion for photography and poetry, as well as a dedication to Jewish culture. He was, as they say, a good Jew. I remember hearing him on public radio reading an old Jewish fable. It’s not the sort of thing that comes up at conventions. Speaking of which, one cannot write of Nimoy’s passing without remarking on the fact that he changed and inspired millions of lives. People make fun, but the embrace by all those fans of Star Trek’s values is no small thing. They’re good values, and Spock endures as the most compelling character of the franchise. He was the alien among the crew, a half-breed who struggled with his repressed human nature. In that way, he was relatable, sympathetic and a stand-in for so many of us who feel as though we don’t quite belong.

Most of what I can tell you about Leonard Nimoy I know as a fan, particularly of the Star Trek movies. Of the six pictures featuring the original cast, Nimoy directed the biggest hit, “Star Trek IV.” It was a Trojan horse of a film that had more to do with conservation and the hunting of whales than space aliens.

That was Nimoy’s specialty, fitting of the Star Trek tradition of addressing social issues through science fiction.

It was Nimoy, in collaboration with director Nicholas Meyer, who conceived of the sixth Star Trek film as an allegory for the Cold War. In it, the Klingons suffer a Chernobyl-like disaster and are forced to negotiate peace with their enemies, the Federation. Captain Kirk, who has fought the Klingons his whole life and is asked to lead a diplomatic mission, confesses to Spock that he hates them. Spock responds with one of the best lines in any movie, one that Leonard Nimoy himself wrote: “There’s an old Vulcan proverb … Only Nixon could go to China.”

That movie, “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” takes its name from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” referencing the afterlife:

But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have, Than fly to others that we know not of.

Leonard Nimoy will not return to us, but I hope his adventures continue, in the place from which no traveler returns.

Before he left the Earth, Nimoy sent out a tweet to his fans. It would be his last.

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