"The camera can capture thought in a way that's quite surprising and shocking. You can become very simple and minimal in your work and communicate a lot with just a finger or an eyebrow, or a look, or a glance."
About This Interview
Leonard Nimoy expresses how he felt at being Emmy-nominated: "I cried. I thought, whoa. Wow. What a thrill. Particularly because the nominations are done by your fellow actors, and I thought: they're getting it, they can see what I'm doing.... it just really moved me deeply." Leonard Nimoy received an Emmy nomination for each season of Star Trek, playing now-iconic "Mr. Spock," and is also known for hosting the documentary series In Search Of... and as a director of series TV and films (including two Star Trek features).
In his four-hour Archive interview, Nimoy reminisces about growing up in the inner city of Boston: the mix of nationalities in his neighborhood and his stage debut at the age of eight at a community theater. He discusses his acting ambitions and his move to Hollywood, making television appearances on such series as The Pinky Lee Show and Matinee Theater. He chronicles his life as a struggling actor, commenting on regularly playing ethnic roles and heavies while working on western series such as Wagon Train and Gunsmoke. He also discusses working on several series produced by syndication giant Ziv Television Programs, among them West Point, Sea Hunt and Highway Patrol. He recounts auditioning for The Lieutenant, a series produced by Gene Roddenberry, which led to his casting on Star Trek. Backtracking to his '50s experiences, he notes his time in the Army (assigned to mount Army-produced shows) and describes his role (and meager pay) for his first starring feature film Kid Monk Baroni, as well as his first work in a sci-fi role in the serial Zombies of the Startosphere. He also talks about his work as an acting teacher. Regarding Star Trek, he speaks in great detail about his character "Mr. Spock" and gives the origin of such Vulcanisms as the Vulcan salute and nerve pinch, both of which he invented. He describes a typical work-week on the series, eludes to the restrictive budget and strict adherence to schedule, describes Gene Roddenberry's vision for the series, gives his impressions of his fellow cast mates and looks back on several notable episodes. Regarding the creation of the "Mr. Spock" character, Nimoy reveals: "[During a scene once,] Spock had one word to say and the word was 'fascinating.' And we're looking at this thing on the screen and I got caught up in that energy and I said, 'fascinating!' And the director gave me a brilliant note which said: 'Be different. Be the scientist. Be detached. See it as something that's a curiosity rather than a threat.' I said, 'fascinating.' Well, a big chunk of the character was born right there." Nimoy then speaks frankly about his work as a series regular on Mission:Impossible, which he ultimately found unfulfilling. He discusses later career highlights including his work as narrator/host of In Search of... and star of such television movies as A Woman Called Golda and Never Forget. He notes his second career as a director, initially with an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery and his graduation to such popular feature films as Star Trek III and IV and Three Men and a Baby. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Beverly Hills, CA on November 2, 2000.