One of my personal heroes died this morning,
Yes, he was "only" an actor. And the character he brought to life was fictional.
But what a character.
Spock was a product of American pop culture of the 1960's, but he endured through nearly five decades of cultural changes as an icon of courage, insatiable intellectual curiosity, humor, loyal friendship and peacemaking. Even as our utopian fantasies degraded through the years into dark tales of a future of anarchy and violence, Spock remained as a symbol of the future we had all once hoped, and many secretly still hoped, awaited the human race as we went out among the stars.
Of course, Leonard Nimoy was an actor, and a damned decent one. Taking nothing away from his expertise at his craft, I can hardly think that he could have played Spock so brilliantly, so convincingly for so many years unless, at some point along the way, the two were not irrevocably melded into one another. Nimoy was Spock. Spock was Nimoy.
The Star Trek franchise has been part of me since I was thirteen years old. It has grown and morphed, changed and changed back, sprouted ill-advised, short-lived branches; and through it all, there has been Spock. He even died once, only to come back to life and provide a continuing thread of wisdom, humor and intelligence for three more decades in tales of the missions of the Enterprise and her progeny.
Now he really is gone. And there is a Spock-shaped hole in the fabric of my life.
Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy. You will be well remembered by many of us for many, many years.