The word felt a little less magical yesterday when news broke that Leonard Nimoy, who was immortalized as the cerebral Vulcan Spock on Star Trek, had passed away at the age of 83. Nimoy revealed last month that he was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—a byproduct of 30 years of cigarette smoking.
“Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you’re diagnosed with lung damage it’s too late,” Nimoy tweeted. “Grandpa says learn my lesson. Quit now.”
Nimoy’s best pal, William Shatner—a.k.a. Star Trek’s Capt. Kirk—released a brief statement on his lifelong friend and co-star’s passing:
“I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love."
But on Saturday, in a series of tweets, Shatner revealed that he will not be attending Nimoy’s funeral.
Prior to being paired up as crewmembers of the Starship Enterprise, Shatner and Nimoy starred in a 1964 episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. together entitled “The Project Strigas Affair.” While they appeared on Star Trek, the two—though they had a friendly professional rivalry competing for screen time and fans’ hearts—were close friends, hanging out after shooting. “Bill's energy was good for my performance, ‘cause Spock could be the cool individual, our chemistry was successful, right from the start,” said Nimoy.
Once Star Trek was canceled in 1969, Shatner got Nimoy to guest star on his new series T.J. Hooker. Nimoy, a recovering alcoholic, also lent a helping hand to Shatner’s third wife, Nerine, who battled with alcoholism. She eventually passed away in 1999. Shatner wrote about how Nerine drew the two men closer together in his 2008 book Up Till Now: The Autobiography.
“Leonard Nimoy's personal experience of alcoholism now came to play a central role in my life and it helped us bond together in a way I never could have imagined in the early days of Star Trek. After Nerine [Kidd] and I had been to dinner with Leonard and Susan Nimoy one evening, Leonard called and said: ‘Bill, you know she's an alcoholic?’ I said I did. I married Nerine in 1997, against the advice of many and my own good sense. But I thought she would give up alcohol for me. We had a celebration in Pasadena, and Leonard was my best man. I woke up about eight o'clock the next morning and Nerine was drunk. She was in rehab for 30 days three different times. Twice she almost drank herself to death. Leonard took Nerine to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but she did not want to quit.”
We'll always have Capt. Kirk’s lovely words during Spock’s funeral in the classic 1982 film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.