Count U.S. President Barack Obama among the legions of so-called Trekkers who have paid tribute to Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing Mr. Spock in the original “Star Trek” television series, since the actor’s death Friday. “I loved Spock,” Obama said in a statement.
Obama said “it was only logical” to greet Nimoy with the Vulcan hand salute -- the universal sign for “Live long and prosper” -- when he met him in 2007. Nimoy was the only actor to appear in every episode of the original “Star Trek” TV series, which made its debut on NBC in 1966. His role as Spock, the mixed Earthling-Vulcan who was a first officer aboard the starship Enterprise, made him a TV legend for the generations.
“Long before nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy,” Obama said in the statement. “And, of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.”
NASA also paid tribute to Nimoy, calling the actor and the sci-fi classic in which he appeared an “inspiration” to multiple generations of engineers, scientists, astronauts and others at the U.S. space agency. “As Mr. Spock, he made science and technology important to the story, while never failing to show, by example, that it is the people around us who matter most,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.
In addition to acting and directing, Nimoy pursued music, painting, photography and philanthropy. In Obama’s words, “Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his time and talents.”