With the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy, actor best known for his role as “Spock” in a famous TV show that began to give us ideas and understanding of the “Time space Continuum” in the Sixties. Fast forward to the year 1985, I was the staff photographer for Metropolitan State College’s student newspaper Metropolitan. This was one of those choice jobs a young photographer was blessed to have, I learned many nuances needed to be a successful journalist and gave me much needed exposure to the press life of Denver.
This one particular assignment brought me to the Colorado University Boulder Field House for a press conference. Leonard Nimoy was promoting his new book I Am Not Spock on a college speaking tour. Back in those days, the press conferences were normally held a few hours before the actual speaking event to be given before a standing-room-only crowd filled with thousands of trekkies.
As us, student journalists and the darlings of the mainstream attended, Nemoy explained how being Spock was not his only talent. He was a actor a father, (his undergraduate daughter was in attendance) and a recording artist as well. He expounded, quite unnecessarily, about he was much more then just a “Vulcan” named Spock. I was not sure if he was serious about his own identity as a Spock as he spoke a few short Vulcan phrases and flipped the Vulcan hand sign. Of course, everyone went wild, the ice was broken and the question and answer period began. The mood was jovial and Nimoy was forthright with lengthy candid answers. Until a CU student trying to make her journalistic mark, ask this question. “Mr. Nimoy how do you feel about Rock Hudson’s recent death and do you knows anyone else in Hollywood who might have AIDS?” It was like pouring water on a fire. The moment went from pleasantries to cold Vulcan mindmeld of death. Nimoy stated “no,” and then this interview was over. So much for the smart-ass Boulder student journalist as she learned not to be so aggressive in a interview.
I was fortunate and got my shots as I left with my future ex-wife (we were both students at the time). We ran into Nimoy. Somehow he had lost his car in the student parking lot, and his daughter had already left, abandoning him. As we stood the three of us and a doobie of some Afghan killer green bud (KGB) $40 a eighth, and back then that was some expensive grass. I was proud to share a joint with a guy who didn’t want to be known as a “Spock” or a “Vulcan” but was willing to burn one with a young photog. I do not know if the weed helped us find his rental car but it certainly made Nimoy’s eyes look more Vulcan-like and his ears pointier. It was one of those epic life moments. As he drove away with the joint in his hand, it further reinforced my belief that everyone gets high.
My photo ran in three papers, trouble was, the photograph of Nimoy was the same for all three. I learned so much from that shoot. One of the most important was, never send the same photo to different publications. More importantly, to hopefully never be that “guy,” the over-zealous journalist asking stupid questions. “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool, then speak and remove all doubt,” explained Abraham Lincoln.