It took Leonard Nimoy great self-control to play the role of Spock
Nimoy had to find some zen to play the role of Spock, both in front of the camera and in the real world.
Spock is a man of almost no emotion. Some fans find his coldness charming; many think it makes him appear smart or logical, and others find his mannerisms a bit strange. However, strange is just fine for Spock.
Leonard Nimoy became an influential and iconic actor for portraying Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan star, on Star Trek: The Original Series. Spock has become a fan-favorite character who has lasted for many generations. Nimoy became the face most people associate with the character.
There's something Nimoy had to have a considerable amount of to play a role like Spock. And according to him, both actors and astronauts share one quality: emotional control.
"If Spock didn't have any emotions, he wouldn't be interesting," Nimoy said in a 1967 interview with Chicago Tribune. "Vulcans regard any display of emotion as a breach of good taste. Actually, Spock has compassion, though he won't allow himself to believe that."
Part of Spock's appeal was that he didn't often show emotions like Captain Kirk, but the viewers still knew he cared.
"When I first started as an actor, my work was over emotional," Nimoy said. "I considered acting as an opportunity to express my emotion, and I took advantage of every opportunity I got. It took me a long time to discover that restraint can be admirable."
"The thing that irks me is the lack of emotion trying to pass for restraint," Nimoy said. "Lack of emotion is pathological; restraint is civilized."
Or, some might say restraint is logical. Instead of seeing Spock as having no emotion, Nimoy saw him as being complex and fascinating, and he used his control of emotion to show it onscreen.
No matter what Nimoy was doing, he also made sure to represent Spock in the best way possible in the real world as well. He used his character to connect with sci-fi lovers and fans worldwide.
In a 1968 interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nimoy said he would only make personal appearances with Spock's hair, but not Spock's ears or makeup. He said: "Spock and his makeup are okay within a dramatic environment, but not outside."
"I turned down $50,000 last year, because I won't make personal appearances in makeup, except for my hair which I don't mind," Nimoy said.
According to the interview, another one of those offers was for $7,500 for four days with a circus in upstate New York.
"I said I'd be glad to come and sing, but not as Spock," Nimoy said. "They just wanted to parade me around."
Nimoy's character left an impact on the world. He credited his emotional control for the success of his character.
"It's the first real science-fiction show," Nimoy said. "People do take it seriously. We look for a dramatic value first, and sometimes there's a scientific factor at the root of the story."