The Boston/New England

Emmy Awards Ceremony

June 7, 2014

by Bonnie Moss

When the press release appeared that Leonard Nimoy was to receive the Governors’ Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), I was thrilled. This meant Mr. Nimoy was to be awarded an Emmy statuette “for truly outstanding and unique accomplishments” and “achievements of some duration and durability.” An excellent and well deserved honor! As someone who was beyond disappointed when he did not secure this award in 4 prior nominations (and I remember the Award’s coverage from the 60’s!), it was great to know an Emmy would now rightfully be in his hands.

Then, a thought- “I’d really like to see him get this!” Without any certainty that this could happen, I e-mailed NATAS/New England. I told them of my long standing admiration for Mr. Nimoy and his career. I included some photos of us taken together over the past 35 years. To my utter shock and delight, I received a return e-mail telling me how I might obtain tickets before the anticipated sell-out. Members of the Academy received priority, but I decided to take the chance. I learned that there would be a reception and a dinner before the Awards.

It was made clear that Mr. Nimoy would not be at the reception. So – despite the fact that it did not look like I’d even get to say “congratulations,” I was happy to learn I did make it to a table assignment! I felt strongly that a Nimoy fan (for lack of a better word-maybe devotee?) needed to be there in addition to the peers and professionals.

When the invitation arrived in the mail (which finally made this ‘real’ for me), I contacted my friend and fellow Nimoy admirer, Susan Fox, who lives in Charlotte, N.C. Friends since college, we both had been among the sponsors/guests for Mr. Nimoy’s “Secret Selves” exhibition opening at MASS Mo CA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in 2010, of course, she immediately agreed to go and we began making travel arrangements. I was confused when she called a few weeks later and said “forget about flight reservations.“ I was stunned to learn that Susan’s brother, a successful physician and businessman, had realized how special this trip would be for both us. As a result, he chartered a private jet and limo service for us to go to and from Boston! Pretty heady stuff for a social worker and a medical office assistant! We concluded that this trip was meant to be!

June 7th finally arrived and our flight went smoothly. We laughed at each other when we could put our feet up and took advantage of all the snacks and drinks on board – gee, I could get used to this. We checked into our hotel, which was just 2-3 blocks from the Marriott Boston Copley Place, where the ceremony would be held.

We decided to walk up to the Marriott to see exactly where we would be going that night and where the events inside the hotel (which is huge) would take place. Inside, the lobby itself was vaulted and consisted of several floors, connected by elevators and a myriad of escalators. Different levels had either shopping areas, bars, lounges, reception areas and /or enclaves of comfy sofas and chairs. One floor opened into a shopping mall next door. Susan and I were taking all of this in from a vantage point on a middle level. During one moment, I took notice of a woman who was pausing after getting off an escalator right behind us. It looked like she was determining where to go next. Then, it hit me – it was Susan Bay Nimoy!

She was wearing a floral print sleeveless dress and she looked very petite and striking. She was holding a large cup of coffee (for you-know-who-perhaps?) that she must have purchased in the mall. “Mrs. Nimoy?,” I said, “do you need directions?” She immediately smiled and laughed while nodding. I briefly re-introduced myself and my friend Susan and mentioned we had initially met at MASS Mo CA. I told her we were there to see Mr. Nimoy receive his Emmy and that we were very excited! She touched my arm and said “Thank –You, we are too!”

I asked if other family members were coming and she said “No, because they were just up here a few weeks ago to see Leonard at the Boston Pops.” I added that Symphony Hall was just down the street and she replied “that’s right – it was wonderful.” Not wanting to take any more of her time, we confided that it was confusing for us to figure out the lobby configuration as well. My friend and I directed her to the correct escalator down. As she was descending, she thanked us and said “see you later this evening!” We waived and appreciated her immediate warmth and friendliness.

Afterwards, we found the hotel floor where they were having the reception and ceremony. It was a busy place, but no one seemed to mind that we were around. When I asked if we could peek inside the ballroom, an employee said “sure!” There were 53 numbered tables being prepared, with each seating 10 guests. We found our table, number 50, and we laughed – we were actually seated ahead of 3 other ‘official’ tables! We were in the back, but we were IN! Fortunately, the tables were arranged in such a way that it created a more intimate setting and views were not too obstructed. We decided we needed to get back to our hotel to start getting ready for the evening.

Once we were dressed, we realized there was no way we were going to make it and back in high heels. We wanted to walk (the weather was beautiful.) So we wore our tennis shoes and put our heels in a tote – we figured we’d change later somewhere at the hotel. We were feeling like Eliza Doolittle or Gomer Pyle going to Buckingham Palace! We immediately went upstairs to the reception area.

There was a line for arrivals to walk on a red carpet in front of an Emmy Award backdrop- like the ones you see at premieres or other award shows. A photographer was taking pictures. We were standing to the side and an usher of sorts said “if you are attending, you can get in line. “ So we did. Talk about fantasies fulfilled – lol! We walked the red carpet, a camera flashed and I now have the photo to prove it really happened!

We milled about the reception area where hors d’oeuvres were served by waiters and temporary bars were everywhere. Susan went to get a martini, while I took in all of the gowns, tuxedos and conversations around me. About half of the attendees were dressed formally, while others wore nice suits and cocktail dresses. We seemed to blend in, which was a relief!

Finally, people started filtering into the ballroom next door. Although tables were assigned, seats were not, so Susan and I took chairs that were facing the stage. Already on the table was the dinner menu, our salads, a generous assortment of breads and trays of petit fours for dessert. There were three large screens at the front of the room. The middle one had the Emmy logo with “The 37th Boston/New England Emmy Awards.” The screens on each side, were to show camera close-ups of the presenters and winners at the podium.

We began to chat with the other individuals at the table. The two couples across the table were harder to talk to, given the distance. However, the couples to the right and left of us were fun, friendly and delightful. On my left were Ken Harper and his wife Sue. They were from Connecticut and Ken was nominated in a documentary category for editing. On Susan’s right were Al Carl and his wife. Al was the News Director of station WTNH in Boston. His station was nominated in multiple categories (and they won several –he was happy to let Susan and I hold one of those Emmys!) Susan and I had wondered if we would be able to have relaxed, mutually satisfying conversations with other attendees, as we are not in the media/news/entertainment business. Our concerns vanished as everyone found a common ground. They were intrigued by our southern accents (this was a New England-based ceremony, after all!)

Ultimately, we were asked what brought us there. I said that we had followed Mr. Nimoy’s career for a long time and were thrilled to have him recognized with an Emmy. When asked if we had ever met him, I briefly reviewed the various times (since 1979) that we had crossed paths (VINCENT performances, conventions, etc.) as well as the MASS Mo Ca experience. Immediately, two distinguished, professional men became almost giddy with excitement! “You know Leonard Nimoy? Hey (to other attendees) come over here- she knows Leonard Nimoy – wow!” I had to repeat that, although the Nimoys and I have had several exchanges and that they seemed to remember me by name, we were not in close, personal contact very often.

It didn’t seem to matter – everyone in that room loved Leonard Nimoy and suddenly people were waiting to talk to us! We didn’t see that coming!

Dinner was being served by this point, although I was too excited to eat. Ken’s wife Sue kept trying to tell me something, but he was saying “don’t bother her about that.” Finally, she asked, “is there any way you could introduce Ken to Leonard Nimoy? You can’t believe what it would mean to him - he was inspired by him to choose this career.” I told them I had not thought of speaking to him at the dinner. A few people nearby said, “he’s at Table 1 (of course) and some others are talking to him - you should try!” Al immediately chimed in, “if he gets to go, I go too!” I looked into these guys faces and said “I’ll walk up to that area to assess the situation, but no promises!” (Funny that these professional, regional Emmy nominees wanted a little ‘ol girl from North Carolina to forge an introduction!)

I must digress a little at this point…. Prior to going to the Awards, I had been in contact with a good friend of the Nimoys, Richard Michelson. I had met Rich at MASS MO CA and we have remained in contact as I have purchased several photographs taken by Mr. Nimoy through his beautiful gallery in Northampton, MA ( Rich is also a noted poet and the author of many successful children’s books, ( He had mentioned he would be at the Emmy function. In fact, he had asked me weeks before if I had a DVD with some footage of Mr. Nimoy’s life and career. Of course I did! So, I mailed it to him, and he, in turn, passed it on to the event organizers. Parts of it were actually shown prior to Mr. Nimoy’s acceptance speech – terrific! Therefore, I was looking for Rich earlier in the evening, but had not seen him.

Well, when Ken, Al and I approached the #1 table area, I saw Rich and his wife seated right next to Mr. and Mrs. Nimoy! As he knew I would be there, I felt comfortable approaching him and asked the guys to “stay put.” Of course, Rich was his usual gracious self and seemed pleased to see me. He introduced me to his wife Jennifer (we couldn’t believe we had not yet met!) and he asked about our experiences so far this evening. I told him everyone was extremely nice and that we were having a marvelous time. Right about then, Mrs. Nimoy leaned over and grinned, Rich said “have you two talked?” She and I laughed and mentioned our prior encounter. He replied “oh yes – you (Susan) had told me this earlier!” (Nice of her to do so!) Mr. Nimoy was now looking in our direction. I congratulated him on the Award, patted him on the back and added “thanks for making so many things special. “ He returned thanks and said “it’s good to see you again. “ As other people were now coming up to the table, I did not want to take any more of his time. I asked if two other Emmy nominees could come forward and I signaled Ken and Al. They came over, introduced themselves and were able to obtain quick cell phone photos. To say they were ecstatic was an understatement. As we were departing, I told Mrs. Nimoy that I had a great photo of her from the 1960’s wearing a cute outfit and holding a cigarette!

She laughed and said “no telling where that was taken!” Ken, Al and I walked back to our table, arms around each others’ shoulders with Ken exclaiming “this is one of the best nights of my life!” sweet!

Once seated again, I remembered I had packed some photos in a small album in another tote bag. I had brought them to show my friend Susan and /or to others who might be interested during the course of the trip. Well, there was the photo I had just mentioned – that is probably why it had stuck in my mind. I decided to take it back to their table and gift it to her.

Once there, I noticed Mrs. Nimoy was absent. Mr. Nimoy was obviously in charge of her purse – cute to see a small black purse with a bamboo handle right in front of him! I handed Mr. Nimoy the photo and Rich said “You had it with you?” I laughed and said I always tried to be prepared when I might see the Nimoys! Mr. Nimoy was obviously pleased to see it - he studied it, turned it over, grinned, then propped it up carefully on the table in front of her seat! Mrs. Nimoy arrived back at the table and laughed. I joked that Mr. Nimoy wasn’t the only ‘sinner’ when it came to past smoking habits (he is now, as we know, a strong proponent of smoking cessation.) As she was responding “that’s right,” the lights were going down for the start of the ceremony. I said my good-byes and re-joined my table.

The ceremony was attended by a number of regional news and entertainment personalities. Categories were related to photography, news coverage, video essays, public service announcements, audio work, editing, sports coverage, graphic arts, commercials and documentaries – just to name a few. Several nominations were related to the Boston Marathon bombings last year and to the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series in baseball. Many nominee announcements were accompanied by film clips, which were entertaining and informative. About 1/3 of the way into the program, it was time for the presentation to Mr. Nimoy. A host outlined Mr. Nimoy’s accomplishments, within and beyond the television industry. The video clips I referred to earlier were then shown. Finally, personal messages of congratulations from William Shatner and Zachary Quinto were revealed. Mr. Nimoy took the stage to a standing ovation. He looked marvelous in a tuxedo with a formal white V-neck shirt that did not require a bow tie.

He was obviously touched, but very poised in expressing his gratitude to NATAS/New England and to those present. He expressed his affection for the city of Boston and added that he tries to return there whenever he possibly can. He described the evening as a “deep gratifying experience” and closed with “May you all live long and prosper.” He left the stage to another enthusiastic ovation. What an experience!

After my friend and I sat down, we laughingly said we were “drained!” We had planned on leaving after Mr. Nimoy’s speech, but we were having so much fun, we stayed for the rest of the evening. Now, we have invitations to come back and visit several new friends if we ever return to New England. We were certain the Nimoys would be departing earlier (it was a long night,) but we did not take notice as to when this occurred. Rich Michelson made a point of coming over to our table to say good-bye when he and Jennifer were leaving. He is a ‘class act’ and I can see why they and the Nimoys are friends and colleagues.

Following the ceremony, even more attendees came up to me, even the couple way across the table, to “make sure” I told Mr. Nimoy what an influence he had been on their lives and careers. This write-up may be as close as I am going to get! On tables back in the reception area there were copies of “Imagine” magazine nicely arranged for attendees to pick up. Mr. Nimoy was on the cover, with an interesting article on him inside.

The next day, Susan and I enjoyed the sights and sounds of Boston. We took a swan boat ride in the Public Garden, walked the Common (where Mr. Nimoy once sold newspapers) and had some great Italian food. Our return flight (and yes, one of the pilots was a huge Star Trek fan) was equally enjoyable.

Once home, I thought that the Nimoys’ personal assistant might wish to have one of the programs, as she was acknowledged under “Special Thanks.” She was unaware she had been listed and was very appreciative when I mailed the program to her. Rich later mentioned that the Nimoys had remembered me, asked how far I had come to attend and that they really enjoyed seeing us. That was wonderful, but the opportunity to see Mr. Nimoy receive a justly deserved honor - the Governors’ Award Emmy! - was the best part of it all.