BU Today spoke with him in preparation for the event:
BU Today: Where in Boston did you grow up?
Nimoy: I grew up in the West End of Boston. You know that sign on Storrow Drive that said, “If you lived here, you’d be home now?” Right over there, near the Elizabeth Peabody Playhouse, that’s the area where I grew up, Chambers Street, St. Joseph’s Church. The whole section was torn down.
I left Boston in 1951 to pursue a career in acting. I started acting on stages when I was eight years old. My first play was Hansel and Gretel, and I played Hansel.
You play the character of William Bell on Fox’s Fringe, which just got picked up for another season despite rumors it might be canceled. Were you concerned about that?
The writer and producers are extremely creative and very resourceful. They’re able to take these interesting ideas, and it’s fun to see where they’re going and be a part of it. I consider myself a retired actor. I do small parts on Fringe, but when I was acting full-time I was always concerned about shows being canceled.
Tell us about your photography.
I have been fascinated by photography since I was 13. One of my first photographs was a photo I took of my grandfather on the banks of the Charles River in 1944. I used to be busy with darkroom work and developing my own prints, but now I’ve turned to digital photography since it has gotten so much better. My work is conceptual—by that I mean I don’t carry cameras. Rather, I wait until something intrigues me and I want to photograph something.
Spock has become an iconic character. What was it like being part of Star Trek?
Star Trek is ancient history. When I was doing that show, we had no way of knowing how long it would be on the air, and we were always marginal in the ratings, always in danger of being canceled. I felt strongly that we were doing strong material; the ideas and themes of that show were relevant for so many people in their daily lives. I was so happy to be in that show because I think it had social relevance. I think finally that’s why the show endured. We were only on for three seasons but were very successful in reruns, and then there was a series of movies and other Star Trek shows that came along. It has had a very interesting and prosperous life.
Do you have any advice for aspiring actors?
You had better be dedicated, because it’s a long road. Get experience, by training, training, training. Be passionate. Don’t look for yourself in the art—look for the art in yourself.
Fascinating: Leonard Nimoy Comes to Boston University
Metcalf was rustling. Hundreds of people murmured as they took their seats. College kids flipped flashcards anxiously as they waited for the action to begin. Snazzily dressed older women shuffled through rows of feet as they moved to their seats. As one man shifted to let one of these fierce senior citizens through, his jacket opened slightly, revealing a light blue shirt carrying an iconic insignia—that of the Star Trek Enterprise. And as the lights dimmed, a name projected on a draw down screen at the front of the room came into focus—Leonard Nimoy.
(...) After a thorough introduction, he announced that Boston University would be receiving Nimoy’s archives.
Mr. Nimoy took the stage to a storm of applause from the audience and gave the large crowd a wry smile before beginning to speak. The topics of his speech ranged from growing up in Boston, to his early career, to his time working on Star Trek, to the many artistic projects he undertook afterwards.
(...) Some of the anecdotes, and certainly the Star Trek trivia, were expected. Mr. Nimoy himself, however, was a thoroughly unexpected surprise. He was wry, empathetic, and, unlike his Star Trek counterpart, thoroughly human.
Read it all here.
On the website for the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center you'll find some photos from Mr. Nimoy's lecture at Boston University near the end of the slideshow below the headline reading A Year in Review, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Events 2010-2011.
More comments about Mr. Nimoy's appearance at Boston University
I just saw Leonard Nimoy speak.I don’t really know what to say. He was so much more than I always thought he’d be. He was wise and funny and caring. He was honorable. In my mind, he would be a sassy, witty old man. He was.
But he was so much more, with his stories about quotes and meeting Kennedy and what it means to really care about everything you do. Like everyone else, he gets struck by certain moments and quotes. He laments. He marvels. He acts. He’s quick with a laugh. He loves Spock as much as we do.
He’s so much more than Spock and Star Trek and acting.
I honestly have no idea what I want to say about it. I just thought I should say something,anything.
So I guess I’ll say this:
When he walked on stage and said his first words, I didn’t die at the sound of his voice, like I thought I would. I kept talking about how he’d open his mouth and his voice would kill me, because we’d be in the same room, and it would be his voice. Leonard Nimoy’s voice.
No. When he said his first sentence, I didn’t die.
I came alive.
That’s trite and old, and it makes me cringe just writing it, but it’s true. I had never felt as alive as I had when he first said that the intro was so thorough he really didn’t have to say anything.
Being in the same room as my life heroes is something I don’t think I’ll ever quite get a grip on.
Source: The Schematic
oh yeah so
yesterday (monday) I heard leonard nimoy (aka spock from star trek) speak.
i thought it might be kinda dull and i wasn’t sure what to expect
im not even a huge star trek fan (i watched episodes as a child, but havent seen any in years) and i only went bc my dad and brother are huge trekkies and i got them tickets since he was speaking at BU
but he was awesome. he’s super intelligent and witty. i was kinda inspired actually. the whole talk was hilarious.
kudos to BU for the speakers that they bring here! I also heard Elie Wiesel speak first semester and it was a dream of mine to hear him speak ever since I read his book ‘Night’ in 10th grade. :]
Tonight, I saw Leonard Nimoy speak.
Was honestly moved to tears. He is such a genuine, beautiful man. His story is so interesting and he is wonderful at telling them. For 80, he’s still very spry and sharp. He’s been such an inspiration to me for as long as I can remember and to get a chance to see him was just such an honour. <3
So I just saw Leonard Nimoy speak. No big deal. Source: berkeleymarina