Last Friday, Leonard Nimoy passed away.
I believe most people, myself included, will identify him as the actor who played Spock from the original Star Trek series. Which, I think, is fair. Mr. Nimoy himself struggled with the separation of his career and Spock as evidence by his two autobiographies: I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock.
But while Leonard Nimoy's legacy was shaped in large part by his biggest role on television and film, it wasn't all he left us with. In fact, some of his most touching work was as a quiet activist.
He was an amazing photographer. His book, The Full Body Project, was released in 2007. It took eight years to make and was a unapologetic, raw look at gorgeous, full figured women in the nude. And he told the NY Times when interviewed about it, that the book was a "direct response to the pressure women face to conform to a size two."
2007 was not the start of Mr. Nimoy's activism. He'd been well on his way long before that. When it several members of the cast became aware that Nichelle Nichols who played the character Uhura was getting paid less, it was Leonard Nimoy who brought it to the attention of the higher ups and made sure she got what she was owed. This was in the 1960's, people. The 1960's! Mr. Nimoy was not only ahead of his time, he was decades ahead.
In 1968, he penned a reply to an interracial girl who was dealing with feelings of being different and not fitting in. His response to her is moving and still resonates today. I would encourage you to read it here.
These are only a few of the numerous incidents in which Leonard Nimoy worked to improve, educate and change the world around him. Most of his actions were done quietly, without much flash, but they are profound all the same.
So, to quote one of my favorite tweets about him: He lived long. We all prospered for it.
RIP, Mr. Nimoy. And thank you.