A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Feb. 28, 2015 | 8:06 p.m.

The death of Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock on the “Star Trek” TV and movie series, touched millions of lives around the world, perhaps none more deeply than fans of science fiction and fantasy for whom Spock was a guiding light.

So it was only fitting that a day after Nimoy’s death at age 83, the Long Beach Comic Expo — a two-day comic book and pop culture convention — celebrated his life and legacy with tributes both big and small.

Mamie Stiger, left, Idalia Mejia, Alfredo Garcia, Jr., Richard Casillas and Sywa Sung give the Vulcan salute in memory of actor Leonard Nimoy at the Long Beach Comic Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Mamie Stiger, left, Idalia Mejia, Alfredo Garcia Jr., Richard Casillas and Sywa Sung give the Vulcan salute in memory of actor Leonard Nimoy at the Long Beach Comic Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center. “I dressed like Spock,” said Casillas. “It was something I had to do.”  (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Not long after the doors opened at the Long Beach Convention Center, thousands of attendees observed a moment of silence while holding up their hands in the iconic Vulcan salute that Nimoy originated. The salute symbolized Spock’s universally known motto, “Live long and prosper.”

“Obviously, when we heard it everybody was floored,” said Gabriel Fieramosco, the expo’s marketing manager who led the morning tribute. “We couldn’t do the weekend without acknowledging it in some way. So after discussing it amongst ourselves, we decided that a moment of silence on the floor was the way to do it.”

Comic book and sci-fi writer Brandon Easton, who attended the expo, recalled bonding with his grandfather, “who basically raised me through watching ‘Star Trek.’ …He [Nimoy] was deeply talented, worked in charity, and was a great role model for anyone, especially those who love science fiction.

“Leonard Nimoy’s passing is a major moment. I didn’t realize how universally beloved he was until he died. Just a wide array of people honoring the man.”

Angela Bell, from Carson, who attended the Expo dressed as Uhura, Nichelle Nichols’ character from the original “Star Trek” series, said she had seen every “Star Trek” episode and movie. “When I found out about it last night, I was really, really upset. People who don’t know anything about ‘Star Trek’ knew about Spock.”

Long Beach Comic Expo

Idalia Mejia, left, Alfredo Garcia Jr. and Richard Casillas pose next to a poster signed by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy on display at the Long Beach Comic Expo. “He actually inspired me to study science,” said Garcia, an engineer, of Nimoy’s character Spock. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Sean Doorly, from Hollywood, who was dressed in a mustard-yellow Starfleet shirt, called himself a big fan of “Star Trek,” “especially the classic. He was beloved by everyone. People have favorites, but everyone liked him.”

Sadly, when Nimoy is laid to rest, his “Star Trek” captain will be absent.

William Shatner took to Twitter to express regret that he will have to miss his co-star and longtime friend’s service, which is scheduled for Sunday in a private ceremony.

“I am currently in FL as I agreed to appear at the Red Cross Ball tonight. Leonard’s funeral is tomorrow. I can’t make it back in time,” he wrote Saturday afternoon. “I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried,” Shatner said.

Shatner, who played Capt. Kirk in the TV series and movies, wrote his more than 2 million followers that he was “humbled by the worldwide outpouring of love that has been displayed; words cannot express my feelings.”

After being honored at Red Cross’ Palm Beach event, Shatner hopes to have a memorial for his friend in Florida. “So maybe tomorrow we come together here and celebrate his life,” he wrote.

“I loved him like a brother,” Shatner wrote soon after Nimoy’s death was announced. “We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.”

Another “Star Trek” captain, Patrick Stewart, who played Jean-Luc Picard on the TV spinoff “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” tweeted that he was “lucky to spend many happy, inspiring hours with him.” Chris Pine, who plays Kirk in the franchise reboot of “Star Trek,” tweeted that “the world has become a darker place.”

leonardnimoy A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, famous for his "Star Trek" role as Mr. Spock, has died. Click through the gallery for a look back at his life and career. (Ric Francis / Associated Press)

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Leonard Nimoy's first title role was in the 1952 film "Kid Monk Baroni," playing a street tough turned boxer.

1966 69star trek tv A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Nimoy's big break was playing Mr. Spock on the TV series "Star Trek" from 1966 to 1969. (Paramount)

1971 catlow A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

In 1971, Nimoy played a bounty hunter in the western film "Catlow." (MGM)

1976 sherlock holmes play A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

In 1976, Nimoy played the title role in the stage production "Sherlock Holmes." (Los Angeles Times)

1982 marco polo A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

In 1982, Nimoy played Achmet, the devious regent to Kublai Khan, in the TV miniseries "Marco Polo." (NBC)

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Nimoy in the 1984 miniseries "The Sun Also Rises," adapted from the Ernest Hemingway novel. (NBC)

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Nimoy starred in and directed the 1986 film "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." (Los Angeles Times)

1987 three men and a baby A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Nimoy also directed the 1987 comedy "Three Men and a Baby," starring Steve Guttenberg, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson. (Touchstone Pictures)

1990 funny about love A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Nimoy directing Gene Wilder on the 1990 film "Funny About Love." (Paramount)

2001 griffith observatory A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

In 2001, Nimoy donated $1 million to the renovation of the Griffith Observatory. (Los Angeles Times)

2009 star trek reboot A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Nimoy reprised his role as Spock for the 2009 reboot "Star Trek." (Paramount)

2009 10 fringe A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Nimoy in his recurring role on the sci-fi series "Fringe." (Fox)

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Leonard Nimoy's rubber ears from the "Star Trek" series are shown on display in his Bel-Air home in 2002. (Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

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Leonard Nimoy inside his synagogue, Temple Israel of Hollywood, in 2004. (Los Angeles Times)

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Leonard Nimoy arrives onstage during the Paramount Pictures panel on the new "Star Trek" film at Comic-Con in 2007. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)

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Leonard Nimoy poses for a portrait at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles in 2009. He returned to the role of Spock for the J.J. Abrams reboot of "Star Trek," released that year. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

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In 2009, Leonard Nimoy guest-starred in the season finale episode of Fox's "Fringe." (Craig Blankenhorn/Fox)

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Leonard Nimoy, left, and William Shatner help host "Science Fiction: A Journey into the Unknown, " a 1994 chronicle of TV shows in the science fiction and fantasy genre.

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Nimoy is amused by a fan's attire on his visit to Walt Disney World in 1995 to sign his new book, "I Am Spock," from Hyperion Press. (Walt Disney World)

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Leonard Nimoy holds up a copy of his autobiography, "I Am Spock," at the Science Museum in southwest London in 1995. (Michael Stephens / Associated Press)

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Leonard Nimoy at his Bel-Air home in 1996, on the 30th anniversary of the "Star Trek" phenomenon. (Perry C. Riddle / Los Angeles Times)

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Leonard Nimoy costars in 1996 as the prophet Samuel in TNT's two-part, four-hour "David" production. (TBS)

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Jane Wyatt is shown with Nimoy in 1966. She played Mr. Spock's mother in the original "Star Trek" TV series. (File photo)

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Leonard Nimoy, voice of King of Atlantis in "Atlantis, the Lost Empire." (Disney Enterprises)

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Leonard Nimoy visits the Kennedy Space Center as host of the Buena Vista Television special "Armageddon: Target Earth," which aired on ABC in 1999. (Business Wire)

mn 0919 c nimoy sf p A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy was the guest speaker in 1994 for the induction of five Edwards Air Force Base test pilots into Lancaster's Aerospace Walk of Honor. Nimoy said the pilots were true heroes. (Scott Rathburn / For The Times)

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In 2001, Leonard Nimoy read "The Cooking Poet," a short story by Samrat Upadhyay, at the Getty museum in Los Angeles. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)

mn 960725 star trek A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

Spock (Nimoy) with Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) in the TV series "Star Trek."

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William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in character. (Gregory Schwartz / Paramount Pictures)

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Captain Kirk (William Shatner) checks the progress of other members of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew as Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) listens in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." (Bruce Birmelin / Paramount Pictures)

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Jonathan Pryce, left, and Leonard Nimoy in TNT's "David." (Erik Heinila / TBS)

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"Star Trek's" William Shatner, left, and Leonard Nimoy, right, in "The Trouble With Tribbles" episode.

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Leonard Nimoy is shown with Mona Knox, his costar in 1952's "Kid Monk Baroni."

Among those paying tribute to Nimoy was President Obama, whose cool demeanor and logical approach often drew a comparison to Spock.

“Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy,” Obama wrote in a statement Friday. “Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock.

“In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for ‘Live long and prosper.'”

The tributes to Nimoy weren’t limited to Earth. On Saturday astronaut Terry W. Virts gave the Vulcan hand salute from the International Space Station. And fellow astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from Italy tweeted, “Live Long and Prosper, Mr. Spock!”

Jevon Phillips and Tracy Brown | @LATherocomplex

Times staff writer Gerrick Kennedy contributed to this report.

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Comments


4 Responses to A moment of silence, an outpouring of affection for Leonard Nimoy

  1. Bill McCloskey says:

    Irony – Just watched an old SciFi movie, Them!, and it was pointed out that he played an Army sergeant in that 1954 science fiction thriller.

  2. Nanette Post says:

    I was deeply saddened to hear of Leonard Nimoy’s passing. I grew up with him potraying Mr. Spock. I felt like I lost a friend even though I never met him. I continually followed him through other series in which he was involved (even if I didn’t particularly liked the show) I saw a soul of compassion, depth and love. I will miss him but I know he will live long and prosper in God’s hand and heaven.

  3. King Mod Zoilus says:

    I made this simple tribute to Leonard. He was such an idol to me for all things sci fi. my heart has been so heavy since his loss. I just can't get over it.


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