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.
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.”
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.”
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)Link
Leonard Nimoy's first title role was in the 1952 film "Kid Monk Baroni," playing a street tough turned boxer.Link
Nimoy's big break was playing Mr. Spock on the TV series "Star Trek" from 1966 to 1969. (Paramount)Link
Nimoy spent two seasons as a regular on "Mission: Impossible." (CBS)Link
In 1971, Nimoy played a bounty hunter in the western film "Catlow." (MGM)Link
In 1976, Nimoy played the title role in the stage production "Sherlock Holmes." (Los Angeles Times)Link
In 1982, Nimoy played Achmet, the devious regent to Kublai Khan, in the TV miniseries "Marco Polo." (NBC)Link
Nimoy in the 1984 miniseries "The Sun Also Rises," adapted from the Ernest Hemingway novel. (NBC)Link
Nimoy starred in and directed the 1986 film "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." (Los Angeles Times)Link
Nimoy also directed the 1987 comedy "Three Men and a Baby," starring Steve Guttenberg, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson. (Touchstone Pictures)Link
Nimoy directing Gene Wilder on the 1990 film "Funny About Love." (Paramount)Link
In 2001, Nimoy donated $1 million to the renovation of the Griffith Observatory. (Los Angeles Times)Link
Nimoy reprised his role as Spock for the 2009 reboot "Star Trek." (Paramount)Link
Nimoy in his recurring role on the sci-fi series "Fringe." (Fox)Link
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)Link
Leonard Nimoy inside his synagogue, Temple Israel of Hollywood, in 2004. (Los Angeles Times)Link
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)Link
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)Link
In 2009, Leonard Nimoy guest-starred in the season finale episode of Fox's "Fringe." (Craig Blankenhorn/Fox)Link
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. (Paramount Pictures)Link
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock on "Star Trek." (Paramount Pictures)Link
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.Link
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)Link
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)Link
Leonard Nimoy at his Bel-Air home in 1996, on the 30th anniversary of the "Star Trek" phenomenon. (Perry C. Riddle / Los Angeles Times)Link
Leonard Nimoy costars in 1996 as the prophet Samuel in TNT's two-part, four-hour "David" production. (TBS)Link
Jane Wyatt is shown with Nimoy in 1966. She played Mr. Spock's mother in the original "Star Trek" TV series. (File photo)Link
Leonard Nimoy, voice of King of Atlantis in "Atlantis, the Lost Empire." (Disney Enterprises)Link
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)Link
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)Link
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)Link
Spock (Nimoy) with Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) in the TV series "Star Trek."Link
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in character. (Gregory Schwartz / Paramount Pictures)Link
Leonard Nimoy (Ho / Associated Press)Link
Leonard Nimoy (Paramount Pictures)Link
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in "Star Trek." (CBS)Link
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)Link
Jonathan Pryce, left, and Leonard Nimoy in TNT's "David." (Erik Heinila / TBS)Link
Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home."Link
"Star Trek's" William Shatner, left, and Leonard Nimoy, right, in "The Trouble With Tribbles" episode.Link
Leonard Nimoy is shown with Mona Knox, his costar in 1952's "Kid Monk Baroni."Link
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!”
Times staff writer Gerrick Kennedy contributed to this report.