The iconic actor and director, best known for playng Mr. Spock across an array of "Star Trek" productions,, including the most recent big-screen versions, has died. New York Times obit here. Washington Post here. Besides the post here, I wrote an appreciation of Nimoy for the Beacon Journal, which you can find here.
While he had a varied career, his reputation rests fundamentally on being Spock, and as such one of the big three of the original "Star Trek," along with Bones and Kirk. William Shatner, who played Kirk, is now the last surviviing member of that trio; DeForest Kelley, who played Bones, died in 1999. (Among the other core cast, James Doohan, the originally Scotty, died in 2005; George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig are still with us.)
Here's a chat I had with him when he came to the University of Akron in 2006:
Photographer Leonard Nimoy spoke in E.J. Thomas Hall on Thursday.
He's also known as an actor, director, writer, poet -- or, if you remember him only from Star Trek, the guy who played Mr. Spock. But these days his passion is in photos.
Still, Nimoy was greeted with a roar and a standing ovation because of Spock. His hour-long talk -- including a brief question-and-answer period -- was billed as "celebrating 40 years of Star Trek," which marked that anniversary Sept. 8. And most of it was devoted to stories about the show and some of the subsequent movies.
At a news conference and in a brief conversation before his speech, he also worried about a newly enhanced version of the original series, which begins appearing in broadcast syndication this weekend, including on WBNX (Channel 55).
Nimoy, who has not seen the new version, said at first that he thought the changes were simply sprucing up the colors and clarity of the show, and that was fine. Told the new version also had computer-updated images of the starships and other new details, he said, "Shame on them."
He thought changing content was out of bounds. Later, shown a Star Trek news release describing the modifications, he said, "I'm amazed."
But Nimoy acted for years before Star Trek, starting as a child in inner-city Boston, playing Hansel in a production of Hansel and Gretel. And in the years since Star Trek, he has pursued many passions.
The latest, he said at the news conference, is fine-art photography. (You can find examples, including nudes, at www.leonardnimoyphotography.com.)
"I've been interested in photography since I was 13, 14 years old," he said. "I studied actively in the '70s, when I considered changing careers after three seasons of Star Trek and two on Mission: Impossible. . . . The last 10, 12 years I've concentrated on it."
One of his projects has involved full-figured women, and Nimoy ripped into ultra-thin fashion models, calling them "freaks."
"The average American woman weighs at least 25 percent more than the model that is being used to sell the clothes and cosmetics," he said. "A gigantic industry grew up around this issue which says, 'You, average American woman, you don't look right. You should look like that (model), and we have ways to help you.' "
But photography may not be the last thing Nimoy tackles. He has a restless curiosity. It has led him down different roads, from photography to poetry to directing.
Still, aside from the occasional two-day gig, such as commercials, acting no longer draws the 75-year-old.
That's in noticeable contrast to his old co-star and friend, William Shatner, who works constantly, including in the series Boston Legal.
"We are very much alike in a lot of ways, but when it comes to the work, he is still quite motivated and passionate about doing it, and I'm not anymore," Nimoy said. "I've had enough. I don't need it emotionally or financially."
The point was driven home to him in 1997, when he was working on the TV movie David. He was in the desert, his fake beard was scratchy, and the air conditioning in his trailer didn't work. He wondered why he was there instead of in one of his three homes, in Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe and New York City.
"I'm much happier working on my own time, on my own schedule, on my own structure," he said.
He's still an avid theater-goer but does not watch much television -- although he mentioned The West Wing, The Sopranos and Entourage as shows he enjoyed. And he said Shatner "is doing some interesting work on Boston Legal."
He watches news some, but not reality shows. "They don't provide work for actors," he said.
After all, some road may take him back to acting. Even to playing Spock once more. A new Star Trek movie is in the works, with J.J. Abrams directing. Nimoy hasn't been asked to be a part of it yet, but he would be willing "if I thought they had a project of merit."
The official word: CBS today announced premiere dates for its lineup of original summer programing that includes the new drama ZOO, returning event series UNDER THE DOME and EXTANT, and the summer reality hit BIG BROTHER.
ZOO, a new drama based on the #1 bestselling novel by James Patterson, will premiere Tuesday, June 30 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT). In the series, a wave of violent animal attacks against humans begin taking place across the globe. As the assaults become more cunning, coordinated and ferocious, a young renegade biologist (James Wolk) is thrust into the race to unlock the pandemic’s mystery before there’s no place left for people to hide.
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The official word: -- An all-new "DuckTales," an animated comedy series based on the Emmy Award-winning series treasured by a generation of viewers, has been ordered for launch in 2017 on Disney XD channels around the world. Set to be produced by Disney Television Animation, the new series will again star Disney's enduringly popular characters: Scrooge McDuck, his grandnephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, and Donald Duck. The announcement was made today by Marc Buhaj, Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD.
Buhaj said, "DuckTales' has a special place in Disney's TV animation history; it drew its inspiration from Disney Legend Carl Barks' comic books, and through its storytelling and artistic showmanship, set an enduring standard for animated entertainment that connects with both kids and adults. Our new series will bring that same energy and adventurous spirit to a new generation."
The new series' adventures will once again take viewers along as Scrooge McDuck, his curious and mischief-making grandnephews – Huey, Dewey and Louie – and the optimistic yet temperamental Donald Duck embark on high-flying adventures worldwide. Other beloved characters slated to be in the new stories are: Duckworth, Gyro Gearloose, Launchpad McQuack, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica DeSpell & Poe, Ma Beagle and the Beagle Boys (Burger Beagle, Bouncer Beagle), Mrs. Beakley and Webbigail Vanderquack.
A generation's seminal cartoon, the Emmy Award-winning "DuckTales" led the daily syndicated cartoon block "The Disney Afternoon" with 100 episodes produced by Disney Television Animation from 1987-90. An animated theatrical film, "DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp" premiered in 1990.To read more or comment...
Here's the statement from WJW news director Andy Fishman:
Kristi Capel will not be anchoring “Fox 8 News in the Morning” for the remainder of the week.
Kristi regrets her actions and realizes the impact of her mistake and the hurt she has caused.
On Tuesday afternoon, Kristi met with a group of African-American Clergy from Northeast Ohio to begin the process of reflecting on the gravity of this incident. In her on-air apology, Kristi vowed to learn from this experience and has begun that process with help from clergy, friends, family and co-workers.To read more or comment...
The official word: Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company are proud to announce the home entertainment release of THE IMITATION GAME, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, with Charles Dance, and Mark Strong; written by Graham Moore and directed by Morten Tyldum. Heralded as one of the top films of the year in nearly every major publication, the independently produced film has gone on to gross more than 150 million dollars worldwide, and received eight Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture, five Golden Globe® nominations, nine BAFTA nominations, and three Screen Actors Guild nominations. It won the Academy Award® for Adapted Screenplay, was named one of the Best Films of the Year by AFI, received the USC Libraries Scripter Award and was awarded Best Adapted Screenplay by the WGA. It will be available for digital download on March 20th before heading to DVD and Blu-Ray ™ with Digital HD on March 31, 2015.
During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of “gross indecency” – an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality. Little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany's World War II Enigma machine. An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, THE IMITATION GAME is the story of a genius who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives.
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The official word: Netflix, the world’s leading Internet TV network, will premiere exclusively in all of its territories the new feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, starring Paul Reubens as the beloved fun-loving hero of TV, stage and film, Pee-wee Herman.
Judd Apatow (Anchorman, Bridesmaids) and Reubens, who worked together to bring the project to fruition, will produce the film. Reubens and Paul Rust (Comedy Bang! Bang!, Arrested Development) wrote the film. John Lee (Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer) makes his feature film directorial debut with production beginning in early 2015.
In Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.
“We didn’t hesitate for a moment knowing that Pee-wee’s Big Holiday was such a passion project for Paul and Judd and we are delighted by the opportunity to introduce such a beloved character to a new generation,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are thrilled to bring our viewers around the world the wonder of Pee-wee Herman.”To read more or comment...
The network even sent out a teaser promoting that it will run a clip promoting the movie. It's not the first time that a movie clip has been used to get people into a show, but it still amuses me that a promo is itself promo-worthy. This should tell you how much some people, including me, are eager for "Furious 7." The official word:
USA Network announced that, in collaboration with Universal Pictures, it will broadcast an exclusive clip, introduced by Vin Diesel, from the upcoming action-thriller, “Furious 7,” during the premiere of the much-anticipated event series DIG on March 5 at 10/9 c. Additionally, leading into the series premiere, USA will air a special broadcast of “Fast Five.”To read more or comment...
Here's the official word. There's also an expected 12th "surprise" contestant, probably from "The Bachelor." The announcement:
The 10th anniversary celebrity cast of “Dancing with the Stars” is strapping on their ballroom shoes and getting ready for their first dance on MONDAY, MARCH 16 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. This 20th season’s lineup of celebrity dancers includes a television icon, a party rocker, a football star and a Shark, to name a few. The reigning Mirrorball champion, Witney Carson, will be partnered with a surprise celebrity to be announced at a later date, completing the cast of twelve celebrity dance couples.
This season of “Dancing with the Stars” will be filled with surprises as we celebrate the last 10 years. The show will bring back fan favorite theme nights including Disney and Latin night and also introduce new themes, including Spring Break Night. Viewers will also have more access to the show than ever before with #DWTSAllAccess offering viewers a behind the scenes look with six live stream videos from key positions in the ballroom. Additionally, viewers will have access to the DWTS rehearsal studio like never before, with live streaming videos available throughout the week on ABC.com.
As announced this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the celebrities with their professional partners heading to the ballroom this season (in alphabetical order) are:To read more or comment...
UPDATE: On the WJW morning show today, Capel apologized on the air for being insensitive and again said she had not known the meaning of the word she used. She said she will learn from the experience. Even more important, her co-anchor, Wayne Dawson, extensively defended Capel, making clear he did not think she was racist and that she had made a mistake the way anchors sometimes do. He called her "a good girl" and maintained that Capel is "still my partner" on the air.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Reactions to this issue have been mixed. One reader left a long voicemail arguing that Capel is a good Christian and I should apologize for the story I had in today's Beacon Journal. I have never said Capel was not a nice person. Nor, unlike other readers, have I called for her firing. From the beginning I have thought that she made a foolish mistake. And I thought both her apology and Wayne Dawson's comments this morning should be enough for now.
From previous versions:
The WJW morning host, talking about Lady Gaga, used the word "jigaboo," a nasty term for African-Americans. You can see the context in the clip above; note particularly how Wayne Dawson almost chokes when she says it. [UPDATE: The clip I originally posted has been taken down by its user, presumably at WJW's request. I have substituted another copy that was still up a few minutes ago. UPDATED: WJW's owner, Tribune, has also had the substituted clip taken off YouTube. I replaced that with yet another YouTube version of the clip, but will be done if this one is removed. ANOTHER UPDATE: The latest clip was also taken down, so we've removed the link from here.]To read more or comment...