R.I.P. Spock – He Got Sober, Lived Long, and Prospered

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by Screedler on February 27, 2015

I am huge OST (Original Star Trek) fan. I still watch them like my father watches Gun Smoke, Bonanza, and The Rifleman. They bring a deep feeling of my youth and comfort. I once went and saw Leonard Nimoy speak while a student at UAB in the mid 80’s. I brought along a pair of Spock Ears, but was too shy to put them on during his 90 minute or so discussion. It was as Spock would say … “Fascinating”. Being the opposite of his character Spock, over sensitive and hyper emotional, following my illogical impulses of self-destruction as a young man; I looked up to him, yearned to be Spock-like, making logical decisions unaffected by my feelings and desires. So I am deeply touched by his passing, but not sad.  He lived a very long and prosperous life, and like us overcame the disease of addiction.

From a 2001 interview with The Telegraph:

Star Trek Drove Me To Drink

THE actor Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock in Star Trek, has admitted that his role as the Starship Enterprise’s straight-laced Vulcan with two hearts and no emotions, led him to alcohol addiction.

Once the cameras stopped, he reached for a drink and later fought a long battle with alcohol abuse. He made the confession in a video he has completed with William Shatner, who played the Enterprise’s Captain Kirk. They interviewed each other for 80 minutes about how the science fiction series affected their lives.

Nimoy, 70, the son of Ukrainian Jewish peasants, told for the first time how his problem started with the two glasses of wine he would use to wind down after long hours of filming. “I started drinking regularly, ritually, during the second or third year of our series.

“The minute we finished the last shot I would have a drink. Then it became a series of drinks, little by little. Before I knew it I was drinking more and more because my addictive personality was taking over.”

Nimoy said he drank wine, beer and spirits to deal with the pressures of fame. His secretary would bring him alcohol, disguised in a cardboard cup. Nimoy said that eventually, realizing the toll it was taking on his professional work and personal life, he went to a rehabilitation clinic.

He blamed his addiction partly on the breakdown of his first marriage to Sandra Zober after 32 years. He reportedly walked out on her 56th birthday. A year after his divorce in 1987 he married Susan Bay. Nimoy, a father of two, said he had not had alcohol since he “fell in love” with Bay, a film executive.

In addition to his own struggles he helped co-star Captain Kirk through a rough patch of his own as we posted here on TDA way back in 2008: Famous Al-Anon’er: William Shatner

Excerpt –

“Captain, that’s not logical.” Dr. Spock said it often to Captain Kirk, but Leonard Nimoy also said something similar to William Shatner before his wedding.

He said just one sentence, ‘Bill, you do know that Nerine is an alcoholic.’ I’m not sure what Leonard expected me to say. ‘I know she is,’ I told him. ‘But I love her.’ Leonard didn’t speak for a minute and then he said, sadly, ‘Well, Bill, then you are in for a rough ride’.”~ The Age

Nimoy was not channeling his Vulcan character, as a recovering alcoholic he knew first hand the potential pain Shatner could face. Nine years later Shatner came home to find his floating face down in the pool, dead from an overdose of alcohol and valium.

He would admit that another vice, a self described Olympic Caliber Smoker who sometimes even lit up in the shower for a puff, would probably be his downfall because of the COPD he contracted even after having quit them for 30 years. He won the battle over cigarettes like he did with alcohol, but lost the war, as the COPD finally overcame his defenses in old age.

Leonard Nimoy was 83.  I have been, and always shall be, an ardent admirer.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sanka March 19, 2015 at 7:02 am

Hello there. i have given up on alcohol and cigarettes.
id like to share my story on how i did it,



2 katie February 27, 2015 at 10:43 pm

I just discovered your blog and I’m already a huge fan. Thank you for all these great resources; I look forward to reading more from you.


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