Mr. Spock talks of his long and prosperous life

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (College Press Exchange) — Leonard Nimoy, who would later become famous as Mr. Spock in the “Star Trek” series, had a brush with greatness 41 years ago.
While trying to re-establish his acting career after serving in the Army, he worked in Los Angeles as a taxi driver to support his two young children. He got a call one day to pick up a young senator from Massachusetts — John F. Kennedy.
Nimoy told the story of his brief but memorable meeting with JFK while speaking yesterday to the graduates of the New England Institute of Technology in a ceremony at Brown University’s Meehan Auditorium.
Kennedy had yet to achieve national prominence in 1956, but Nimoy knew him because the unemployed actor had grown up in Boston.
“How are things in Massachusetts, Senator?” Nimoy asked Kennedy. The senator “lit up like a light bulb,” delighted that someone recognized him, Nimoy said.
Nimoy told him he was from Boston, and the Senator asked him what he was doing in California. After Nimoy told him he was struggling to find acting work, Kennedy told him something he would always remember.
“Just remember this — these are words I tell myself frequently: There’s always room for one more good one.”
“I took a lot of sustenance from that statement for many years,” Nimoy said.
Four years later Kennedy was elected president, and 10 years later “Star Trek” went on the air.
Nimoy grew up in a triple-decker in Boston’s inner city, the son of immigrant parents. His father worked as a barber. His interest in acting was apparent at age 8 when he performed at a local community theater.
New England Tech honored Nimoy and filmmaker Michael Corrente with doctoral degrees in science, and Nimoy was given the school’s “America’s Finest” award.
More than 800 students received associate of science and bachelor of science degrees in such diverse majors as Advanced Automotive Technology, Computer Information Systems Technology, Surgical Technology and Video and Radio Production Technology.
When it was Nimoy’s turn to speak, he discussed the two questions he is asked most often about the stunning success of the “Star Trek” series and the films it spawned. Nimoy played the always-logical Mr. Spock, who had pointed ears and almost always appeared emotionless, yet likable.
Did he know how successful the show would be when it began in 1966? “Yes,” he said dryly. “I have precognition.”
The other question: Why did “Star Trek” become so much a part of our society, where phrases such as “Beam me up, Scotty” have become part of our vernacular?
“It has to do with the fact that the series deals with the positive potential of humankind,” he said. “Human beings, no matter what race, what gender, working together for mutual dignity and respect. Bringing their talents to bear, the professional teamwork to solve problems together.”
“Do good work and take pride in the good work that you do,” Nimoy told the graduates. He closed his speech with the traditional goodbye from his “Star Trek” character: “May you all live long and prosper.”