Leonard Nimoy On The Influence Of ‘Spock’ & ‘Star Trek’ In Pop Culture

He’s portrayed one of the most recognizable TV and film characters of all time, and to this day, Leonard Nimoy is still giving that famous Vulcan salute as “Spock” in new Star Trek Into Darkness film.

This morning, Leonard joined the K-EARTH 101 Morning Show to talk about the huge influence his character and the Star Trek franchise has had in pop culture, and how portraying Spock for all these years has even become part of his own personality.

“Particularly when we were doing that TV series…I was in that character from 6:30 in the morning to 6:30 at night everyday, five days a week, so I was in that character Spock more than I was in my own skin,” said Leonard. “I got very contained and very reserved and very logical and very thoughtful.”

As for the new Spock in J.J. Abrams reboot of the Star Trek franchise, Leonard fully approves the casting of Zachary Quinto in the role he’s made so famous.

“I think he’s great…he looks the part, I think he’s very smart,” he said. “He does a great job as Spock.”

Looking back on the franchise, Leonard tells us about how he came up with some of the now iconic traits of Spock including the the Vulcan neck pinch and salute.

He tells us that he came up with the Vulcan neck pinch in an episode where Captain Kirk suffered from a good and evil split personality and he needed to find a way to stop the evil Kirk.

“The writer had written that I come up behind the bad Kirk and hit him over the head with the butt of my phaser, and that’s when I said ‘I don’t think so. I think Spock would have a better way of dealing with this,'” he said. “I told [William Shatner] what I was going to do and I reached up and I grabbed his shoulder from behind and pinched him on the neck and he dropped to the floor, and the Vulcan neck pinch was born!”

On what he thinks about how big of an influence Star Trek has been on pop culture over the years, Leonard isn’t surprised that the franchise is still beloved to this day. He attributes the huge following of the shows and films due to the hopeful message the show sends.

“Star Trek is about a hopeful future, about a future where this group of people goes out and solves problems and tries to find ways to make things better,” he said. “A lot of the science fiction that we introduced in ‘Star Trek’ has become science fact.”

You can catch Leonard Nimoy’s cameo in the new Star Trek Into Darkness in theaters now.

Listen to our complete interview with Leonard Nimoy to hear more stories from the starship Enterprise below, and in the words of Leonard Nimoy, “live long and prosper”!

More from Britt Bickel

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