Fringe (tv program)

Leonard Nimoy made Spock 'Star Trek's' most complicated, and modern, hero

It is important, and sometimes difficult, to remember that Leonard Nimoy, who died Friday at the age of 83, was an actor, not an alien.

As Mr. Spock, the elf-eared, half-Vulcan science officer and first mate of the Starship Enterprise, he created a role that turned him from a journeyman into a star. The role made a footnote of everything he'd done before and colored everything that came after.

The titles of Nimoy's two memoirs — "I Am Not Spock" (1975) and "I Am Spock" (1995) — indicate a process of rejection and acceptance the part played in his life. And each is true: He was all the while his own person — it's interesting, even a...