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Live long and prosper — and your legacy will continue after you're gone. Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy was laid to rest during a private ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday. The actor died Friday, Feb. 27, at the age of 83 from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Details of the Jewish service were kept intentionally under wraps in order to prevent the Westboro Baptist Church from picketing the event. (Westboro Baptist is a relatively small but extremely vocal group that hosts aggressive protests outside the funerals of servicemen and women and celebs who hold beliefs counter to its own.) The efforts were successful, as the church called off its plans after admitting it couldn't track down the funeral's location. Fortunately, the memorial proved to be peaceful and truly touching for the nearly 300 family members and friends who attended, including Star Trek movie men Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine, and J.J. Abrams.
Rabbi John L. Rosove, who is also the first cousin to Nimoy's wife, Susan, provided a eulogy in which he talked about the actor's love for his other half:
Leonard shared with me after he and Susan married 26 years ago that he had never met a woman like her, never had he loved anyone so dearly and passionately, that she’d saved his life and lifted him from darkness and unhappiness in ways he never thought possible. His love, appreciation, respect, and gratitude for her transformed him and enabled him to begin his life anew.
Rosove also told several stories of their time together, honored the star's contributions to his various communities, and recalled his visits to the Soviet Union in the 1980s and to Germany. "Kind-hearted, gentle, patient, refined, and keenly intelligent was he," Rosove said. (You can read the full eulogy here.)
"Thank you all for the love and kind words to Leonard," the late actor's family posted on his Facebook page following the event. "We lost a wonderful, talented, sweet man, a great father, husband, grandpa, and friend. RIP and LLAP."
But while the service was attended my many of Nimoy's loved ones, one high profile friend was notably absent: William Shatner. The original Captain Kirk chose to make good on his promise to appear at a Red Cross ball in Florida on Saturday night, which prevented him from making it back to the West Coast in time for the service. Though the 83-year-old star stood by his decision, he admitted it wasn't an easy one to make.
"I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried," he lamented on the eve of the funeral before urging fans to focus on the positive. "So let's spend some time tomorrow celebrating Leonard's life and remembering the man," Shatner tweeted.
As is to be expected, not everyone was pleased with Shatner's choice, however, and — after being taken to task by some fans and press — he spoke out a bit more the following day.
"So my daughters Melanie and Lisabeth are attending Leonard's services," Shatner shared before staunchly defending his decision. "I chose to honor a commitment I made months ago to appear at a charitable fundraiser. A lot of money was raised. So here I am; Tell me off."
However, just because he wasn't at the actual ceremony hardly meant the actor was prevented from properly remembering his late friend.
"He had a good, long life," Shatner told Local 10 news at the Red Cross benefit. "He did a lot of things. He inspired a lot of people. He was loved by a lot of people and he loved a lot of people." He wasn't wrong there.
Fans paid tribute to the icon in a variety of touching and creative ways. Nimoy's Walk of Fame star was decorated with flowers, the Long Beach Comic Expo held a moment of silence in his honor, and — at the behest of Design Canada — Canadian fans began to "Spock" their cash by altering the $5 bill to depict Nimoy's face. Yes, this is as awesome as it sounds.
While we don't know how Barack Obama would feel about "Spock" dollars for the States, we do know how he felt about the late actor and his contribution to our culture.
"Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy," POTUS said in a statement. "Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his time and talents. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the centre of Star Trek's optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity's future. I loved Spock." We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Mr. President.
Regardless of whether you're a die-hard Trekker or not, it's impossible to deny Nimoy's passion for his work and impact on our world. LLAP, indeed.