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It Took Some Time For Leonard Nimoy To Open Up To Walter Koenig During Star Trek

By now fairly well-known that Leonard Nimoy was a complex man. None other than "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry called the man who played Mr. Spock the conscience of the show. And yet, Nimoy had a clear ambivalence toward his strong association with the Vulcan science officer. It's reflected in the titles of his autobiographies, the first of which was published in 1975 and is titled "I am Not Spock." The second, published twenty years later, is cheekily titled "I am Spock." 

He brought a unique creativity to his "Star Trek" character, even calling on his Jewish upbringing to create the iconic Vulcan salute. But that creativity and curiosity also extended to an impressive array of projects well beyond the purview of science fiction, from singing and photography to earning a master's degree in Spanish. 

Still, in 1966, during the series' original run, there could often be a certain amount of unease. Nimoy himself described this, attributing much of the tension to the cast's relative youth and their uncertainty about their future as actors. Even taking into consideration his reputation as an artist with a notable amount of integrity, it appears that Nimoy could be rather difficult to get to know. Other members of the original "Star Trek" cast, such as Walter Koenig, have spoken on this. 

Unapproachable but loyal

In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Walter Koenig, the man who played the original Ensign Pavel Chekov, shared his thoughts regarding his experiences of working with his "Star Trek" co-stars. This included Leonard Nimoy. "Leonard was always quiet, taciturn. Very much, it seemed, internalized," said Koenig. Despite the strength of Nimoy's social conscience, it apparently took a good a amount of time for Koenig to realize just how strong it was. 

"He would never make a ... show of his loyalty," Koenig elaborated, "but ... if called upon, you could count on him. So that was really nice to know." Koenig has spoken elsewhere about how this loyalty could often translate into real, concrete action on Nimoy's part, particularly when issues of right and wrong came up. In a 2014 interview with the Las Vegas Sun, he recalled that when the cast discovered Nichelle Nichols — who played Uhura — was being paid less, it was Nimoy who brought it up with producers and demanded it be rectified. 

Even here, however, Koenig once again mentioned how unapproachable Nimoy could be. Then again, given that he was playing a character renowned for his unflappability, a little bit of reclusiveness probably came in handy.