Many years ago, as the entertainment editor of the State Hornet, the student newspaper at Sacramento State University, I had the chance to interview Leonard Nimoy, the versatile actor, director, author and humanitarian who died Feb. 27 at age 83.
The interview was held at the Mansion Inn in Midtown Sacramento and it was in a group setting, maybe five people in all. Nimoy was dressed way cool. He wore jeans, a crisp, white-collared shirt, a rich blue (or maybe maroon) Valour blazer and a matching tie.
He was in Sacramento to promote Vincent, his one-man show on Vincent van Gogh. I was astonished to be in Mr. Nimoy’s company, and he treated all of the young journalists in attendance like we were representing The New York Times.
I found the story clip this morning in my files. It was from 1978.
Mr. Nimoy explained the difference between Vincent and the other one-performer shows for icons like Mark Twain and Harry Truman.
“Twain and Truman were famous for what they said,” Nimoy explained. “Van Gogh was famous for what he painted. And I think I would be cheating Van Gogh if I didn’t have a visual presentation. I would be cheating the audience, too.”
Nimoy continued: “Also, Twain and Truman were famous when the alive. Van Gogh never saw success while he was living. He only one sold one painting before he died, for $80.
The closing paragraph of the interview reads:
Asked if it had occurred to him that he had portrayed a character who was made fun of because of his big ears and now was playing someone who was laughed at because he cut off his own ear, Nimoy said: “It’s funny you mention that. I was in Los Angeles last week and someone asked me how the play was going. I told him ‘I was up to my ears in Van Gogh.’ “
RIP, Mr. Nimoy. I am sure you will. We are all sure you will.