During Memorial Day weekend in 2012 I found myself at the Phoenix Convention Center surrounded by aliens, treekies, freeks and geeks of all stripes. It was my first visit to a Comicon.
Our purpose? To meet Leonard Nemoy. After waiting in long lines to check in, we waited in another long line to get our picture taken with Mr. Nemoy. Walk in, exchange greetings, pose, “FLASH!”, walk out. The photo op lasted less than a minute.
The photo captures that brief brush with celebrity. However, a far less intimate encounter later that day left a more lasting impression.
At a Comicon, it is customary for guest artists to participate in “panels”. The size of the room used is directly proportional to the popularity of the the guest. Nemoy’s panel was in the largest ballroom of the convention center. It probably seated several thousand people. The audience was asked to silence their cell phones and Mr. Nemoy arrived.
Leonard Nemoy’s speech was probably one that he had given many times before in similar venues. It was funny, enlightening and entertaining. However, the part I remembered most was unscripted.
In the middle of his talk, a single cell phone rang loud and clear. Leonard looked down and answered his phone. Everyone in the audience clearly heard his side of the conversation with his wife.
“I’m talking with some friends”
The whole ballroom erupted with laughter.
What happened next was what made the biggest impression on me. Mr Nemoy kept on talking to her. 30 seconds later he hung up and resumed his speech.
I put myself in his place – delivering a speech in a room full of people when my husband calls. I probably wouldn’t have answered the phone or if I did answer it, would have said “I’m busy, and can’t talk right now”. Leonard did not. He made sure that he gave full attention to the love of his life – his wife Susan.
Leonard Nemoy played a stoic Vulcan. It must have been a stretch for this kind, gentle man.
Live Long and Prosper!