On Saturday, October 17th, Leonard Nimoy was honored by the Company of Angels, the theater company he co-founded, at their 50th anniversary gala in Los Angeles, CA.
Founded in 1959 by Nimoy and several theater students, the first home of Company of Angels was in Hollywood. “The building was on the corner of Vine Street and Warning,” Nimoy told Vasanti Saxena for the CoA gala program. “I can’t tell you what the square footage was, but I designed the layout of the stage and the seats. To keep the company busy working as actors while they were building the theater simultaneously was a challenge. Then my own work took me away, and I was off doing a lot of television and film work—and the Company of Angels thankfully survived.” Company of Angels, which is the oldest not-for-profit repertory theater in the city of Los Angeles, is now housed in the historic Alexandria Hotel in the downtown area.
Nimoy was honored alongside Robert Ellenstein, who played the Federation Council President in Star Trek IV and was also the Company of Angels’ first Artistic Director. Nimoy himself presented Ellenstein’s award, and noted that their friendship predated both CoA and Star Trek, spanning fifty-two years. The event was hosted by Judy Reyes of Scrubs, and Billie Myers performed three songs during the course of the ceremony, including her hits “Kiss the Rain” and “Tell Me.”
Nimoy also donated a pair of Spock ears that he wore in Star Trek IV to be auctioned off by the theater company. He spoke of the legendary role and why Spock was a character that had an impact on so many people: “The great thing about Star Trek when it was at its best are the issues that it deals with. The Spock character is an issue in himself. Spock is a mixed-race character–half-human, half-Vulcan. He has his own personal journey and I think audiences appreciate that. People can relate to it and understand that this is a very complex personality dealing with an inner life that is probably like a lot of people have, which is: What is my real identity? How do I find a dignified way of living in the world? I’m grateful that Star Trek gave me the opportunity to do that.”
Nimoy acknowledged the many opportunities Star Trek has brought him. “I’m also very grateful for what Star Trek has meant to me in terms of opportunity of all other kinds. All the plays and musicals, the comedies I was able to act in all around the United States were made available to me because of Star Trek. It all sprang from the celebrity that Star Trek gave me. And I was able to use that celebrity to create theatrical opportunities for myself.”
When asked where the legacy of Star Trek is going, Nimoy replied, “Straight up!”