Leonard Nimoy was a mensch! Mensch is a word which in Yiddish means “a particularly good person” with the qualities one would hope for in a dear friend or trusted colleague. I met Lenny, as I called him, when I arrived in Hollywood for the first time in the late 1950s with Paddy Chayefsky’s first Broadway play, Middle of the Night.
Lenny was from the Boston area, and I was from New York. Easterners! We could have played brothers as we were virtually the same age and height, both slim of build with similar features in a lean face, a shock of straight black hair, and the two of us had been raised in households by hardworking Jewish parents.
Even though that first meeting was cordial, both of us realized that we could play the same roles, and we would clearly be competitors for those roles. That did happen.
As the years passed and as our careers took different turns, we remained friends and always delighted in our individual success. Our respect for each other grew. Last Friday when I heard of Lenny’s passing, I was devastated. It’s impossible to think of a future without my dear friend and foremost competitor. I will miss him, always. Rest in peace, dear friend!
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