Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A New York Times best seller
Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner first crossed paths as actors on the set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Little did they know that their next roles as Spock and Captain Kirk, in a new science-fiction television series, would shape their lives in ways no one could have anticipated. In seventy-nine television episodes of Star Trek and six feature films, they grew to know each other more than most friends could ever imagine.
Over the course of half a century, Shatner and Nimoy saw each other through personal and professional highs and lows. In this powerfully emotional audiobook, Shatner tells the story of a man who was his friend for five decades, recounting anecdotes and untold stories of their lives on and off set, as well as gathering stories from others who knew Nimoy well, to present a full picture of a rich life.
As much a biography of Nimoy as a story of their friendship, Leonard is a uniquely heartfelt audiobook written and read by one legendary actor in celebration of another.
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|Listening Length||6 hours and 47 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||February 16, 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #51,074 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#75 in Film History & Criticism
#299 in Television Performer Biographies
#1,093 in Biographies of Celebrities & Entertainment Professionals
Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2019
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I learned so much about you and Leonard through this book. I laughed and smiled and remembered the things that both of you meant to me. At the end, I cried.
As someone who has a habit of sticking my foot in my mouth and inadvertently making people angry with me, I could relate to the times when you inadvertently made Leonard angry. I could see your heart in this book. You are a wonderful person and I thank you for sharing your story.
The reader will find all the blow-by-blow trials and tribulations of the birth of the science-fiction television series what would become the “Star Trek” legend. Readers won’t be disappointed in the “Star Trek” story told by this tome, but there are other surprises that most “Star Trek” or Spock fans probably have no idea about.
Leonard Nimoy loved photography. It was an interest that developed (no pun) at the ripe old age of 13 and lasted throughout his long life. At one point he even considered giving up acting and becoming a professional photographer. Leonard still had and used the camera (a bellows Kodak autographic camera) his uncle had bought for him on the day he was born. “I thought it was marvelous to be able to shoot a roll of film, go immediately into the darkroom—in our case, the family bathroom—develop the film, and make a print. I could buy a package of chemicals from Kodak for fifteen cents, and I loved the idea of being able to capture an image that way.”
“In the early 1970s for example, he began studying photography seriously, taking classes at UCLA and, for a time, considered pursuing it rather than continuing to act.”
“In his later years, he created three major works in which he accomplished exactly what he had set out to do, use the lens to explore grand themes.” Many of his photographs were called sensuous by the critics. In addition to publishing books of his photographs he was also a poet and after his first book of poetry, “You & I” was published and became a best seller, six more of his books of poetry were published over two decades.
Both Shatner and Nimoy became recording stars in their spare time. Nimoy’s first album was entitled “Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space.” Six of the tracks included Nimoy “speak-singing”. “Leonard co-wrote several of the light-hearted songs on the album, which include ‘Music to Watch Space Girls By,’ ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Earth,’ and, of course, ‘Highly Illogical.’”
“During his musical career he released five albums: his most successful albums were a kind of folk-rock style. In 1997 music publishers released a compilation of both of our ‘biggest hits.’ ‘Spaced Out,’ it was called.”
Nimoy also wrote, directed and starred in several plays before moving on to movie directing. He produced dozens of radio dramas and audio books. He also enjoyed doing voice over narration tracks for movies and documentaries Trekies may have recognized Nimoy’s voice in two of the “Transformer” movies.
Leonard Nimoy was truly an artist in all facets of his life. Readers won’t be disappointed in this biography as related by William Shatner and Captain James T. Kirk. As Spock would say with his raised hand signal: LLAP
Initially I thought this would center on their time together on Star Trek and any encounters in the years after. But actually it starts much earlier and whether through research or information gleaned from their man conversations over the years, Mr. Shatner was actually able to talk about Leonard Nimoy's childhood and how he got into acting. There's a lot of material to cover there.
And of course it goes on to cover Leonard's life as an actor at length. If anything it was fascinating to listen to William Shatner's thoughts on acting as an art and a craft and his repeated praises for Leonard Nimoy as an actor. It's easy to get lost in the usual public stories about competition between them while on Star Trek but in this book you really hear his admiration for the man. Maybe they were rivals then but by the time he wrote this book after Nimoy's passing, there was certainly a lot of love for the man.
What I Liked: William Shatner is a pretty thoughtful man and this book is a great demonstration of that. And here his focus is pretty much all on sharing all that he knows of his friend Nimoy. And in that regard this book feels quite genuine - and that tone of honesty does a lot for its value as a narrative experience. And it feels like so much work was put into making the coverage of this book to capture as much of Leonard Nimoy's life in a book.
And Shatner has a lovely reading cadence that makes the audio book experience quite engaging and at times poetic. And you can hear his sincerity in putting this book together as a way to process his own feelings over the death of his friend.
What Could Have Been Better: All that said, William Shatner is William Shatner and does tend to wander off into strange tangents of Leonard Nimoy's life or just random bits on acting in general. He's not the most concise writer in this regard and there are a lot of parts that feel like he's losing sight of telling the core story.
And as a third-party account, there's only so much that he can share about his life. He largely took an approach where he tries to be somewhat objective in his discussion of his life. But maybe it could have been more personal or perhaps more introspective and I think that's the last barrier to really, really celebrating this book.
TL;DR: Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man is largely a touching effort to tell the story of Leonard Nimoy and in that regard acts as a tribute to a great man.
Top reviews from other countries
Nimoy is painted as a hugely creative and driven man (and troubled too, with alcoholism and family issues, both of which he thankfully worked through), working hard to establish himself and being true to his vision, even if it got him into trouble. Shatner’s memories, aided by those of Adam Nimoy and other friends, paint a wonderful warts and all portrait of Nimoy, told in a brisk and breezy style that ensures this is a quick read. Honest with his own feelings and the issues between them throughout, in the final two chapters as Nimoy’s health worsens, Shatner reveals there was a falling out he never properly understood and it’s with this bitter-sweet realisation the book ends (he clearly laments the loss). Lovingly related and very moving at times, I thoroughly enjoyed this and would highly much recommend it even if you’re not that big a Trek fan.
I loved Bill's candour and honesty about the tough times they shared in their personal lives, and learning about the insecurity and instability these stars encounter from the studios and networks when all the time to us as the observers they look like they've got it made.
This book is the sharing of the rollercoaster memories between two good friends, and I've really enjoyed being able to share those memories.
Mr Shatner's books always seem to fly just below the warts-and-all radar. There's enough self-deprecation and sincerity to show willing at being candid and offset the notorious - but probably justified - egotism.
For all that this is a tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy, it is without question a book by and about William Shatner. I'm fine with that. Less so the use of quoted archive research, at a guess the ghost writer's contribution, that makes a lot of the material about Mr Nimoy very obviously second or third hand.
There's a bit of obvious, self-interested lid-lifting on the nature of friendship among ensemble TV casts, which goes a little way to disrupt the long-established legends about difficult relationships among the Star Trek "family".
I trust the fact that there was a late-arriving but genuine relationship between the two men. They seem to have presented a comfortable, united public face, but then, you know ... actors.
I learned a few things not covered in the Memoirs books or I Am Spock.
A world where art and philosophy interact with business, money and uncertainty, but also with ego.
Shatner describes it very accurately and, I must say, with a great deal of honesty and modesty, which is quite a change for anyone knowing his sometimes self-inflating statements about himself and his career. The man has matured. So, yes this is about him, but more than everything about his long term friend and acting partner Leonard Nimoy.
I thouhg I knew both actors, having enjoyably read books from both of them in the past, but this one is different and has a sense of last tribute to his dearest friend.
A sense of deepness but also regret and nostalgy, not met before.
With some very moving parts such as the loss of their friendship the very last years of the life of Nimoy, for which Shatner is at a loss understanding why this happened, and which apparently he failed to understand, despite having tried several times to come back to Leonard.
It is difficult, while you are reading it, to stop and not read it at once from A to Z.
But it is equally difficult to arrive at the last page, because you miss it already.
For those of us who loved the Star Trek and Mission Impossible TV series, this makes for great reading to understand a little more about the man who, for ever will be known by the name of the alien character he helped create in the TV series Star Trek - Spock.
A fascinating read.