‘Star Trek’ actor Leonard Nimoy made peace with son through ‘devastating’ letter

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Leonard Nimoy’s son, Adam Nimoy, was stunned when the “Star Trek” actor wrote him a six-page letter that “read like an account of a failed and wasted life.”

It was 2008, and by then, Adam had been sober for about four years. The relationship between father and son was “at an all-time low.”

“I was going to Alcoholics Anonymous and learning about how to deal with my dad,” Adam told Fox News Digital. “He just had so much anger. And I just had a lot of difficulty with him. . . . I had pulled away from him. I was just not interested in arguing with him, which was impossible. Leonard was formidable, so difficult, so powerful. . . . It was very hard to express my feelings.”

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Leonard Nimoy holding up his son Adam.

Adam Nimoy had a complicated relationship with his father, “Star Trek” icon Leonard Nimoy. (Courtesy of Adam Nimoy)

The TV director has written a new memoir, “The Most Human: Reconciling with My Father, Leonard Nimoy.” It explores his complex relationship with the late patriarch and how they made peace before his death in 2015 at age 83.

The 67-year-old admitted that at first, the letter crushed him. At the time, he would call his father on special occasions, but they wouldn’t spend time together or call each other regularly.

Adam Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy rowing a boat.

Adam Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy are seen here enjoying the surf at Waikiki, Hawaii, circa 1970. (Jody Cortes/Getty Images)

“The letter was him expressing a lot of frustration and anger with me and about him, his attitude about me,” Adam explained. “It was very devastating for me to get the letter. But he wanted clarity. Who’s to blame for the failure of our relationship? He wanted to get to the bottom of that. And he felt a lot of it fell on me and my failures as a son. . . . And unfortunately, a lot of what was in his letter was true.”

The Most Human book cover

Adam Nimoy’s memoir, “The Most Human,” is now available in bookstores. (Chicago Review Press )

At first, Adam was set on further disconnecting from his father. But it was a pal in recovery who encouraged him to finally make amends with the actor.

“[He] said I should just go and apologize to him about all my shortcomings or what he felt was wrong,” said Adam. “And I did.”

The path to peace wasn’t smooth.

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A young Leonard Nimoy acting out a scene with a woman.

A young Leonard Nimoy is seen here in a 1964 episode of “The Outer Limits.” (ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Growing up, Adam described his father as “very motivated, very hungry to succeed.” And as Nimoy skyrocketed to fame, they couldn’t be in public together without crowds of strangers mobbing them.

Leonard Nimoy and Adam Nimoy posing in matching suits in front of a robot

Adam Nimoy admitted that a lengthy letter from his father, Leonard Nimoy, crushed him. (F. Scott Schafer/Courtesy of Adam Nimoy.)

“My dad was just not that comfortable being alone with me,” Adam explained. “And it had a lot to do with the fact that he always had stuff on his mind. . . . I had trouble relating to my dad. We didn’t hang out that much. And he was always such a doer. It was hard for him to just sit down, relax and just watch TV. . . . We didn’t converse very easily. . . . And when we tried to have a father and son moment, we just couldn’t do it in public. It was just disruptive immediately, and we’d have to abandon the plan.”

Adam admitted that, as a child, he resented having to share his father with the world. It would be years until he fell in love with the fans who made Nimoy a TV icon.

Leonard Nimoy signing autographs.

Leonard Nimoy meeting with fans in California.  (Getty Images)

“You just want to be alone with your family,” he explained. “And my dad was always very patient, always willing to give you an autograph. . . . It was challenging for me.”

Adam noted that Nimoy came from a generation where emotions just weren’t as frequently discussed as they are today. He wondered how that impacted their relationship.

Leonard Nimoy in front of a stack of photos.

Leonard Nimoy in his photo office/studio at his home March 2, 2002, in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California.  (Paul Harris/Getty Images)

“Even when ‘Star Trek’ became this huge success, his parents didn’t express themselves with him,” said Adam. “I never heard them say they were proud of him, that they loved him, or really acknowledge his accomplishments. I knew they enjoyed the success. . . . They were downright giddy that there was so much attention around my father, that he was doing so well. The fans even showered their love and affection towards my grandparents, and they loved that. They would even share fan letters with us, and they were almost embarrassed by it. But I never, ever heard them say any words of affection to my dad. And I know they loved my dad.”

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Leonard Nimoy reading a script.

Although Leonard Nimoy (left) followed his 1966-69 “Star Trek” run with a notable career as an actor, director, writer and photographer, in the public’s mind he would always be Spock. (Jose Galvez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“… I wanted to break that cycle,” Adam reflected. “With my children, I was very demonstrative, very involved. I’m a different person than my dad was. . . . I expressed feelings of love and pride and joy of just being with them… But for my dad, it was very difficult for him to break that cycle. . . . My grandparents were Russian immigrants who came to America and were shellshocked when they got here. It was all about survival. That’s what it was for Leonard.”

“Leonard was all about survival,” Adam added.

Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner wear Star Trek jerseys on TV show

Leonard Nimoy (left) with William Shatner in a scene from “Star Trek.” (CBS/Getty Images)

In his lifetime, Nimoy struggled with alcoholism. The BBC previously reported that the strain of working on “Star Trek” drove him to drink. Adam wrote that the first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting he ever attended was in the mid-‘90s when Nimoy was “newly sober.” Adam struggled with his own addictions, including alcohol and marijuana.

Adam Nimoy standing in front of his father looking up at a man.

Adam Nimoy struggled with his father’s fame as a child. (Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

“It was weird,” Adam admitted to Fox News Digital about going to AA with Nimoy. “It was just like, ‘Is this our new father-son outing? Are you trying to tell me something? Do you want me to join the program, or do you want to show me the work you’ve been doing in the program?’ It wasn’t clear to me. . . . I never knew what he was thinking. . . . It was really hard to tell what his motivation was. But I went along with it.”

“I thought it was fine and interesting except when I found out what the 12 steps of recovery were,” Adam continued. “It infuriated me. One of the steps is making a list of people you have harmed and becoming willing to make amends to those people. And my dad never made amends to me. . . . It just made me so angry that he was skipping over those steps. I was turned off by the program. It was a very negative experience, even though I didn’t express those feelings to him.”

In the book, Adam wrote that Nimoy “got to skip the steps in which he was supposed to apologize for all the stuff he pulled, all the arguments we had, all the times we knocked heads when Johnnie Walker was in the room.”

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Leonard Nimoy dressed as Spock.

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in “Star Trek.” (CBS via Getty Images)

It wouldn’t be until December 2003 that a friend, who was in and out of recovery, told Adam that it was his turn. In 2004, Adam found his way back into the program on his own.

“I was very unhappy and smoking marijuana all day long,” said Adam. “I was in an unhappy marriage, and my kids were old enough to start noticing that there was something wrong with me. I had changed. I was acting differently – strangely. . . . I was so sick of being high all the time. I just didn’t enjoy it, and it wasn’t helping me. It’d been going on for 30 years since I was in high school. I was ready – completely ready. And I never relapsed.”

Adam said that when he received his father’s letter, the actor “was not drinking anymore,” but “he was not going to meetings.”

A close-up of Leonard Nimoy on the red carpet wearing black.

Leonard Nimoy arrives at the premiere of Paramount Pictures’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” at the Dolby Theatre on May 14, 2013, in Hollywood, California.  (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“I think he had a lot of struggles with his feelings and what the right action would be for him – I think he just didn’t know,” said Adam. “But . . . I had people in recovery who gave me the direction I needed to reconcile with him. And that’s what I did, even though when I was told to go make amends with him, I resisted. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t think he deserved it. I felt like he’d been sober longer than me. So why should I make the first move? But that’s just typical, emotionally immature thinking.”

Adam said that the moment he made amends, his father “was willing to let go of everything that he held against me.”

“He was also ready to move ahead,” said Adam. “And that’s what we did – move forward in our relationship. And it was freaking incredible. We were so happy to be together. We really loved each other. We just didn’t know how to love each other.”

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Leonard Nimoy hugging his son Adam.

Adam Nimoy made peace with his father, Leonard Nimoy, before the patriarch passed away. (Courtesy of Adam Nimoy)

Adam said his final years with Nimoy were joyous. They loved being with each other, and Nimoy bonded with his grandchildren. And by then, Adam beamed when fans approached Nimoy.

“I was proud of him – really proud of him,” said Adam. “I was proud of what he managed to achieve throughout his life. . . . During those last years, it felt like we could finally rely on each other.”

Today, Adam hopes his story will give hope to others who are struggling with similar complex relationships with their parents.

Adam Nimoy doing a Spock sign in a black suit.

Adam Nimoy is seen here posing for a portrait paying tribute to his father, Leonard Nimoy. (Jody Cortes/Getty Images)

“I’m a work in progress, but I’ve come a long way,” said Adam. “[And] family dysfunction is everywhere. You don’t have to have a famous father to have trouble with a family member. . . . But my dad and I had to rediscover each other and rebuild our relationship. That’s the whole point of recovery.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.