OMG! Leonard Nimoy aka Dr. Spock just died. I was never a fan of Star Trek, in fact, I’m not sure I saw one episode. I’m not a TV watcher. I only watch SNL and tennis and they must be taped. I hate complicated, computerized, bionic remotes and I hate commercials. I have my vices; TV is just not one of them, which is weird because my father was in TV.
I was raised in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, my mom was a gorgeous model, my father, Robert “Bob” Miles was the stunt man for Michael Landon on Bonanza all those years and he continued working the few stunts necessary for “Little House on the Prairie.” Michael Landon and my father loved each other. Then sadly as we all know, Michael died of cancer.
My parents divorced when I was very young and I never got to know my father well. He had an exciting life with Hoss, Little Joe, Ben and Adam Cartwright and was into partying heavily with those guys when they got off set. They must have gone on benders because days would go by when we wouldn’t see my dad at all. He apparently had an IQ off the charts but wasn’t smart enough (or in control enough) to treat us well and his behavior when he did come home was scary and totally unpredictable. He slapped me around several times as a very young child, was drunk a lot of the time and was angry.
My oldest sister, Lisa kept tabs years later on him, bless her heart. She sent me documentation that my father is the one who taught pretty boy Landon how to fight. Really fight. Not just for the cameras. I’m not sure why my father thought Michael needed to know this but from what little I know of my father, he probably thought everyone needed to know how to fight. There had to be a reason for that and I suspect it stems back to his own parents, whom I know almost nothing about except that they were both stunt people in the very early stages of the industry. That takes tough, especially in those days. Like them, my father, an only child, was tough, rugged and one time punched the man hard right in the face he thought was stealing his family. I was probably 4 years old and I remember it like it was yesterday.
10 years ago by complete coincidence because of my husband’s job, we lived in Studio City, California for a short time like I did in my childhood. It brought back so many weird memories. It’s called Studio City because it’s where all the TV studios are (Duh to anyone from California but not Duh to people who aren’t) and so all the TV celebrities live there. We ran into Dr. Spock’s cohort William Shatner (among other TV celebs) rather regularly at restaurants and shopping malls. Shatner must have lived very near us. On one occasion my husband was out of town and I was dining alone at a restaurant near our house and I saw Shatner with a woman and a bald child and I heard the encouraging words Shatner was saying to them both. I’m pretty sure it was a “Make a Wish” Foundation meeting, which is utterly lovely.
To keep the yin and yang of life in perspective however, too often we would see him around town in a Jack LaLanne leisure suit. (See photo of LaLanne and note the belt! Look what he was telling people not to eat 50 years ago!! He misspelled “Pastries”! And even if he knew it, he probably didn’t care! Look at at the motivational technique of his body language! Talk about a guy ahead of his time!!)
Shatner would be drunk, belligerent, cruelly degrading service personnel, yelling at restaurant managers and just being an all around AH. He was fat, red faced and hostile and he was a disgrace to himself. At this stage of my life, I am not one to judge people but he was SO mean to people. A year or so later when I moved back to Scottsdale, I couldn’t figure out how they made him look as good as he did for the travel company commercials he was doing.
Leonard Nimoy was the opposite and may he rest in peace and have fun on the next journey. I suppose William Shatner is doing the best he can like the rest of us but are certain celebrities exempt from behaving decently? Or do their accomplishments in one narrow field allow them to be the exception to decency? Or do we reinforce the behavior by “letting them off the hook” more than we would others?