Leonard Nimoy was known for playing Spock within the Star Trek universe for a number of years. The character was known for his moral compass, and his struggles between being a logical individual and one with the capacity for emotion, as well. In real life, his Star Trek co-star Walter Koenig called Nimoy a “very good man,” and he emphasized the actor's character through a story about an encounter with the actor during his time on the set of Star Trek.
Koenig played Pavel Chekov in the original TV series version of Star Trek, and he starred alongside William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, who played the famous James T. Kirk and Commander Spock, respectively. His other co-stars included George Takei, who played Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu and Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, respectively. One day, Koenig and Nimoy realized that the female in the crew—Nichols—was not getting paid as much as the men on the show. Koenig explained to the Las Vegas Sun how Leonard Nimoy managed to rectify the situation.
When it came to the attention of the cast that there was a disparity in pay in that George and I were getting the same pay but Nichelle was not getting as much, I took it to Leonard and he took it to the front office and they corrected that.
Star Trek originally aired in the late sixties—a time when many women still worked within the home and women who did work often had salaries that did not match up with the menfolk in similar positions. It’s nice that both Koenig and Nimoy took note of Nichelle Nicols’ paycheck predicament and that the latter went out of his way to do something about it. Equal pay for equal work wasn’t really as much of a talked-about issue at the time as it is today and for Nimoy to go to bat for his co-star like that is pretty incredible. It’s no surprise that Koenig also notes in the interview that Nimoy had “sound ethics,” as well as “a good sense of morality.”
Stories about Leonard Nimoy have run around the web recently, following Nimoy’s passing on February 27 at the age of 83. In the time following, fellow Star Trek cast member William Shatner took to Twitter to share fond memories of the times he spend with Nimoy. And other programs that have been influenced by the original Star Trek series, like The Big Bang Theory, also offered on-air tributes.
Nowadays, it’s doubtful that Zoe Saldana, who plays Uhura in the J.J. Abrams film franchise would have to worry about competing for salary with the men in the movie, including John Cho’s Sulu and Anton Yelchin’s Chekov. Regardless, that just helps to show us how far females in the entertainment business have come over the years.