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The first time I met Leonard Nimoy was in 1986 when I was 28 and he was about to direct Three Men and a Baby.
He had this impressive home in Bel-Air on Stone Canyon that was filled with art. He showed me a model of the set and spoke about how these three characters [played by Guttenberg, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson] were going to form one complete man who’d raise the little girl. He and his wife, Susan, cooked dinner.
When we got to talking, he told me about doing [the TV series] Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford in the 1950s and how you’d show up on the set, change clothes behind a trailer and the director would tell you to stand here, say this, get out of the way. Leonard was the opposite of that. He’s the guy who wants to make you great. When we were making Three Men, his plan was to make us a family. He was always encouraging us to go out to dinner together. He was manipulating the experience with a heart.
He wasn’t a Machiavellian manipulator; he was a Mother Teresa manipulator. I felt he was especially protective of me. Once we were walking outside the hotel and there were fans who wanted to take pictures, which we did. As we walked away, he said, “The camera takes your soul. Be careful of that.” I think he meant it as a metaphor for the business. But he was really serious. I was like, “OK, I won’t let the camera take my soul.”
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