An Alien and a Gentleman: Celebrating Leonard Nimoy

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3 segments

The actor Leonard Nimoy may be best known for creating the role of Mr. Spock in the television series Star Trek and subsequent films, but to SELECTED SHORTS fans, he was a consummate reader. Nimoy's performances of short fiction, over a period of more than twenty years, ranged from James Thurber's manic caper "The Catbird Seat" to powerful works by writers like Evelyn Waugh and Raymond Carver. In this special tribute to our long-time friend, who died on February 27th, we hear Nimoy in two different modes. First, he relishes the harsh comic irony in Etgar Keret’s “Good Intentions,” in which a hardened hit man is hired to “whack” the only man who was ever kind to him. Israeli-born Keret is an internationally celebrated author whose works include The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God & Other Stories, The Nimrod Flipout, and Suddenly, a Knock on the Door. In the second half of this program, Nimoy delivers a chilling performance of Evelyn Waugh’s “The Man Who Liked Dickens.” In a story that he later developed into his novel A Handful of Dust, Waugh depicts an obsessed tribal chieftain who will do anything to insure an unending diet of novels by the Victorian great. A prolific writer, Waugh is best known for his novels Decline and Fall and Brideshead Revisited, which, like this vivid story, tell of the tragic-comic discomfiture of the English upper classes between the two World Wars. A special segment features some comments by Nimoy—from an earlier interview at the J. Paul Getty Center, where he often read for SHORTS—on the pleasure of reading short fiction. It’s introduced by SHORTS’ late host and founder, Isaiah Sheffer. “Good Intentions,” by Etgar Keret, performed by Leonard Nimoy “The Man Who Liked Dickens,” by Evelyn Waugh, performed by Leonard Nimoy The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group. For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit We’re interested in your response to these programs. Please comment on this site or visit