In a most logical tribute during "Star Trek's" 50th anniversary year, Paramount Pictures ensured the legacy of the late Leonard Nimoy would live long and prosper well into the future by dedicating one of the streets on the studio's lot in the actor's name.
In a surprise ceremony during a fan event that previewed the new trailer and additional footage from the studio's upcoming film "Star Trek Beyond," a stretch of studio lot outside of the soundstages where the original "Star Trek" series was filmed from 1966 to 1969 was rechristened Leonard Nimoy Way in honor of the actor's contributions to the enduring sci-fi franchise and pop culture phenomenon as an actor, writer, director and producer.
"Star Trek Beyond" stars Zachary Quinto -- who currently plays Mr. Spock, the character Nimoy originated -- Chris Pine and Karl Urban, producer J.J. Abrams, and director Justin Lin were on hand for the dedication. Joining them were members of Nimoy's family, including his wife Susan, son Adam, daughter Julie and the actor's grandchildren.
Nimoy died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on Feb. 27, 2015.
Quinto, who became close with the late performer while assuming the role as the half-human, half-Vulcan Starfleet officer, led the assembled crowd in a champagne toast to Nimoy's memory.
Recalling his early days as an up-and-coming actor trying to navigate the studio lot for auditions and casting meetings, Quinto noted the rich history of Paramount's lot, which it has occupied since 1926. "This studio is built on its own history, and the buildings and the streets here reflect that," he said. "They were always my kind of beacons, not only to find my way to the casting directors, but they were also my beacons of like where I came from and where I wanted to go.
"When I got this role, I never imagined how my life would change," Quinto continued, "not only because of a creative experience, but even more because of the personal experience and the relationship that I forged with Leonard, and the relationship that he fostered and nurtured in the last eight years of his life, when I was so fortunate enough to be a part of it. Now that he's gone, I feel even more grateful that that relationship has led me to a relationship with his family. I love them like my own, and they've been so incredible and carry on his spirit in such beautiful ways.
"This is just such an incredible moment, because I know that so many other actors in the future are going to be stumbling their way around this lot, and Leonard will guide them in the way that he guided me."
The new Leonard Nimoy Way was formerly known as 12th Street in the northwest-most portion of the current Paramount lot. Formerly Desilu Productions, founded by television icons Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, this is where the company's 1960s-era TV series, including producer Gene Roddenberry's "Star Trek," were filmed.
Prior to his passing, Nimoy had reprised the role of the elder incarnation of Spock in the two Abrams-produced and -directed outings, 2009's "Star Trek" and 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness." Earlier in the evening's program -- which also including a clip montage honoring Nimoy's five decades playing Spock -- Quinto responded to an audience question about filming "Star Trek Beyond" without the venerable Vulcan's presence.
"What was it like to make this the first movie without Leonard? In a way, I feel like he's actually almost more a part of this film than he was of the other two," Quinto answered. "We all were so cognizant of his absence, but I think in the face of that, we all held him in our hearts so much more fully."
"Everybody showed up to work in the spirit of celebrating his life and his indelible contribution to this franchise," he added. "Because, honestly, I don't really see how it could have lasted as long as it did without him -- both as an actor and as a director.
"[It] obviously comes with a lot of sadness, and we all miss him all the time," Quinto concluded. "But I feel like you'll see -- he's there. He's there, in a really powerful way."