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Peter Leonard (journalist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Peter Leonard
Peter Leonard attending the 75th birthday celebrations for Canberra radio station 2CA on 14 November 2006
Peter Antony Leonard

(1942-02-21)21 February 1942
Died23 September 2008(2008-09-23) (aged 66)
OccupationJournalist, newsreader
Spouse(s)Gwen Leonard

Peter Antony Leonard (21 February 1942 – 23 September 2008) was an Australian journalist and newsreader. He was born in Yass, New South Wales, the son of a Greek immigrant father who died when Peter was 17.[1] He was educated at Yass Primary School then at Canberra Grammar School as a boarder. The family moved to Canberra in 1956.[2]

Leonard had a number of jobs over his 45-year career history, commencing it at Canberra radio station 2CA in 1962, initially as a cadet copywriter[1] and later as an announcer and newsreader. He moved to ABC Canberra in 1982 as a radio newsreader and later television newsreader and weather presenter.[3] However, in his most recognisable role, Leonard presented WIN News in Canberra from 1991 until 20 July 2007.[4]

From 1970 to 1988 he was also the media director for the National Capital Development Commission.[2] From 1993 to 2003 he was head of national communications for the Pharmacy Guild.[5]

He was an active participant in several charitable organisations. From 1989 to 1998 he was on the board of the ACT Cancer Council and also served on the board of the ACT Multiple Sclerosis Society.[5] He became Honorary Ambassador for Canberra and the Canberra Citizen of the Year for 1991 in recognition of his community service and charity work.[3][5][6]

In December 2007 he won the Chief Minister-Public Relations Institute of Australia (ACT Division) Award for Community Media. He was the first individual to receive the award.[6]

Leonard was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2008[3] and died on 23 September 2008, aged 66. He was survived by his wife Gwen, children Matthew, Nathan and Natasha and grandchildren, Rachel, Phoebe, Sarah, Madeline, Nicholas and Thomas.

The funeral service for Peter Leonard was held on 29 September 2008, at All Saints Church of England, Ainslie. Family, friends and colleagues were among those in attendance.

It was announced (at the funeral service) in September 2008 that a journalism scholarship funded by the ACT Government and WIN-TV would be named in his honour.[7]

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  • ✪ Leonard Nimoy and Michael Medved at Hillsdale College
  • ✪ P. D. Ouspensky and the Gurdjieff Work with Gary Lachman
  • ✪ The Left, the Right and the Righteous | Full Debate | Sophie Walker, Peter Hitchens, Chris Bryant


Michael: That makes me feel just great. I really thank you very much. One of the reasons I volunteered to do this introduction is because of my admiration and my respect for the person I'm about to introduce. I'm not going to tell you anything about Leonard Nimoy, the actor. I think you all know something about that. What I am going to tell you are some things that you may not know; that in addition to his acting, Mr. Nimoy is an author and a poet. He's the author of 6 books, including 5 books of poetry, books of his photograph. He's a professional photographer as well. You also may have missed his hit album which was entitled "Leonard Nimoy Sings Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space" which sold over 130,000 copies, so he's also a musician. He's also, aside from Star Trek which everybody knows about, a very distinguished stage actor who's done very well as Sherlock Holmes. He had a 1-man show that was very widely respected, a show on Vincent, a show about a different type of hero. Leonard Nimoy is also, and this was most surprising to me at all, a grandfather. He has a 3 and 1/2-year-old grandchild. He has 2 children in their 30s. I should tell you that the buzz in Hollywood is and has been on Leonard Nimoy for some years, that when it comes to someone who gives his time to a variety of charities, goes out of his way to help people, is a gentleman in his work, Mr. Nimoy is exemplar. He has the kind of reputation that every actor or actress or every director would like to have but very few of them do. Most importantly of all, and I think the main reason that Mr. Nimoy is with us tonight, is because he is, aside from his acting background, an outstanding filmmaker. Just look at his last 3 films and his range as a director. Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home for which we just saw the trailer is, in my humble opinion … and look, I'm a movie critic. I have to have opinions. I have to give them to you, right? Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home is by far the best Star Trek of the series and one of the best science fiction adventure movies, I think, that has come out in this decade. Then he made Three Men and a Baby, which is one of the most commercially successful films and a completely different type of film, very few special effects … unless you include the baby urinating as a special effect… very few special effects and yet a charming comedy, a delightful comedy, that was a huge smash hit, the most successful movie of 1987. Then his most recent film which is a film for which I feel a particular passion, is a film called The Good Mother. I will tell you that long before I knew that I was going to have the privilege of sharing this podium with Mr. Nimoy here at Hillsdale, I was very proud to list The Good Mother on my Best of Year List for 1988. It's a film that deserved a much larger audience than it received, a film that is as different from Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home as that film is from Three Men as a Baby. Here's a man as a director who has shown that he can direct science fiction adventure, an action, who has shown that he can direct light comedy and has shown a tremendous facility for directing a drama that raises some of the most important issues of love and parenting and some of the difficulties of a single mother in dealing with sexuality, and with that sexuality potentially interfering with her role as a mother. I was very proud of the fact that … Once again, long before I knew that I was going to be appearing with Mr. Nimoy here at Hillsdale, I said on the air that I thought that Diane Keaton's performance under Leonard Nimoy's direction in The Good Mother was the best performance that any actress gave in 1988. I still believe that. I think it's a shame she was not nominated for an Academy Award and, frankly, it's a shame that Mr. Nimoy wasn't nominated for the Academy Award he deserved as one of the best directors of the year. Having said that, we have lots to talk about concerning his films, the issues that they raised, and the entire question of Hollywood and its role within the popular culture. To proceed to those questions, it is a very great honor to introduce a multitalented and very gracious gentleman, Mr. Leonard Nimoy. Michael: You're supposed to take this chair right here. Leonard: Thank you. Thank you. Michael: I think this counts as a friendly crowd. Leonard: I would say so. Yeah. Michael: Let me begin, if I may, at a difficult point, which is I know that The Good Mother is just out on video now and is doing very well on video and you … It's number 10 apparently on the Los Angeles Times Video Chart. When it opened in theaters, it was not a commercial success. Leonard: No. True. Michael: One of the things that I think some critics, not this critic, complained about in the film was the fact that despite that trailer which is somewhat misleading, you didn't seem to really take a side on behalf of the Diane Keaton character who was fighting for the custody of her child that you seem to leave some of the questions open. The question that I would have is would you say that that was an accurate description of what you were doing in the film? Having said that, would you do anything differently if you have the film to direct again? Leonard: Let me say that the audience response or the lack of audience for the film was a major disappointment, a surprise to many of us including the marketing people at Disney. When we were making the film, it was understood that it would be a film that had to be nurtured in the marketplace, that we … you couldn't just toss it out there in several hundred theaters and expect people to flock to see it because it's somewhat an unusual film. We were hoping for critical and audience reaction to build gradually to an awareness of the picture and that would hopefully draw in audience. By the time the picture was ready for release, the Disney marketing people were convinced that this procedure was not necessary, that there was enough anticipation for the film, enough of a “want to see” quotient, for the picture, that they could as they say broad and open into something like 800 or 900 theaters, and we're … we hit a disaster. We hit a brick wall when we opened it. I think the first weekend we did maybe a third, 25% of the business they had hoped to do. By the end of the first 10 days, it was obvious the film was finished and was coming out of the theater. I am still today reviewing some of the decisions we made including content, the way the film was made, including what's in the movie. It would probably be easy and comfortable in the hindsight to say now that I might want to change some things for the sake of satisfying audience, but I know … I really don't think I would. I don't think I would. I set out to make the picture in a way which would give an audience an opportunity to respond to it based on their own prejudices, if you will, and I think that that is still operative. I think the picture does that. The picture is kind of a Rorschach test, in a way, and it has to do with each individual member of the audience's feelings about what is proper, what is correct, what is morally right, what is morally wrong, ethically right, ethically wrong in raising children and in making decisions about parenting and family. These are very, very sensitive issues and I … What I'm surprised to find, what surprised me, is that there is that do people come out in discuss from their own points of view what happened in the film and what … how they feel about that and on both sides of the issue, that feeling that either that justice was done or justice was not done. That we expected. What happens is that if they … I find that if the film doesn't satisfy individual needs in terms of the way they felt the story should go, they're not angry with the society that creates that condition, they're not angry with the judicial system which creates that condition, they're angry at the film. You see? Michael: It’s easier to be angry at the film? Leonard: Yes. That I find very, very interesting and that surprised me. That really caught me by surprise. I thought we are doing a story about a particular lady. We are doing a story about a particular situation and we have established her character and we understand the dilemma in which she finds herself and we understand the reasons for it. They're all very clear. Now, when things go wrong, the audience would be much happier if Diane Keaton's character could function differently than she does but she can't because that is her character. That is her nature. The audience would like to see her … In this case, she loses custody of her child. The audience would like to see her do or try to do something about it even though it's futile to rise to the occasion as a heroine. This is not a heroic person. This is a lady who doesn't come visually and a particular lady with a particular background from a particular family. The message that I'm getting is that the audience is saying, "Don't put us in that position. Don’t put us in a position where we must experience with this lady this problem and not be able to do anything about it, even try even though futile to do something about it." That surprises me and if one were to go back and remake this movie in order to make it commercially acceptable and successful, I think you'd have to do that. Michael: What you're talking about is people used to talk years ago about the Hollywood ending that you would turn everything around even tragic material, and I should say this is a heartbreaking movie to watch. It is … For those who haven't seen it and everybody who hasn't seen it, go rent it on videocassette. It really is worth renting. It's a terrific film. One of the things about it is it takes you from absolute luminous romantic high. There's a snap in the middle of the movie where it's almost nightmarish, and yet you realize that it's mistakes that the heroine has made, some carelessness that she's done. It's not something that comes out of left field that is based on character which is the best kind of drama, of course. With all that, do you suspect that if you would change the novel, and it was based on a bestselling novel, and you would give in the film "the happy ending" that everybody wanted where Diane Keaton is reunited with her little girl that the film would have had the commercial success? Leonard: I had no question about it. No question about it. Michael: Yet you're saying that if you had it to do over, you wouldn't make that change? Leonard: No. That film wouldn't interest me. At this particular point in time, that film was not interest me. I did it because I felt the film was complex. I thought it was challenging and unusual and those are the reasons that I chose to do the picture. There were actresses who refused to play the role for the very reason we're talking about, because they did not have the opportunity to rise to the heroic occasion at the end and win out. I give Diane Keaton a lot of credit. She's … If you look back at the body of her work, it is filled with complex characters, characters of humanity and ambiguity and frailties and … Diane is not an actress who goes into a film worrying about what the audience are going to think of her. She's only concerned about what is necessary to serve the character in the film. If you think less of her at the end of the movie because she's … because you associated her with this character, so be it but that to me is artistry. Michael: What a great performance. The question … and this raises a larger question and you'll pardon me for getting into this right away … which is who … to whom is your highest obligation as a filmmaker? Do you visualize it … Is it to your collaborators, is it to the novelist whose work you're adapting or is it to the audience that you're attempting to reach? Leonard: I don't think … I think you've left out a key ingredient and that is the studio that pays for it. Michael: That's what's a few million dollars between friends, right? Leonard: It is. It is actually their movie. It's their film. They own it and they commissioned you to make it. Before you set out to make it, you're going to have some pretty intense conversation with them about what this film is going to be about, how you see the film, how … what is your perception of this movie? In this particular case as you can imagine, it being a Touchstone movie and I think their first that was not of the Three Men and a Baby commercial type, they were particularly interested and concerned in what I had to say about how … what … how I saw the film. It is to their credit that they never once said, "Let's soften this ending. Let's not go out on this painful note. We're essentially doing a tragic story here." They never once asked me to avoid that or change that or mitigating that in any way. In that sense, at least in the sense that you have a conversation with them before you start to make the picture, then you owe it to them to try to hue to that concept. Then after that, the process takes over. You're in the process now and your responsibility is to your actors, the script, the writers, and particularly to yourself to try to see through the … you … for me, to give the film something personal so that it is not simply a film that anyone else could have done. It … I'm trying to read through some kind of personal touch into these films, to remake some kind of a personal investment, and the audience is always in mind. If I'm doing a comedy, I want to hear laughter. I want that audience laughing at it. If they're not laughing, then I failed myself, I failed the audience, I failed the whole project. In the Three … In The Good Mother, if they're not touched, I have failed. Now it's interesting that you asked about the novelist. I had lengthy conversations with her, Sue Miller, who wrote the novels, who's a bestselling novel, and essentially the film follows the path of the novel. The novel was much more dense and detailed which we … you don’t have time to serve in the film. I think essentially the film is truly not what … I don't think she's seen the film yet and I can understand why. I had lengthy conversations with her during the preparation and one final conversation the day we started filming in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she lives and she came on the set to visit, and on that day, I said to her, "This must be a strange experience to you. Novelist, successful first time, first novel, now being made into a film and you really have nothing to do with it in a way." She didn’t write the script and she's not participating into making the film, "It must seem that it is sailing away from you." She said that she had come to terms with it and she told me an interesting story. She said that a good friend of hers had written Ironweed and a screenplay and she said he invited her and her husband to see the film at a previous screening and they were very disappointed in the film. The novelist-screenwriter thought the film was wonderful. Of course, he was a novelist and a screenwriter and he was very subjectively involved. She said what she discovered was that he doesn't know anything about making a movie. He knew how to write the novel but he's not a filmmaker and the film had no tension, no design, no form, no shape. It was formless. It was … Anyway, she said, "You people know how to make movies. I don't know anything about it. You go and make the movie," and when the movie was finished and I invited her to come to see it, she said, "I won't be able to see it for a long time to come." She said, "I certainly won't be able to able to see it with you in the room," because she said, "The last thing in the world I want to do is when the lights come up, have to face you and tell you what I thought of it." She separated herself which was very comfortable for me but, yes, she would just … finally to answer your question, yes, I was trying to satisfy her as well. Michael: Speaking of you being in the room when she saw the film, that's one thing you always wondered about. You've had the experience of this phenomenally successful film, "Three Men and a Baby" which I think is your first film directed in which you didn't appear as an actor, first feature film as what … Leonard: That's right. Michael: With that film, was there one moment or one screening when you saw it for the first time with an audience and you realized, "Wait a minute, this is going to hit," what was that like? What was … Leonard: Yes. I have a house in Lake Tahoe in Nevada and the picture had shot well. We had finished a little bit ahead of schedule and we had saved some money and I asked the studio … Normally, you would negotiate for this in advance but I said, "I would like very much to take the editors with me and go to Incline Village, Nevada for a month and edit there. We'll rent some space and create some editing facilities and if you would truck some stuff. I have a house up there. I think it would be helpful to all of us." It costs them some money and you would say they didn't need … they didn't owe me, but they said, "Yes, go and do that." We spent a month at the end of which time we had a cut and we put together some temporary music tracks and so forth and we brought in a projector, a projection system. For the dual system, it's complicated. You have … at that point, you don't have the film composited with the soundtracks so you can't just put at your local movie houses, take around the machine. We brought in the necessary equipment. We announced too in the village, the Incline Village, there would be a sneak preview of a film this coming Friday night or whatever, and the place was full, 400 or 500 people. There were lengthy periods of time where you could not hear the dialogue because there was so much laughter and people recognized me afterward and were saying things like, "Thanks … This was key. Thanks for making me feel so good." I knew that we had a potential monster on our hands. People would want to come out of a movie feeling good. Michael: Yes, they do. Leonard: That's part of the process. Michael: Speaking about that, this afternoon, one of the things we're talking about, we're talking about Three Men and a Baby in the context of a series of movies that seemed to come out in 1987 that sort of returned America to its fascination and love affair with children which hadn't been seen in movies for a long time. Were you conscious when you were making a film of being part of that? Was that on your mind? Leonard: Yes or no. I was … The irony of it is that I was most concerned and conscious of one other film which was starring Diane Keaton. Michael: Baby Boom? Leonard: Yes. When I saw it, I was very nervous for the first 10 to 15 minutes. I thought they're doing the same jokes. She's having troubles diapering this baby and so are her guys. Michael: It's funnier when guys do it. Leonard: Yes. That's true. Essentially, except for that very, very important difference, here was a lady who was unprepared … a person who was unprepared for in having to deal with an infant and so were our guys. I worried for the first 10 to 15 minutes. After that, Baby Boom really went off in a whole other direction and I realized that we had two uncanny different films and they were both successful. Baby Boom was successful. Michael: Yes, it was. Leonard: In fact, it was the success of Baby Boom for Diane that was very helpful in getting me to … helping me to convince Disney that I should use her in The Good Mother. Michael: Were you … I guess going back to this question, we've been talking a lot in the last 2 days when I'm in touch being with people here … Leonard: About the baby? Michael: … no, about values, about films and values. Leonard: Yes. Michael: There's no question that compared to a lot of the comedies that you've had earlier in the 80s and a lot of the films in general, that the values that one can take away from Three Men and a Baby were wholesome, reassuring, more traditional in terms of … was that a conscious aspect of your filmmaking at all? Leonard: Yes. It's interesting that you say more traditional because at the end of the film, you have a very non-traditional family structure. Michael: Yes, indeed. Leonard: You have three fathers and a mother and there's no marriage involved. Michael: Right, the mother is not involved with any of them apparently. Leonard: That's right. You have an entirely new kind of family unit. She says … When she says at the end they've invited her to move in, she says, "Do you have room?" and Selleck says, "I'll build you a room." It gets a big laugh. Everybody loves that. Very fresh, I thought, the ending in that sense. On the other hand, what I was shooting for, what I was trying for in the development of the script and the development of the characters was to deal with a Peter Pan Syndrome with these three guys who just didn't want to grow up and that's not particularly new. Michael: No. Leonard: I think they did it very well. The very concept … the concept of … the decisions of what they did, the choice of their careers, for example, Selleck was an architect who had always been building things as a kid and was building bigger things as an adult; Guttenberg was in cartoon line, literally playing with childish figures and childish ideas; and Ted Danson was functioning in a profession which we literally call playing. He was playing roles. They were all children in that respect and the structure was to put them in a position where they had to begin to feel some sense of responsibility to something other … someone other than themselves. I think we did well. Michael: Yes. Okay, baby. It's time to grow up. Leonard: Yes, exactly. Michael: Actually, we were talking about this also before. I know that you inherited this project, you had mentioned before. To what extent did you change, alter, revise the script? Leonard: A lot, a lot. The script was very French when I came on the job. The script had been developed under a French director. The lady, Coline Serreau, who had written and directed the French version was on the job for Disney to … not to write but to direct the American version. She had writers who were writing under her supervision who were doing as what essentially was a translation of the French film. It was very far in nature. The tone of it was foreign. The nature of the characters, I felt, was inaccessible. It might have been an enormous success but she left the project, I came on and I had to do something that I could get in touch with, so we changed very word of the script, just reconstructed the whole thing in a 5-week period. Michael: In 5 weeks? Leonard: Yeah. Michael: Good luck. Leonard: Yeah. Michael: It worked out. The … Two more questions about Three Men and a Baby. You'll pardon me, the one question that I had about … The one thing about the film that troubled me a little bit and it's something else that I spoke about earlier here, so I think in order to be honest, I should bring it up with you was the subplot about the drug deal. Leonard: It would never go away. I just couldn't get it to go away. Michael: You wanted it to go away? Leonard: We tried desperately to find any other scheme. One of the most agonizing problems that I had to deal with was to find a way to play a scene when 2 supposedly intelligent guys like Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg hand over a baby, an infant, to 2 characters who are drug dealers, who come and say, "Where's the package? Give us the package. We're here for the package." Yes. very difficult to pull off, I thought. There was no complaint about it. I wouldn't have believed if I said … I'd say, "Oh, no. We're not going to give the baby with these 2 obviously hoodlums." We got away with it. The audience's suspense of disbelief was enormous, enormous. Then we re-wrote for weeks during the shooting the picture, the whole exchange where they go finally to get rid of these guys who get them caught by the police. We had written in … under all kinds of circumstances including a basketball game with the 5 of them played and the drugs are in the basketball. It was … You wouldn't believe the permutations that this went through. It was … I just … I wanted to do it as quickly and as offhandedly as possible and be done with it. Michael: He … I guess the question and I don't want to beat this to death, but here is a … as close as Hollywood comes ever to a real … to a wholesome family comedy. It's really something you can take your Aunt Tilly to see and your grandmother and little kids and everybody. Here all of a sudden in the midst of this film is this subplot about criminals and drug dealing and it gets pretty tense at certain moments. Did it ever occur to you or other people involved in the picture, "Wait a minute. We don't need that. Why are we throwing …?" Leonard: It's not that we didn't need … we needed some kind of device. We needed a device where they mistakenly give the baby away and that's what we represented with it. Under the circumstances with all of the other facets of the film having to be changed, we just … we ended up having to live with it. It was the best we could do. We should have done better. We simply couldn't. Michael: It worked out okay? (laughs) Leonard: Yeah. Michael: The one last question about it, the famous scene … Leonard: It's interesting that you say that this is a wholesome film for which you can bring your Aunt Tilly. Stop and think about what that says about what's acceptable today in a movie. Here is a child born out of wedlock, and the father doesn't even know the child exists. The father comes home and says, "That's not my baby." Here comes the mother … and the mother has dropped the baby off on the doorstep without a face-to-face confrontation, you see, just drop that baby off and walk away. All things are kind of shocking if you look at them in terms of what's acceptable behavior. Michael: That's today. Do you know that today statistically 20% of all American babies … all American babies are born out of wedlock? Leonard: I'm not surprised with that statistic because during my research for The Good Mother, I discovered that something like 50% of the children in the United States today are in single-parent homes and growing. Michael: Last question about Three Men and a Baby to get us on a happier note, the famous scene where the three guys are singing "Goodnight Sweetheart," was that scripted? Was that your idea? Leonard: Yes. No, it was script- yes. No, it wasn't my idea. No, it was … I've forgotten whether it was in the original version or not but it was in the script that I inherited. Yes. I thought, "How corny." Leonard: We did it. No shame. Michael: Listen, we're talking about movies. It's not … Speaking of no shame, so just to cover so that we are doing justice to everything, to cover Star Trek for a moment. A vastly entertaining film, another very successful film with a message and the message being, to simplify it, "Save the whales." Leonard: Save the world. Michael: True. True. To what extent was that message important to you as a filmmaker while you were doing the picture? Leonard: That was very important. It was very important, but I wanted to … I wanted it to be a fun adventure. I didn't want to be hammering people over the head with a problem. We had done 2 pictures, Star Trek's 1 and 2 … or 3 pictures, Star Trek's 1, 2, and 3, all of which were pretty intense. There was a lot of dying. There was death and resurrection, if you will. Michael: They didn't get rid of Mr. Spock? Leonard: No. It was intense stuff and I thought it was really time to recapture some of the fun that we'd had making the series, which we'd had brought a little of in the 3 movies. I also wanted very much to do a film in which there was no particular nasty villain that … again, circumstances, lack of awareness, unconsciousness, whatever would create the problem. Given that we were going to do a time travel story and given also that we're coming back to earth now to find a solution to a problem that's taking place in the 21st Century, the question was what to come back for, what is it that's missing in the 21st Century that we need. I'd read a book called Biophilia written by a Harvard biologist in which he talked about the fact that by 1990, we will be losing something like 10,000 species per year off this planet, many of them never having even been recorded, discovered or recorded. Then when you start to lose species in that large a number, you have to be consumed with what they call the "Keystone Species Theory" which is that … It's like a house of cards. You can take a card away here, you can take a card away there and the house stands but eventually if you continue to take cards away, you will finally get to a card that was a keystone card and that card will cause … the loss of that card will cause others to collapse and others to collapse and so forth down the chain. The idea was that we would … we have hit a keystone and we now have … and the problem is developing in the 21st Century, we have to come back to the 20th Century to find that thing and solve the problem. You're going to come back for a mosquito. You're going to come back for a plant. None of those seemed particularly interesting visually cinematically. When I struck on the idea of the whales, not only the size and the grandeur of them, but also the mysterious song that they sing that has never really been quite explained. We don't know exactly why they do it. That led me to another interesting subject which always intrigues which is communication or failure in communication. I was just taken with the whole thing. I started doing a lot of research. I'd looked at a lot of films with whales and I'd contacted all the whale institution … but you see, my consciousness had already been raised by the Greenpeace people and I give them the credit. They're the ones who first put me in such the idea that people must do something about this. I was … I thought that it was great drama years ago when they got up in their rubber boats and planted themselves out in the ocean between the whales and the wedding ships and were in danger being harpooned. Boy, that's dramatic stuff. They made me conscious of this concern. Michael: Have you had any indication from either the Greenpeace people or anyone else about the film's impact and … Leonard: Yeah. Boy, I hear from them all the time, all the time. Michael: What do they tell you? Leonard: That there's a big awareness that I have … auditioning to raise consciousness. I was invited to Russia when the film was finished, let's see, about a year and a half ago. No, after the film was released ago, about a year and a half ago, I was invited to go to Russia to show the film in Moscow to help celebrate the event when the Russian government declared a ban on all commercial whaling. There was an awareness even there. Michael: The Soviets were quite late in declaring that ban too, I think, yes. Leonard: Yes. That's right. Michael: You haven't been invited to Japan which is still doing commercial whaling, right? Leonard: Yes. No, that's right. Michael: That's the next step. In terms of your work as a filmmaker and as an actor, are there certain kinds of issues, certain kinds of aspects of human life that you think movies, Hollywood does not handle well that simply don't lend themselves to effective treatment on screen? Leonard: I don’t know if I can answer your question directly. It does seem to me that because of the nature of what the film is and what the concerns are in making the film, particularly those concerns that I talked about with The Good Mother and the audience, that we too often find it useful to distort subject matter. I think Mississippi Burning is a big distortion. The picture was offered to me and I couldn’t do it. Michael: The picture with the Chris Gerolmo's … with the script, the drama script? Leonard: The job was offered. The Chris Gerolmo's script. Yeah. Michael: Wow. I didn't know. Leonard: The job was offered to me and I couldn't do it. Michael: Why couldn't you do it? Leonard: I really didn't think that my presentation of the film, my vision of the film was what the company and what the audience want. Michael: How would it have been different? Leonard: I just couldn’t do it. It would have been an entirely different movie, entirely different movie. Alan Parker who made the film has said that the only way the film could be made is the way he did it which is to make the film about white people doing the job and that admission in itself tells me there's a major distortion because that's not what the Civil Rights Movement was about. Now, given that statement, there is this ongoing discussion about should one make the movie then and, of course, a lot of people say yes because the film finally does say that repression is wrong, and that's a good thing. That's a good statement to make. I take issue with a television miniseries that was done called "Holocaust" a few years ago. I did not like it at all. I thought it trivialized. I thought it reduced to a pathetic level this gigantic event. There are others who said and I'm sure that there's a truth in it, that getting it on the air was important because there were millions and millions of people who would not even have been conscious of what the event … that the event took place or what it was all about or what was involved if they hadn't seen that miniseries and I'm sure that's true. You have to finally do these things on the most personal level. The question is how … will I feel comfortable spending the next 7 or 8 months of my life making that film and the answer was no, I don't think so because I would be unhappy about some of things that I would have to do to make the film work. Michael: Would I be … would it be accurate to describe your position or your decision to turn down that film which I had no idea about? Was that a political decision? Leonard: I would say it was of social decision. I suppose political but more social. I'm more concerned about doing justice to what the event … what eventually took place. I think we all know that the FBI was not that literally involved, that Diego Hugo was not that happy about having FBI and men go down there all, that his hand had to be forced to send the first FBI man down, and now the picture, they make it seem so simple. When they run through a problem, they go with a phone booth, they need 100 more men and the next day there are 100 more FBI men down. That simply was not the case. There were no blacks in the FBI as we know except for Hugo's … Michael: Driver? Leonard: … driver, his chauffeur. When they do bring down a black agent, he's a terrorist. He comes out with a razorblade and he's going to do terrible things to the mayor of the town if the mayor doesn't give him the information he needs. He becomes a vigilante. I just think it's a distortion of what's right. Michael: Just a couple more questions and then we'll turn it over with… Leonard: The picture was well done, and I mean that. It's very slick, good filmmaking and it pleases audiences because right wins out at the end of this. Michael: We have just a couple more questions and we'll turn this over to the panel. Is there a dream project that Leonard Nimoy as a filmmaker would like to do and has dreamed of doing but hasn't gotten together yet? Leonard: I wish there was because I'm in a position today and I don't know how much longer I'd be in that position to probably get it done. Michael: You could do whatever you want, sure. Leonard: Probably, probably. I really wish there was some very specific and wonderful dream project that I've had in many, many years and now finally I have the cache to get it made. The answer is no. I'm reading a lot of scripts. We read several scripts a week in the next … so they could be made into movies in the next 4, 6, 8, 10 months. I haven't made a choice yet. I have several projects as we say in development, 3 or 4 ideas of mine that are in development in various places and in various stages, any one of which could become a movie or any 2 or 3 of which could be made into movies in the next 2 or 3 years, but I don't have 1 dream all-time project. No. Michael: Let me ask a more general question then. Is there some overwhelming statement, some kind of social cause … Leonard: Not any one. No. Not any one. I'm at the mercy of what happens to me on a week-to-week basis, what I read on a week-to-week basis, what I'm exposed to, and for that reason, the development process, I find very painful and very difficult because on a given day, I may read about an idea or see or be told about an idea or experience something which I decide would I really want to make into a movie that's a terrific subject and important and worthwhile, worth making the investment and expending the energy, let's do it. You go to the studio and say, "Here it is and this," "Oh, yeah," and they see your passion and they see what you're after, they'll say, "Okay. We will put up the money and we'll get a script written on this subject." Now from that point on, it can take several months till the time you get the story laid out, you get the writer you want and he gets started on or she gets starting on the script, and in the meantime, you might go up and do another movie. While you're doing another movie, your life is changing drastically. You are … I am deeply affected by each movie I make. I have literally waken … awaken and find myself in tears as a result of a scene I'm shooting this week in a movie. I'm deeply affected by it. By the time that picture is finished, I'm a different person. I may be so different that I'm no longer at all interested in the subject that I just put into development 4 or 5 months ago. I may look at it and say, "Why didn't I want to do that? It's … that's over. That's done. I've touched on enough about in this film or whatever." It's a tricky process and I'm new to it. It's only been in the last 3 or 4 years that I've been involved with this particular kind of process and I'm learning as I go. Michael: Do you feel that on balance if you look at the body of work that's coming out of Hollywood that that work is having an elevating effect on American society, a negative effect or basically is just a relevant entertainment? I'm not trying to say choose one of the above, but how would you describe the impact? Leonard: I don't … I can't … Look, I try to be loyal to my industry and my friends in it. I cannot honestly say here tonight and say to you, "We are helping the world with our movies. We are bettering mankind with our movies. We are in touch with all the things that we should be giving with them and they will … that they're being dealt with." I can't say that. It's … On the other hand, it's too easy to Hollywood-bash. It's always been easy to Hollywood-bash and to blame Hollywood for our ills. I think there's a mutual problem here and I don't know how well I can express this tonight but let's see. I do believe that there's a mutuality of failure, that the audience is not demanding enough and … nor are the studios reaching high enough in terms of the products they want to deliver. I do believe that audiences do want to … not to be challenged but to be told what the problem is and to be shown a hero or heroine fixing it, dealing with it, so that in a sense they have a … they empathize. They have a catharsis. They go through the problem without having dealt with it themselves and come away feeling, "Wow, that's … I'm glad that problem is solved. I'm glad … " Michael: Yes, Spock and Kirk have. Leonard: Yeah. I'm glad they did that. Boy, I feel a lot better about that and it was fun and that kind of thing. I don't think any of us will rise to the occasion frankly. Michael: Do you … Of course and you're right about the audience. Do you feel that the values within our community, if I may say that, within the filmmaking community, within the creative community in the film industry, that those values accurately reflect or reflect in any way the values of society at large or they had variance somehow? Leonard: I think you have an extraordinary range. I think that there are some people in our industry who are simply want to hit the homerun ball every time up if possible and that means cookie-cutter kind of movies, formula movies, movies that do exactly what the audience wants them to do, and they will be repetitions of previous films. For example, after 48 Hrs. was success … I'll go back to Beverly Hills Cop, a more obvious choice. After Beverly Hills Cop was so successful, a black gritty Detroit cop comes to clean, sanitize Beverly Hills who worked with the police department there. Fish out of water story is what we call it in our business. I must have read a half dozen scripts of cops who are in the wrong city (laughs) including what's on my desk right now of a … 3 cops who are sheriffs and brothers in Texas who go to Monte Carlo. I could go on with variations on the scenes that are being made. These movies will be made. They've already been … they're being made all the time. Then you got the odd couple buddy cops like 48 Hrs. which was Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, people who really don't like each other but are forced to work with each other. Then a couple … Michael: Like Mississippi Burning? Leonard: That's right. Michael: Same movie? Leonard: Exactly, exactly. At the end comes a kind of a mutual respect, you see. They discover the values in each other. There's just a lot of that stuff going on and there are people who are going to make that stuff because it's … it can … it will be programmed that way. You will get out there and there'll be an audience who'll come to see those. There's very little risk in that kind of stuff. Michael: We were talking earlier today about the most frequently used machine in Hollywood obviously is a Xerox machine. That's it. Two final questions here. What do you … Leonard: To be fair, I didn't say that on the other end of the spectrum, there are people who are doing unique material and dangerous financially. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but there are people who are committed to that kind of work. Michael: If I may say so, I think The Good Mother is a very good example. It was not a film that was a safe commercial bet, by any means. Leonard: Yes, it was dangerous. Michael: Two last questions. Number 1, what do you think it is … you're doing what almost every actor or actress that I know wants to do, what you're doing right now. They would rather be directing, making movies, shaping movies. What do you think it is that it takes for an actor to make this transition as wonderfully successfully as you have done from acting in front of the camera to serving behind the camera? Leonard: In my case, I was a lot better prepared for the job than most people were aware. I had already made a sizeable investments in energy, time, study. I had done a lot of theatrical directing. I have been on sound stages for almost 40 years in one capacity or another, mostly acting, but I had been doing it. I had spent a lot of time in editing rooms on various projects, watching of film go together piece by piece from a footage that's been shot. I had thought acting classes for 5 years so I really was in touch with how to help an actor or an actress in a scene. I had a lot camera work. I had done a lot of my own camera work so I was very much in touch with lenses and composition and so forth. I was very well prepared. It takes a sense of theatricality. It takes a sense of the dynamic of how 1 scene forms another in film. It takes a sense of what to do when a scene is flat on a sound stage and nothing's happening. The actors are doing it but there's fun in, there's no drama, there's no tension in it. They've missed the point perhaps or perhaps the scene is badly written and needs to be rewritten. Some sense of the drama. For me history of drama helps because the roots are there whether it's in Beverly Hills Cop or whether it's an Oedipus Rex, the roots are there. Directing is a … For me, a great challenge because it draws on every skill, every sensibility, every bit of education you ever had in your life, drawing all of it. Michael: Final question and we turn it over to the panel group, give you a rough time I know. Is there one movie that you've seen recently that you looked at it and you said, "Gee, I wish I had taken that script. I wish that was a … that was a movie I wish I wo- had done or could have done." Anything that sticks in your mind? Leonard: You tend to go to the big hits. I'm jealous of Barry Levinson's work. I think he's a good filmmaker. Michael: He is. Leonard: I don’t know if Rain Man is his best but he certainly … successful in handling that material in terms of what the audience can take with that material. I think one can find flaws, one can find fault with the way that Dustin Hoffman character is use almost to the edge of exploitation, almost. His problem is almost exploited but the film is successful. It's good filmmaking. On the other hand I'm frankly disappointed on Mike Nichols. I think Working Girl is a good film. It's solid all the values there, but I think that Mike Nichols should do better somehow. I don’t think I'm as good a filmmaker ever will be in terms of social vision as a Mike Nichols because has been at it for so long and he has his own perception and somehow I don’t think there's anything unique with Mike Nichols about that movie. It's a successfully made put together film, good carpentry. I don’t know. I'd have to do some more thinking about the films that are out. I have not seen, I haven’t seen it so I don’t know. I have … I'm looking forward to that. People whose taste I respect tell me that is a very good picture. I don’t have a really good answer to your question. That's the best I can do at the moment. Michael: Let me conclude my section of this by saying that I know that you're always looking for material. I know that a very inspiring story that you may want to consider is the Hillsdale College Story which is full of … It's full of drama, it's full of controversy and full of heroes who win. Leonard: That's right. Michael: With that, having said that, let's turn it over to Mark and to the panel for … Mark: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Mark Evans. I'm moderating the panel this evening. I'm a composer and writer and I have a newspaper column in the New York City Tribune called Mark My Words. My colleagues on the panel this evening will include to my left, Chuck Moss, of the Detroit News. Next to him, Steve Advokat, staff writer for the Detroit Free Press, and finally, Jim Lyons of the Hillsdale Daily News. Michael, before going over to Mr. Nimoy, I might add that apropos your remark about the Xerox machine being the most used one in Hollywood, this has been going on for times even before this invention of Xerox. Dorothy Parker way back when said the only ism in Hollywood anyone cares about is plagiarism and some of that still true today. Mr. Nimoy, the name of this event, this conference is Popular Entertainment and its impact on society and one of the subjects that we've been pursuing is an interesting one the extent to which the values that appear in popular entertainment represents an influence on our society or a reflection of that society. There have been certainly cases, a study recently by the National Institute of Health thy suggested that television provides role models for both parents and children who acknowledge deriving much of their sense of values from the entertainment industry. We know that people are interested in what actors wear, how they behave in their personal lives and also the sense of right and wrong, the sense of meaning, the sense of moral worth that appear in films or lack of moral worth on occasion and there is a running debate going on. You mentioned those people who are cultural critics. Who place a lot of blame on Hollywood and on the entertainment industry, there are defenders of course of the industry who would say that the industry is merely reflecting that which already exist in society. Others would say that the industry is not just a mirror but it is in fact the primary stimulus and a prime mover. I've suggested on occasion I'd like to ask you to comment on this. That in fact both realities are in to a certain extent true. That the industry certainly is a tremendous influence on society but also given a period when family has declined and there is something of a vacuum in our society for other reasons people within in the industry are also a part of our society and reflect the values that are evolving within it. I'd like to ask you how you see a question of Hollywood and the entertainment industry has either a stimulus or as a reflector and whether you feel that your view, I'll ask this in 2 parts, your view and whether you feel that your view is shared by the money people, the executives, the governing board if you, decide what pictures are made, which networks are going to produce which products. That's essentially the essence of the conference in which we've been engaged and we would appreciate very much you sharing us your view of that. Leonard: I think you're right. I think it operates in both directions. I think life imitates art and art imitates life. There's no easy answer here. I'm sure we must all accept that. You can discuss but there is no easy answer. One of the reasons that there's no easy answer is because Hollywood is not one mind nor is television even one mind or motion picture's one mind. There's a very wide range of taste, attitudes, needs, perceptions and so forth. I have a project which I've brought to one of the networks about 2 years ago and they agreed that they would develop and go ahead with it. We have a script. I was just told about 2 weeks ago that they've decided they don’t want to do this project and I'm not frankly not sure why. It is of a kind subject matter. I don’t want too much detail about it, but I did, having let out the word to some people I'm connected with that this project is now available. I'm no longer connected with that particular network. The word comes back to me that network X is interested in doing some good stuff meaning something of social importance, quality. That makes a statement about … that I think speaks to some of these issues. What is said is that network Y has chosen not to but network X is interested in that right now. Network Y may feel they've enough good stuff this year and now they're looking for something like a Naked Lies starring James Farentino and a girl who plays a hooker. I watch about 5 minutes of that about 10 days ago. I was amazed. I don’t watch that kind of stuff. I don’t have time frankly. It's not a question of taste. I don’t have the time, because I do have this television project I wonder what they're buying, what are they doing. In the first 3 or 4 minutes I see a judge played by James Farentino involved with a prostitute played by Victoria Principal and down to his G-string I was amazed at the semi nudity, not to his G-string. In walks a guy with a camera start shooting pictures, out comes a gun and the next thing you know somebody's dead and the judge is … Great exposition done, "Bang. Bang. Bang." You got a judge in front with a prostitute being brought and somebody's dead. Mark: All the elements. Leonard: Yeah. Right. It's like 3 minutes and I got that much of the story out. it was amazing storytelling. There's that kind of taste. They'll probably get very big numbers doing that kind of thing. Why is that? Who wants to see … There must be people who want to see that stuff. On the other hand, last night I watch for quite a while the TV piece about the development of the bomb and I don’t know it was sensationalize or trivialized at all. There was remarkably in-depth study of all these characters and their motivations and the politics of the case and the science of the case. We're looking at a very wide range of stuff and I can't tell you, I'm not an authority on what the numbers were last night as compared to Naked Lie with James Farentino, I don’t know. One would hope that there are a lot of people watching last night and really interested but I can't guarantee that. There are a lot of different kinds of work being done for a lot of different reasons and at a different time and I do believe that there are times when you can go to a network and say, "I have an idea and I can … I can show why this idea has merit on basis of the numbers because X number of millions of people are involved in this kind of activity and this is the film about that activity so they will be interested." And that wasn’t bad on the one hand. On the other hand, there may be some new idea that is bubbling on the edge of social consciousness that you could take to a network or to a studio and they might say, "Yeah, you're right. I think that's an idea whose time is coming. Perhaps it's not yet come but it's coming. Let's investigate that. Let's explore to do it." I think there are all kinds. I think the individual finally has to decide for him or herself which way do I want to go? Why am I in this thing? Michael: I think one of the interesting things to observe here, you'll pardon me, is that the series that Mr. Nimoy is talking about, about the development of the atomic bomb was produced by Aaron Spelling who has given the world Charlie's Angels, the Love Boat and other important contributions to western civilization in the past. Sometimes, quality product from surprising and unexpected sources. Speaker 4: Mr. Nimoy, I'm going to drop the dirty boot and mention the science fiction angle, hopefully, without inducing you to jump off the podium and begin throttling me. I'm 35 years old, I remember growing up in the 50s and 60s and one of the staples of popular culture was the world of the future was this confident bright happy future a better world which we would inevitably create generally by this far future date of around 1979. Now, here it is. It's 1989. This must be the world of future and yet as you said, "Here we are and all the … all the audience seems to want is reassurance." As you said, "Certainty." You want the good mother to confront the situation and win or fight nobly. The audience it all seemed to be any images anymore of a confident better world, at least I don’t see very many of them, even in the Star Trek extrapolation, it's kind of fear of ecological disaster. My question is, what does that say about the condition of the country or the mentally of people today that instead of a confident vision of where we're going, people want reassurance. Leonard: We've been through some devastating times I think as a civilization in the last couple of decades. I think we've been shown the frailty of the society and the planet and I think we're looking for some kind of reassurance that both will survive. When I was in the research that I did for Star Trek 4, I talked to a lot of scientist about their concerns or expectations or hopes for immediate future. What exciting breakthroughs you think might happen in the next 10 or 15 years? What great problems do you foresee in the next 10 or 15 years? I had a wide range of answers including a very highly respected scientist who told me that he expects that we will make contact with another intelligence by the end of the century and I was quite startled by that and he's very serious about it. I wonder whether that's good or bad. I don’t know how we'll handle that. Speaker 4: Do you think they're getting our television up there? Leonard: I don’t know. My point is this, that science is a concern for example that there is a feeling that things aren’t good with the planet. There's a sense that we cannot deal with all of the problems simultaneously that therefore there's a question of priority that there's the politics of the situation and the economics of the situation that the politicians have to decide at some point, yes, there's enough … I have enough of a mandate from my constituents that they want that fixed. They want that problem stopped and if we announced that we're going to spend a lot of money to fix it, my people will go for it because they feel we've gone as far down the road that we can with this. The scientist are concerned in a given day a problem that they have been talking about, complaining about, concern about will reach a point, will reach that point where the citizenry says, "Fix it." The politicians will say, "Right." And they’ll turn to the scientists and say, "Fix it." The scientists have to say, "We can't anymore. It's gone too far. We don’t have the means right now. We can start working with the money you gave or whatever." You get the point that the prioritizing of our concerns has become a concern and there is a sense of uneasiness. You're reading the newspaper suddenly that there's a ozone problem. That the layer is disappearing rapidly and now there's a report that there's a major international conference which says, "Yes. We agree. Let's fix it." It feels like a band-aid to me like just in time, just before the patient gets seriously ill and perhaps unredeemable ill. I personally feel that way. I have that concern. I don’t have that sense of, "Oh, boy. We can do anything." Having lost a war for the first time, I think our citizens feel less than unbeatable obviously. These are concerns that I think have affected all of us and maybe in all fairness to our society that's why we want to be told, "Hey, everything's okay. Go see a movie. Enjoy yourself and watch they'll probably be fixed. Go home feeling better. Don’t take the problem along with you, we'll fix it at the theater for you." Speaker 4: the 1930s. Leonard: Yeah. Exactly. It is historical that when times are bad films do well particularly escapist films, when people have problems they want to go see a movie and be made to feel good. Speaker 5: Good evening Mr. Nimoy. Leonard: Have I depressed all of you? Speaker 5: There was a woman recently from a Detroit suburb sat down with her 3 young children who watched Married with Children was incensed by it Leonard: I have to plead ignorance because I have never seen this show but go ahead. Speaker 5: It's about. She sent her children out and she watched it and it's an adult comedy on the Fox Network and she thought of the one woman led a writing campaign to get that show and others that she finds objectionable off the air. Last year Martin Scorsese has released a film about Jesus Christ that offended many people who picketed the film throughout its theatrical run. My question is, how do you balance making projects which on the one hand may offend people with at the same time trying to raise consciousness? Are there any topics that Hollywood just should not touch? Leonard: No. I don’t think so. I don’t think there's any topic that should be taboo, censored, you don’t talk about that or deal with it. Particularly in television and films the individual has the right not to buy a ticket, not to go see it, turn in to another channel and I believe that. I think it's an easy out and I think some people take it as an easy out but I think it happens to be true. You don’t have to buy that book. You don’t have to read that book. You don’t have to watch that TV show. The question is at what point do you have the right to prevent others from seeing, hearing, experiencing that thing that you find objectionable? Society sets standards and there are community standards as well and in some communities the standards are different than others. I think that's valid. You establish a community where you chose your community, you're entitled to have some sense of expectations on what the experience is going to be within that community and if you don’t like it, you move it to another community but … We're still a democracy and must be and I think that's important that somebody have the right speak out on an issue as they see fit and nobody has to listen if they don’t want to. It's difficult, I sympathize with both sides but I finally come down with the side of they must allowed to do it. That's my sense of it. Michael: Follow up question on that. Would you be interested if someone approached you to direct the movie version of the Satanic Verses? Leonard: I don’t think so. That's a sad terrible problem. Michael: It's terrible. That's awful, yeah, but … Leonard: Terrible problem. No. The answer is no. Michael: Because of concerns for your own safety or because of concerns for … Leonard: I'd say the first place I haven’t read it and when I do read it, if I do, it's going to take me quite a while to understand what it means to those people who are offended by it. I may have … I will have an entirely different reactions to it than they and I will have to … I would have to make an intense investigation of what concerns them before I … in order to make an intelligent decision about whether or not to do it. Interesting way if I may say so. I find it fascinating that Mississippi Burning was made by an Englishman, Alan Parker. I don’t know where he was in the 60s. I was here, you see. I don’t know where he was and maybe that's the way it had to happen. Somebody who was from thousands of miles away and from a different society, different … was not emotional involved, subjective and physically involved, maybe he could make it, I couldn’t. Michael: Well see, my rather flipping question is getting into an important point. You would then agree that there are certain kinds of material that would be so deeply offensive to some people that you would decline to participate? Leonard: Why did he rush to write it? That's the question. Michael: Well that's his prob- I mean I'm not sure. Leonard: If it is his problem, yes, you're right. Michael: Major problem. Leonard: It is a problem but what I'm saying is that maybe there's some passionate filmmaker who believes in that particular piece of material. You have the right … I think … I'm really speaking out of ignorance here, I haven’t read the material and I don’t know … obviously some people are deeply, deeply offended by it. Michael: I would say so. Leonard: Including Cat Stevens, but, there's an interesting incident in LA, have you heard about it? Leonard: About Jeff Edwards, you know about that? Michael: Yes. Leonard: There's a TV-radio personality in LA on a particular radio station who is one of this garbage kind of guys who in order to get some heat going has decided that he was going to have all his listeners send in their Cat Stevens records and they would burn all this material and there was going to be a public burning of Cat Stevens record because Cat Stevens agreed that that Rushti should die and one of his colleagues on the station has a talk show and on that colleague's talk show there was a promo for this other talk show host record burning and his colleague Jeff Edwards refused to have it aired on his spot because he said that's terrorism and I won't have it. I won't promote his burning of records even though I agree that Cat Stevens is wrong. He had to leave the station. Gave up his job at the station. Well that's a question of personal choice. Jim: Jim Lyons from the Daily News. Thank you for coming tonight by the way. Now we used to sit down with Catholics a little bit in this country. We used not see their way as a general population. There was the wasp view. Now, we are seeing that we have a very mixed country and Rushti is a good case of it. we are not looking at his book from the point of view of a man who is breaking away from his religion as many people have done here in the United States. I was wondering, we were talking earlier and I was listening to these guys this big important news men that we've got Clint Eastwood and we've got all of the white male leads who do fantastic things, never get shot or if they do they struggle through, but we just don’t seem to be able to produce a hero or a real survivor for many other race. It seems we've narrowed our point of view through television. I don’t know … and through movies. Michael: I'm sorry to jump in. What would you call Eddie Murphy? What would you call Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon? Jim: I think we've integrated in a lot of ways but I also think a lot of it has been token. I think Eddie Murphy just loves to … He's a different character. He's always enjoyed that playing with the white guys head. Michael: Does pretty well with it. Jim: Yeah. Leonard: I think the answer is … I'm not sure you're absolutely accurate really. I understand the question. The question has validity but I'm not sure it is really, really true. I think, again, it feels like those guys out there can't do anything but make a white man hero. I'm not sure that's entirely true. I'm very curious about this. I've just received a project, an offer of a project called Judge D. There in Chinese history a very famous judge who was a kind of a Sherlock Holmes detective on his own, who went out and investigated his own cases. Very famous in Chinese history and there was been some books written about him and I have been submitted this project and I say to myself … Either acting or direct. I said to myself, "Do we … Do we want to see a Chinese judge in China in the period 1600s or whatever investigating cases?" I think the answer is if it's well done, yes, but one has to stop and wonder. I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to that question. I do think that we've had … There are exceptions to your rule though. Not a lot, but there are some. Michael: That raises another interesting question. You've obviously played people from another planet, a person from another planet, would you feel … You were offered this to act in, would you feel comfortable doing a makeup transition in playing an Asian … Leonard: Physically comfortable, no. I wouldn’t. Michael: But would you feel comfortable as a … Leonard: It's a good question. Michael: … a white person impersonating an Asian person? Leonard: Good question. There is also a project called Black Elk Speaks. With Black Elk is … I'm just getting to know a very revered figure in Indian history. He is … He was a religious leader of the Indian people and there's a play called Black Elk Speaks and there was a script for a film called Black Elk Speaks and have been asked to play the lead and I had this intense discussion with the people who brought it to me who claimed to speak for the Sioux Nation. Who claimed the Sioux Nation said, "Yes. If he plays it that will sit well with us." He's saying. Now, I find that very flattering but I don’t feel too terrific about it. I have played Indian. I don’t know if this audience is aware. I played Indian. I played Indians in Gun Smoke, in Wagon Train, in a number of television westerns and even in some films. Up until the early 60s and somebody raised my consciousness and said, "Hey, that's too terrific. You know there are Indians who are out there who'd like to have the job." Maybe do a better job of representing their raise than you are. As a matter fact, the very first job that I had as an Indian was in 19- Don’t laugh. Michael: I'm sorry. It's just in the phrase. My first job as an Indian. Leonard: Yes. It was in 1950. It was in a picture called the Old Overland Trail with Rex Allen, the Arizona Cowboy. His wonder horse Coco and the Indian was a savage Indian that I was asked to play and the reason I got the job was because it had been offered to Iron Eyes Cody, an Indian actor who refused to play it, and I got the job. I wasn’t thinking about, "Well, gee, I shouldn’t be playing nasty Indian." Michael: It's better than playing the wonder horse, Coco. Mark: We have an additional member of our panel who arrived a few minutes late will ask you, sir, please identify yourself and ask your question and that's not supposed to sound like a message that would be coming out of an congressional committee. You're welcome here. Mike: Mr. Nimoy, I'm Mike Rosenbaum from Detroit Jewish News. I want to get back to something you mentioned before about how deeply you were affected by the idea of directing certain scenes. Did you go through the same process as an actor and if not, why not? Leonard: Yes. I do go the same process as an actor. I tend to assimilate the condition that I'm dealing with. It tends to become part of me, I live with it. On one of these jobs you're on it maybe 12 hours a day physically, maybe 16, 18 hours a day mentally and I can't help to be affected by it. I'm in a much better mood when I'm doing comedy than I am doing when I'm doing tragedy. I was aware … Particularly, when we're making the Star Trek series where we went months at a time, many months at a time of shooting on the films which it's 10 weeks and you're done, but particularly on series I was conscious of the fact that on Saturdays I would still be in the Spock mode on a day off. Sunday afternoon I would start to relax a little bit, a little loose but on Saturdays I was still quite rigid and I was still doing Spock in my personal life, for better or worse. Michael: It must have been a lot of fun for your family. Leonard: No. Yes, it does happen to me. I get deeply immersed in the process, yeah. Mike: As a director, do you get immersed in the different characters maybe on different days depending what scene you're going to shoot or do you identify with one character? Leonard: No. As a director, I think my connection is with the overview. It's not with anyone particular character at any one time. It's with the sense what the nature of the material is. It's been widely reported I told a reported about it 3 or 4 months ago and it was widely printed that during the making of The Good Mother, I woke up one night in tears and grabbed for a piece of paper and a pencil and I wrote down 3 words and the words were it's about lost. I had gone through some very personal loses around that time not long before that and I suddenly realized that that was what this film was putting me in touch with, was my own sense of loss so … It was a very moving experience for me. On the other hand I felt good about the fact that I was so much in touch with the process and aware of the fact that I was in touched with the process. It's a creative life. Mark: I know that we have some questions from members of our audience. Again, we should remind you that we are videotaping this and in order to hear your question, we'll ask you to please raise your hand but wait until someone approaches you with the microphone. If you ask your question and no one is near you with the microphone, we won't be able to hear you or if we if we hear you, it won't be preserved for posterity on videotape. Please raise your hand and wait and someone will be over with a mic. Speaker 8: I'm curious about your feelings toward the Walt Disney company with respect to their rather unique image in Hollywood of … or to the public of high morals and ethics. Secondly, what is attributed to their great success in comparison to ... Leonard: The Disney Company. That's a multi-level question really. The people who are now managing the Disney Company, the people I deal with—current management, were the management of Paramount when we were making the first 3 Star Trek films there, Eisner and Katzenberg with the people who actually hired me to the direct Star Trek 3 and hired me to direct Star Trek 4. Then they left while we were making the Star Trek 4 and they became the management of Disney. They hired me to do Three Men and a Baby and The Good Mother. Now, they're extremely hardworking. You asked about their success. They're extremely hardworking. They're very bright. I think they have a great sense of audience, great sense of an audience. They are trying to broaden the nature of their product in films. The Good Mother was, I think, probably the first step in a direction to get away from a certain kind of movie, get away from ... and identification with a certain predictable kind of movie and a movie and some other kind of territory. Not successful unfortunately and I just hope it doesn't cause him to pull in their wings and go back to the more reliable kind of product. On another level, it's Michael Eisner who is now in charge of all the Disney Parks and so forth and that sort of thing. That's an incredibly successful, incredibly popular part of our culture and not just the American culture but the world culture. They're opening parks in France and with great success and Mickey Mouse has just been to China and Russia and being well received wherever it goes and it's an incredible thing to me to be around that. I went last week to Disneyland in Southern California because there was a program for the families of the Challenger Shuttle that was destroyed in an accident and they were being honored and may have started up an educational program in connection with the Challenger and they were there and had asked me to come and introduce them. I went through the park. I haven't been to the park at some time and I'm in awe of that kind of commonality of sensibility of entertainment, what people want to see, what people enjoy. There's no question about it. They have something that people want. They're in touch with something that people want and will flock to see. There's a magic about it that draws people like a magnet. Incredible. Walt Disney did have that sensibility, that sense of taste. Speaker 9: Considering the fact that Star Trek was cancelled and then went on syndication to become one of the most popular television series of all time and that we see more and more people turning to public television and videotapes and cable these days, do you think that the networks are doing justice to the American public in the context of an entertainment industry? Leonard: Help me. How do you put Star Trek in a context? Where does it fit in the question? Speaker 9: The fact that it gained such great popularity after it was cancelled. Leonard: I don't think they knew what we were. I don't think the network really understood what we were. I think the audience was ahead of the network. On the other hand, there were certain I think technical factors and historical factors that help Star Trek to become eventually the tremendous syndication success that it was. In 1966 when we went on the air, we had not yet put a man on the moon. We were cancelled in 1968 after 3 seasons. In 1969, you could walk out of doors of your house 1 evening as I did and look up at that planet up there and know that there was a human being standing on that planet for the first time. I think that really changed the American audience's perception of science fiction. I think it affect the Star Trek a lot. The other major factor and it was technical and perhaps we were more in touch with our time was around 1971, '72, the show was being syndicated and that meant that local stations could put it on at the time of their choosing, at the time that they felt that there was an audience for. When we were on the network, the stations couldn't do that. They had to put it on the hour of the network fed it and those hours were not well chosen. The network's taste for the show was not right. The very first step so they put on the air, they chose a creature episode which we gave some sense of what they were hoping for. They were hoping for a monster show. The show was anything but a monster series. We're out of sync with them right from the very start. I think eventually, the audience told the stations that they wanted to see the show and when they want to see the show and you could watch their show at Sunday afternoon at 3:00, Saturday morning at 9:00, every night at 6:00, that kind of ... Suddenly, the audience was there. Michael: While we're providing the next question with the microphone, just to make a brief comment about your question, you're absolutely correct that the networks are losing total share of the audience and it's going to cable into an independent stations into Fox but you also mentioned public television. Now, I work on public television. I host the show on public television. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view, our audience is not increasing. In fact, I think people have suggested very rightly that given the problems that Mr. Salman Rushdie has at the moment, if he wanted to hide out where no one would find him, he should host a weekly series on PBS, he'd be safe. John: I'm John Sherwood. I'm with the Battle Creek Enquirer. In view of the fact that you had somewhat criticized Mike Nichols for his failure to bring out a real social vision or what you perceived as his social vision in Working Girl, I wonder what your perception is of the duty of the individual artist be he director or actor to realize what he defines as a social consciousness within him so that the audience perceives it. How far must that go with each project? Is that his responsibility to choose such projects, for example? Leonard: Yes. Obviously, the ideal would be that every time that person gets up the bat, he hits the ball well. It doesn't work that way in baseball. It's not going to work that way in the arts either. Your greatest homerun hitter doesn't do it every time. There is a question of percentages involved. I don't know what the origin of that project was. I'm probably being unfair to Mr. Nichols for sitting here speaking ill of his work. I admire. The problem is I admire him so much. Here's a film that's perfectly workable, perfectly acceptable but I'm just ... I don't think it really gives us anything special or exciting about Mike Nichols's view of the world. Michael: Which of his films would you say do that? Leonard: Carnal Knowledge, for example and so many others. Let's face it. This is a formula movie. This is a female Rocky comes from across the river and comes into New York and makes it. I could have made it. Therefore, I say might do better because you're a better film making than I am, more experienced, wiser, more sophisticated than I am. It's an anomaly. It's just one of those things. He'll probably come up with a brilliant film next year and that would be that. He's done great work and I certainly don't want to denigrate his career based on this successful movie. He's made a successful film. Speaker 11: I'd like to ask your opinion on a subject that we've touched on a lot in the last 2 days. I'm going to use for an example, The Last Temptation of Christ. This is a ... obviously offends a lot of people but taking that totally not considering that at all the fact that it offends people, the people that I've talked to who have seen the movie everyone of them have told me that it's a totally boring movie in itself not to mention the fact that it did terrible in the Box Office. Now, what I want to know or is your opinion on why does Hollywood do movies like this with ... They have to have some idea that it's going to bomb when they're doing it. Leonard: I remember what I said before, the Hollywood is not a person. Hollywood did not do this movie. A certain particular group of people said, "Yes, we will give you the money." Others said no. That tells you immediately that Hollywood is not a person. It is not Hollywood that did the movie. Some men, some place who had the authority to say, "Yes, we'll do that movie," made a personal very human decision. That project was a Paramount and in pre-production with Paramount. They decided against going forward with it for whatever reason, they either they thought it was too controversial or too risky financially or whatever. Somebody in Paramount said, "No. We will not go forward with this." Martin Scorsese had that project in hand and begging for the money for some years and from a number of sources. It wasn't Hollywood that decided to make it. It was a human being on a given day made a decision. I'm sure that that person felt a number of things, that person or persons felt a number of things that Scorsese is a good film maker. Scorsese has a passion for this subject and that passion will probably be reflected in the film. The title is a well-known title. It was a successful book. They may very well be an audience that wants to see this film. Michael: I can add just a little bit to that because I've done quite a bit of research about this film and how ... We know from having heard me last night. The fact is that not only was that film at Paramount. It was not only turned down in Paramount. It was also turned down at Warner's and Universal greenlighted it, went ahead with the picture because Martin Scorsese was hot coming off Color of Money which was quite a successful film and they made it as part of a package deal. They wanted to get Scorsese's next 2 pictures and as a condition of getting those pictures of Scorsese, he the director insisted, "Well in that case, you got to give me $6 million and that's all they took to make Last Temptation." They did based upon the director and the idea of getting this package with him. Leonard: Let me just say this. I can understand why some people would be offended by that film and I can understand why some people would be bored by the film. I can understand other people saying that's a great piece of work and the man should have the right to do it. What troubles me is people condemning something that they have not had seen or read. That troubles me a lot. There was a lot of that on that film. People refusing to see it because they found it offensive. I don't understand that. Michael: Mr. Nimoy, I should tell you that last night when I spoke about the film, I asked if there was anyone in the audience who had seen Last Temptation of Christ, only 1 person raised his hand and he was wearing a Roman collar. It was a priest who was here on campus. Thought that was an interesting ... Leonard: Now understand me, if one chooses not to see it, that's one thing. If one chooses that others should not see it because I have not seen it but find it offensive. That troubles me. Speaker 12: Rumor has it that Alfred Hitchcock in directing the famous shower scene in Psycho, in order to get the facial expression that he wanted from the actress, he made sure ... He couldn't get that facial expression that he wanted and in order to do so, he made sure that when the water came out, it came out ice cold. I was curious if you ever manipulated an actor or actress or scene in the similar fashion. Leonard: He's a cold director, mean, mean direc- No. I have ... I haven't done that kind of thing. Directors work in various ways. Hitchcock was never known to be an actor who cared a lot about the ... A director who cared a lot about the art of acting. The actors for him were tools. They provided a service, a function that he found necessary in order to make his film. I don't think he really had a serious or important relationship with actors on artistic level. I'm very much in touch with actors coming from the persuasion and having taught actors a lot and understanding what kind of vision an actor can make given the opportunity. I'm very much in touch with opening up an atmosphere which the actor feel safe to make a large investment and take chances. Speaker 13: Recently in Detroit, a young hockey player named Bob Probert was arrested at the border for attempting to smuggle cocaine into Canada and he's already been expelled from the National Hockey League and possibly will never be able to play Hockey again. Do you think that the actors and actresses in the screen guild which I think is a union for actors and actresses, do you think that they should adopt similar very stringent standards because as we've all heard tonight, there is such a strong impression of actors and actresses can make on us as a country and wouldn't that be a wonderful statement to make our country if they would voluntarily adopt standards that's stringent themselves? Michael: Good question. Leonard: The movie stars through the years have come in a lot of different shapes and sizes morally and ethically as we know. In some cases for whatever reason, some stars have found themselves in obscurity for having gotten involved in some questionable moral situation or situations the audiences found questionable morally or ethically. Other actors and actresses have seemed to thrive on it, flagrant about their personal lives and what their personal lives are about and develop enormous followings. I don't think you can legislate that. What I find terribly painful is the growing knowledge that athletes who participate in a foot race, which should be the most equal kind of competition. The most basic kind of competition. One person running against another at given distance have cheated. That I find so painful and I think is part of this conversation we had earlier about our view of the world in ourselves these days. What can you believe in if there's an extra meter or an extra foot or an extra leap available as a result of steroids and one is using them, the other isn't. We suddenly discovered that the competition wasn't real. It wasn't real and we invest so much emotion in the effort of these people in their training and of the progress of their careers and in the event, we make such an investment in the human effort to be the best watching a human makes his effort to be the best. I find it so painful to discover that there's kind of cheating going on. I think in athletics where there are people's career's at stake where there's money at stake where there endorsements on ... Obviously, I think some things got to be done to clean up that act. I don't know if you can do it with actors and actresses. Michael: Let me be a pain in the neck and do a followup on that. Given everything that you've said, given everything that you've said, wouldn't you agree that actors particularly the very successful screen actors are even more role models for people than athletes followed by even more millions of people than hockey players and that if you're going to have this kind of standard which you apparently support for people in athletics what about the star ... Let's take and extreme example. Motion Picture actor of some success who was arrested selling drugs to someone else, would you say that that person should be terminated as a working actor? Leonard: I'm going to plead ignorance here. I don't know. Speaker 13: What studio? Is that… Michael: The point is ... The question was very well asked. It is possible that SAG, Screen Actors Guild, could impose a standard where he would lose his membership in the guild. Leonard: Then, the question becomes a legal question, doesn't it? Does the Screen Actor Guild have the legal right to do that and whoever the actor ... Michael: They can throw you out for breaking a strike. Leonard: I think that's quite different, quite different. You have broken the rules of the union and there is a rule that says if you break that particular rule, you're going to be expelled. Michael: What if you have a rule in the union that says it's against the rules… Leonard: Now, you start to legislate that rule and you start to put that rule into effect and find out what the legalities are. Somebody's going to come along and say, "Well, wait a minute. I'm not sure we can do that because ..." You're going to have to work out the question legally and the question will be worked out legally based on the consensus of opinion in our society today in terms of what we want. Do we want that rule, that new rule? Do we feel it’s necessary? Then it would become part of a society. I'm not sure that I could speak to the issue of whether it's legal right now. That's why I have to plead ignorance here. Michael: If I can suggest to the questionnaire and I'll shut up on this, you should ... We have a new drugs czar in this country named William Benet and I think you should write to him with that suggestion. I think he would have a very interesting time with that. Leonard: It's obviously a very provocative question. I would remind you that there was a time when a career of a luminous star lady was destroyed. Her career was destroyed because she had an extra-marital affair. Michael: Ingrid Bergman. Leonard: That's right. Michael: The product of that affair is today one of the leading stars in movies. Isabella Rossellini. Leonard: Isabella Rossellini. Ingrid Bergman was at the height of her career when she had an extra-marital affair with Rossellini in Italy and she was out of the movie business. Unusual, unhireable. Audiences refuse to see her. Times changed. Speaker 14: Mr. Nimoy, I'd like to change the subject completely and address the issue of creativity in Hollywood and in society in general. Leonard: Question? Speaker 14: It's going to be different. It seems to me the product that Hollywood sells is not only entertainment but creativity and there's been a lot of discussion in recent years about how TV has a negative effect on children, for instance, in society in general because the viewer is viewing and observing as opposed to engaging in a creative and productive activity themselves. I'm wondering what your view is of Hollywood kind of being the electronic fireplace that your product is really being the devil's advocate and negative one in a sense that it has a negative impact on people and I guess my question is by sitting in a theater watching a movie or sitting in front of the TV and watching TV, our people not engaging and being creative themselves and to Hollywood's credit ... Leonard: You're absolutely right. I think ... Yeah. I would say you're absolutely right. There is nowhere near enough really creative work being done. There is too much non-creative work being done. There is too much kind of dumb stuff being done. There are dumb television shows. There are dumb movies which are extraordinarily successful. I agree with that 100%. On the other hand, the question is should the kids be sitting in front of TV watching that and are they, because the parents find easier to let them do that than to insist that the set is off during the week, you must be involved in some other kind of creative or educational process. You cannot watch that tonight. Now that becomes a tug of war and battle in the house which is a tough and painful battle I know that. I know that. It may be just easier to give in. If bad television programming exist, does that mean Hollywood is it fault for not educating your children? Where is the responsibility for making the choices? It's not easy. I know that. It's in the home and you got the set or sets and the VCR or VCRs and the discs and all the rest of it, it's all there. Are we really doing a proper job in our homes of saying you can only use that for this purpose and at this time and this other time must be set aside for what you're talking about, the education and the creativity. Michael: You used a phrase and I'm just coming out briefly, video fireplace. One of the most alarming things that I have read and heard about recently is there was a best-selling video cassette called video fireplace where it is a 120 minutes of a crackling fire in a fireplace and you plug it into your VCR and there you area. Wherever you are in your condo or your apartment, you have a fire. This is the extent to which we become dependent on this machine. Run out to your stores and get it. You can also get video dog and you can also get video baby which has a little baby crawling around and going gugu cuckoo but not doing anything nasty. Speaker 15: Mr. Nimoy, I want to change the subject even further than she just did. I remember you did a series called In Search Of. I was just wondering whatever happened to that? Leonard: Whatever happened to it was we did 7 years of it. We did about 160 or 170 episodes. It was extraordinarily successful television series sometimes informative, sometimes silly, sometimes hokey. I was thinking that I … knowing that I was coming here about an interesting phenomenon that I heard about while I was doing that series. There was a scientist named Allen Hynek who was part of the Air Force Blue Book Commission assigned to investigating UFOs, supposedly the scientific inquiry into the question. Allen Hynek when the Blue Book was published went out ... came out with a book of his own which disproved the existence of UFOs. He went out of the road to publicize the book. During the course of his trip around the country, you got a call from his publisher and he told me the story. His publisher said, "The book is not selling. We have a problem. The problem is that people don't want to hear the UFOs don't exist. People are much more interested in the possibility that they do exist." Is it possible that in your public appearances on the subject of this book you're going to leave some room for the possibility that UFOs do exist? In Search Of was an extremely successful show which left that possibility open. We discovered that the audience really did not want to have any of that stuff disproved. What they wanted was stories from people who claimed of seeing UFOs. They want a discussion about why people think UFOs exist and all that sort of thing. We always take pains to say we don't have any physical evidence that they exist. Here's a person who claims he was on one. Let's talk to him. I had a good time on that show. Michael: I think you'll be delighted to know and this is no joke that Big Foot has recently been sighted here in Hillsdale, Michigan. Leonard: We did a show about Big Foot. Now, I'm delighted to discover that in some counties in Washington State, it's illegal to shoot Big Foot. Michael: With the camera. Denise: Hello, Mr. Nimoy. My name is Denise Walton. I'm a sophomore here and I understand that this will be the last question for the evening. My question stems from some studying I've been doing in an English literature class. Recently, my English literature class read words with poem entitled Michael. The fulcrum of that poem was the building between a father and a son of a pile of rocks which would be a sheep trap when the sun returned from the city in an attempt to save the family from financial ruin. This pile was a sacred covenant between the father and son. To simplify the poem, subsequently what happens is this covenant was broken. The experience of reading this poem was at in the future, whenever I'll walk through the woods, I guess I'll never look the same way at a pile of rocks. Earlier, during the course of the interview, you alluded that your work with The Good Mother puts you in touch with your own sense of loss. My question is two-fold. What experience of a role as an actor or a director has the biggest impact on your personal life? It touched you or changed you so if you never perceived in a situation the same way and also, what experience of a role as an actor or a director had you hoped would have an impact on society? Leonard: Thought-provoking. I've had some extraordinary experiences as both actor and director but I think I would be evasive if I didn't talk about the Spock experience because of all the roles that I've played, all of the jobs that I've had as actor or director obviously has had the most profound effect on both my life and career. The longest lasting effect and very dramatic the changes that I've experienced as a result of it. It changed me psychologically playing the character, changed me psychologically. Certainly changed my lifestyle a lot, very simply it was a first steady job I ever had in my business. I have been making up a living as an actor and as a teacher for some years before Star Trek came along in 1966. I have never had a job that lasted longer than 2 weeks. I was a freelance actor meaning that you job around. You go from job to job. I had never had a job where my name was painted on the parking space. In most cases, it's put on with chalk if at all. I starred in a movie in 1951 a little B movie that was made in 9 days and my dressing room had Jane Nigh's name on a door. You don't even remember who Jane Nigh was. It had a profound effect on me in a lot of ways and still does. Still does. Coming to the point of this evening, the impact on a society I think was enormous. I still constantly come up across people who tell me how much they were affected by the series or the character or both. It's a very proud thing because I think the effect essentially had been positive. It is sometimes still overwhelming when I see ... Last night, I was watching 60 Minutes and there was a segment on television over the years. Here were these very brief flashes of historical events in television, a historical character in television and there was Spock, my old buddy like a bang on 60 Minutes. You understand who that is and people understand where that character fits in the culture and what's that all about. You see Spock for president bumper stickers during presidential campaigns and people understand that and beam me up Scotty there's no intelligent life down here that sort of thing. We understand that. It's in the culture. It is in the culture and not necessarily in a bad way. I think a lot of it is fun, a lot of it is very healthy because it stands the ... The character stands for I think the dignity for self realization, for achievement, for intelligence, logic, compassion, a lot of good things. It's had an enormously profound effect on my life and I'm sure it will indefinitely. Michael: To conclude, to take advantage of my position here, I want to first of all thank all of the questionnaires as I sort of indicated to you privately, this is an extraordinary group at Hillsdale. The questionnaires are people who dared boldly go where no questionnaires had gone before, and obviously not only an extraordinary group of questionnaires but an extraordinary guest in the presence of Leonard Nimoy ... in the person of Leonard Nimoy and speaking as a friend of Hillsdale though not quite a member of the family, I'm sure that I speak for everyone here and expressing thanks to you and the hope that this will by no means be your last visit to this part of our planet. Leonard: Thank you very much.


Peter Leonard Scholarship

The Peter Leonard Scholarship aims to recognise the extraordinary talents of some University of Canberra Journalism students each year. Winners receive $5000 and a two-week internship at WIN Television in Canberra. At least two runners-up each receive $1000 and a one-week internship at WIN.


2009 — Lisa Mosley[8]
2010 — Philip Prior[9]
2011 — Gabrielle Adams[10]
2012 — Ashley Leal[11]
2013 — Katarina Slavich[12]
2015 — Alkira Reinfrank
2016 — Alison Hattley
2017 — Naomi Avery


2009 — Andrew Day, Kevin Room and Rahima Saikal[8]
2010 — Ewan Gilbert and Lucy Zelic[9]
2011 — Grace Keyworth and Alana Shegog[10]
2012 — Dion Pretorius and Olivia Neethyrajah[11]
2013 — Madeleine Bolas and Charlene Broad[12]

Preceded by
Peter Russell
WIN News Canberra Newsreader
Succeeded by
Jessica Good


  1. ^ a b "Oral History Sound Recordings" (PDF). National Film and Sound Archive. April 2002.
  2. ^ a b Warden, Ian (1 August 2002). "Pessimism for unique Canberra". Canberra Times.
  3. ^ a b c "Newsreader Leonard dies aged 66". ABC News. 24 September 2008.
  4. ^ Low, Claire (24 September 2008). "Tributes for newsreader Leonard". Canberra Times. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Downie, Graham (25 September 2008). "Voice of Canberra resonated far and wide". Canberra Times.
  6. ^ a b "Media legend recognised for service to ACT community". Jon Stanhope, MLA : Media Releases. 17 December 2007.
  7. ^ "Scholarship to honour Leonard". ABC News. 30 September 2008.
  8. ^ a b Powell, Amanda (7 October 2009). "Passionate journalist awarded WIN's new scholarship". University of Canberra.
  9. ^ a b Powell, Amanda (30 November 2010). "Philip Prior awarded Peter Leonard Scholarship". University of Canberra.
  10. ^ a b Rose, Sandy (21 November 2010). "Gabrielle Adams wins Peter Leonard Scholarship". University of Canberra.
  11. ^ a b Murray, Victoria (28 November 2012). "UC students win prestigious media scholarships". University of Canberra. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  12. ^ a b Hollands, Lauren (7 July 2014). "Katarina Slavich awarded TV scholarship". University of Canberra. Retrieved 22 October 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 September 2019, at 09:45
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