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Leonard Nimoy Who Played Spock On Star Trek Dead At 83

by Kent Masterson - The Oregon Herald Friday February 27, 2015    11:36 AM

Lonard Nimoy, who played Spock on the "Star Trek" television series and in several major motion pictures of the same story, died on today at age 83.

His granddaughter, Dani, confirmed the death on Twitter. She called him "an extraordinary man." Nimoy revealed a year ago that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

As the half-human, half-alien chief science officer for the Starship Enterprise, Spock gave the world the indelible blessing "Live long and prosper" and his familiar split-fingered Vulcan salute. He was second in command to William Shatner's Captain James T. Kirk, his stoicism the perfect counter to Kirk's fiery personality.

As the half-human, half-alien chief science officer for the Starship Enterprise, Spock gave the world the indelible blessing "Live long and prosper" and his familiar split-fingered Vulcan salute. He was second in command to William Shatner's Captain James T. Kirk, his stoicism the perfect counter to Kirk's fiery personality.

As the half-human, half-alien chief science officer for the Starship Enterprise, Spock gave the world the indelible blessing "Live long and prosper" and his familiar split-fingered Vulcan salute. He was second in command to William Shatner's Captain James T. Kirk, his stoicism the perfect counter to Kirk's fiery personality.

"I loved him like a brother," Shatner said in a statement. "We will all miss his humor, his talent and his capacity to love."

Word of his death inspired expressions of respect not just from his fellow actors and from "Star Trek" fans but from NASA.

BIOGRAPHY (Wikipedia)
Nimoy was born on March 26, 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts in the West End, to Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Iziaslav, Soviet Union (now Ukraine). His mother, Dora (née Spinner), was a homemaker, and his father, Max Nimoy, owned a barbershop in the Mattapan section of the city.

Nimoy began acting at the age of eight in children's and neighborhood theater. His parents wanted him to attend college and pursue a stable career, or even learn to play the accordion—with which, his father advised, Nimoy could always make a living—but his grandfather encouraged him to become an actor. His first major role was at 17, as Ralphie in an amateur production of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing! Nimoy took drama classes at Boston College in 1953 but failed to complete his studies, and in the 1970s studied photography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He had an MA in Education from Antioch College, an honorary doctorate from Antioch University in Ohio and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Boston University.

Nimoy served as a sergeant in the United States Army from 1953 through 1955, alongside fellow actor Ken Berry and architect Frank Gehry.

Nimoy's film and television acting career began in 1951. After receiving the title role in the 1952 film Kid Monk Baroni, a story about a street punk turned professional boxer, he played more than 50 small parts in B movies, television series such as Perry Mason and Dragnet, and serials such as Republic Pictures' Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952). To support his family, he often did other work, such as delivering newspapers.

He played an Army sergeant in the 1954 science fiction thriller Them! and a professor in the 1958 science fiction movie The Brain Eaters, and had a role in The Balcony (1963), a film adaptation of the Jean Genet play. With Vic Morrow, he produced a 1966 version of Deathwatch, an English-language film version of Genet's play Haute Surveillance, adapted and directed by Morrow and starring Nimoy.

On television, Nimoy appeared as "Sonarman" in two episodes of the 1957–1958 syndicated military drama The Silent Service, based on actual events of the submarine section of the United States Navy. He had guest roles in the Sea Hunt series from 1958 to 1960 and a minor role in the 1961 The Twilight Zone episode "A Quality of Mercy". He also appeared in the syndicated Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford.

In 1959, Nimoy was cast as Luke Reid in the "Night of Decision" episode of the ABC/Warner Bros. western series Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston and directed by Leslie H. Martinson.

Nimoy appeared four times in ethnic roles on NBC's Wagon Train, the No. 1 program of 1962. He portrayed Bernabe Zamora in "The Estaban Zamora Story" (1959), "Cherokee Ned" in "The Maggie Hamilton Story" (1960), Joaquin Delgado in "The Tiburcio Mendez Story" (1961), and Emeterio Vasquez in "The Baylor Crowfoot Story" (1962).

Nimoy appeared in Bonanza (1960), The Rebel (1960), Two Faces West (1961), Rawhide (1961), The Untouchables (1962), The Eleventh Hour (1962), Perry Mason (1963; playing murderer Pete Chennery in "The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe", episode 13 of season 6), Combat! (1963, 1965), Daniel Boone, The Outer Limits (1964), The Virginian (1963–1965; first working with Star Trek co-star DeForest Kelley in "Man of Violence", episode 14 of season 2, in 1963), Get Smart (1966) and Mission: Impossible (1969–1971). He appeared again in the 1995 Outer Limits series. He appeared in Gunsmoke in 1962 as Arnie and in 1966 as John Walking Fox.

Nimoy as Spock with William Shatner as Kirk, 1968 Nimoy and Star Trek co-star William Shatner first worked together on an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., "The Project Strigas Affair" (1964). Their characters were from opposite sides of the Iron Curtain, though with his saturnine looks, Nimoy was the villain, with Shatner playing a reluctant U.N.C.L.E. recruit.

On the stage, Nimoy played the lead role in a short run of Gore Vidal's Visit to a Small Planet in 1968 (shortly before the end of the Star Trek series) at the Pheasant Run Playhouse in St. Charles, Illinois (now closed).

Nimoy's greatest prominence came from his role in the original Star Trek series. As the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock—a role he chose instead of one on the soap opera Peyton Place—Nimoy became a star, and the press predicted that he would "have his choice of movies or television series". He formed a long-standing friendship with Shatner, who portrayed his commanding officer, saying of their relationship, "We were like brothers." Star Trek was broadcast from 1966 to 1969. Nimoy earned three Emmy Award nominations for his work on the program.

He went on to reprise the Spock character in Star Trek: The Animated Series and two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. When a new Star Trek series was planned in the late 1970s, Nimoy was to be in only two out of eleven episodes, but when the show was elevated to a feature film, he agreed to reprise his role. The first six Star Trek movies feature the original Star Trek cast including Nimoy, who also directed two of the films. He played the elder Spock in the 2009 Star Trek movie and reprised the role in a brief appearance in the 2013 sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, both directed by J. J. Abrams.

Spock's Vulcan salute became a recognized symbol of the show and was identified with him. Nimoy created the sign himself from his childhood memories of the way kohanim (Jewish priests) hold their hand when giving blessings. During an interview, he translated the priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24–26 which accompanies the sign and described it during a public lecture:

May the Lord bless and keep you and may the Lord cause his countenance to shine upon you. May the Lord be gracious unto you and grant you peace. The accompanying spoken blessing, "Live long and prosper." After Star Trek Following Star Trek in 1969, Nimoy immediately joined the cast of the spy series Mission: Impossible, which was seeking a replacement for Martin Landau. Nimoy was cast in the role of Paris, an IMF agent who was an ex-magician and make-up expert "The Great Paris". He played the role during seasons four and five (1969–71). Nimoy had strongly been considered as part of the initial cast for the show but remained in the Spock role of Star Trek.

Nimoy in 1972 He co-starred with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna in the Western movie Catlow (1971). He also had roles in two episodes of Rod Serling's Night Gallery (1972 and 1973) and Columbo (1973) where he played a murderous doctor who was one of the few criminals with whom Columbo became angry. Nimoy appeared in various made for television films such as Assault on the Wayne (1970), Baffled! (1972), The Alpha Caper (1973), The Missing Are Deadly (1974), Seizure: The Story Of Kathy Morris (1980), and Marco Polo (1982). He received an Emmy Award nomination for best supporting actor for the television film A Woman Called Golda (1982), for playing the role of Morris Meyerson, Golda Meir's husband opposite Ingrid Bergman as Golda in her final role.

In 1975, Leonard Nimoy filmed an opening introduction to Ripley's World of the Unexplained museum located at Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Fisherman's Wharf at San Francisco, California. In the late 1970s, he hosted and narrated the television series In Search of..., which investigated paranormal or unexplained events or subjects. He also had a memorable character part as a psychiatrist in Philip Kaufman's remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

During this time, Nimoy also won acclaim for a series of stage roles. He appeared in such plays as Vincent (1981), Fiddler on the Roof, The Man in the Glass Booth, Oliver!, 6 Rms Riv Vu, Full Circle, Camelot, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The King and I, Caligula, The Four Poster, Twelfth Night, Sherlock Holmes, Equus, and My Fair Lady.

Star Trek films

Nimoy signing autographs at a Star Trek convention, c. 1980 After directing a few television show episodes, Nimoy started film directing in 1984 with the third installment of the film series. Nimoy would go on to direct the second most successful film (critically and financially) in the franchise after the 2009 Star Trek film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), and Three Men and a Baby, the highest grossing film of 1987, made him a star director. At a press conference promoting the 2009 Star Trek movie, Nimoy made it clear that he had no further plans or ambition to direct:

No. No, I'm done with all that, thank you. I never set out to be a director. After Spock had died, sort of, in Star Trek II, they brought me in for a meeting and asked if I'd like to be involved in Star Trek III, in the making of it, and I had been told that I should be directing. I took it as an insult because I thought, "what's wrong with my acting?" But I thought maybe now I should do that and I said I'd like to direct the movie, and I suddenly found myself with a directing career which I had enjoyed and I had enough of it. I directed I think five or six films – I had a good time.

Other work after Star Trek In 1978, Nimoy played Dr. David Kibner in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He also did occasional work as a voice actor in animated feature films, including the character of Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie in 1986.

Nimoy was featured as the voice-over narrator for the CBS paranormal series Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories in 1991.

In 1991, Nimoy teamed up with Robert B. Radnitz to produce a movie for TNT about a pro bono publico lawsuit brought by public interest attorney William John Cox on behalf of Mel Mermelstein, an Auschwitz survivor, against a group of organizations engaged in Holocaust denial. Nimoy also played the Mermelstein role and believes: "If every project brought me the same sense of fulfillment that Never Forget did, I would truly be in paradise."

Nimoy lent his voice as narrator to the 1994 IMAX documentary film, Destiny in Space, showcasing film-footage of space from nine Space Shuttle missions over four years time.

In 1994, Nimoy performed as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The Pagemaster. In 1998, he had a leading role as Mustapha Mond in the made-for-television production of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Together with John de Lancie, another ex-actor from the Star Trek series, Nimoy created Alien Voices, an audio-production venture that specializes in audio dramatizations. Among the works jointly narrated by the pair are The Time Machine, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Lost World, The Invisible Man and The First Men in the Moon, as well as several television specials for the Sci-Fi Channel. In an interview published on the official Star Trek website, Nimoy said that Alien Voices was discontinued because the series did not sell well enough to recoup costs.

From 1994 until 1997, Nimoy narrated the Ancient Mysteries series on A&E including "The Sacred Water of Lourdes" and "Secrets of the Romanovs". He also appeared in advertising in the United Kingdom for the computer company Time Computers in the late 1990s. In 1997, Nimoy played the prophet Samuel, alongside Nathaniel Parker, in The Bible Collection movie David. He had a central role in Brave New World, a 1998 TV-movie version of Aldous Huxley's novel where he played a character reminiscent of Spock in his philosophical balancing of unpredictable human qualities with the need for control. Nimoy has also appeared in several popular television series—including Futurama and The Simpsons—as both himself and Spock.

Nimoy appeared in Hearts of Space program number 142 – "Whales Alive"

In 1999, he voiced the narration of the English version of the Sega Dreamcast game Seaman and promoted Y2K educational films.

In 2000, he provided on-camera hosting and introductions for 45 half-hour episodes of an anthology series entitled Our 20th Century on the AEN TV Network. The series covers world news, sports, entertainment, technology, and fashion using original archive news clips from 1930 to 1975 from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and other private archival sources.

In 2001, Nimoy voiced the role of the Atlantean King Kashekim Nedakh in the Disney animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire which featured Michael J. Fox voicing the lead role.

In 2003, he announced his retirement from acting to concentrate on photography, but subsequently appeared in several television commercials with William Shatner for Priceline.com. He appeared in a commercial for Aleve, an arthritis pain medication, which aired during the 2006 Super Bowl.

Nimoy provided a comprehensive series of voice-overs for the 2005 computer game Civilization IV. He did the television series Next Wave where he interviewed people about technology. He was the host in the documentary film The Once and Future Griffith Observatory, currently running in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Nimoy and his wife, Susan Bay-Nimoy, were major supporters of the Observatory's historic 2002–2004 expansion.

In 2007, he produced the play, Shakespeare's Will by Canadian Playwright Vern Thiessen. The one-woman show starred Jeanmarie Simpson as Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway. The production was directed by Nimoy's wife, Susan Bay.

In April 2010, Leonard Nimoy announced that he was retiring from playing Spock, citing both his advanced age and the desire to give Zachary Quinto the opportunity to enjoy full media attention with the Spock character. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep was to be his final performance. However, in February 2011, he announced his definite plan to return to Fringe and reprise his role as William Bell. His retirement from acting did not include voice acting, as his appearance in the third season of Fringe includes his voice (his character appears only in animated scenes), and he provided the voice of Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In May 2011, Nimoy made a cameo appearance in the alternate version music video of Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song". Aaron Bay-Schuck, the Atlantic Records executive who signed Bruno Mars to the label, is Nimoy's stepson. Nimoy provided the voice of Spock as a guest star in a Season 5 episode of the CBS sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. The episode is titled "The Transporter Malfunction" and aired on March 29, 2012, and was frequently mentioned by several of the main characters (especially Sheldon Cooper, who idolized Nimoy). In Spring 2012, Nimoy reprised his role of William Bell in Fringe, in the fourth season episodes "Letters of Transit" and "Brave New World" parts 1 & 2. Nimoy reprised his role as Master Xehanort in the recent title Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. On August 30, 2012, Nimoy narrated a satirical segment about Mitt Romney's life on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In 2013, Nimoy reprised his role as Spock Prime in a cameo appearance in the film Star Trek Into Darkness.

Nimoy's career boldly went beyond television. He was also a poet, a photographer, a director and a singer. And a decade after the series went off the air, he breathed new life into the brand by appearing in a series of blockbuster movies.

"The word extraordinary is often overused, but I think it's really appropriate for Leonard," the actor George Takei, who played Sulu on the series, told MSNBC. "He was an extraordinarily talented man, but he was also a very decent human being."

Nimoy invoked his best-known line in his last tweet, posted Monday: "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP."

When the original "Star Trek" series ended in 1969, after three season, Nimoy moved to the adventure series "Mission: Impossible." He also hosted the mystery-probing television series "In Search Of … " More recently, he played Dr. William Bell on the Fox series "Fringe."

He credits as a movie director included "Three Men and a Baby." But he was by far most famous for giving life to the green-blooded Spock.

In a 1995 interview with the AP, he ventured that people "recognize in themselves this wish that they could be logical and avoid the pain of anger and confrontation."

"How many times have we come away from an argument wishing we had said and done something different?" he said.

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