Entertainment News: Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83

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LOS ANGELES – The actor who created one of the greatest pop-culture characters in TV and film history has passed away. Leonard Nimoy will always be known for the role of Mr. Spock, science officer for the USS Enterprise of the “Star Trek” TV and film series. He died of pulmonary disease on Feb. 27, 2015, according to his wife Susan. He was 83.

Leonard Nimoy
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in ‘Star Trek’ (2009)
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

The legacy of “Star Trek” had much to do with Nimoy’s approach to the character of Spock. The backstory of the half-human, half-Vulcan character was one of logic over conflict, yet his character could always be relied on when situations got confrontational. For three seasons in the 1960s and in rerun heaven, the voyage of the Starship Enterprise captivated viewers and was resurrected in a highly popular film series. Nimoy also was a photographer, director, writer and producer as well as the host of mystery programs such as “In Search of…” and “Invasion America.”

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston to immigrant Ukrainian parents. He acted as a child in community theater, and after a stint in the U.S. Army and Boston College, he made his debut in the the “B” movie “Queen for a Day” (1951). He spent the next decade-and-a-half doing small films roles and TV appearances – including episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” “Dragnet,” “Bonanza,” “Sea Hunt” and “Wagon Train.” It was “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry who proposed the 1966 series as “‘Wagon Train’ to the Stars,” and fought to keep the Spock character despite the NBC network’s plea to “lose the guy with the ears.”

Through three TV seasons, eight “Star Trek” movies in various incarnations, an animated series and appearances on spin-offs, the pointy-eared Spock character was a constant calming influence to the chaos of the “Star Trek” adventures. Part of the appeal was the chemistry of the original cast, and their multi-cultural interactions during a time of profound change in the United States in race and cultural relations. His catchphrase, “Live Long and Prosper,” was accompanied by a hand gesture that was inspired, according to Nimoy, by the hands of the Jewish priests that gave him blessings as a child.

Leonard Nimoy
The Original: Live Long and Prosper
Photo credit: Paramount Home Video

Nimoy was not a one trick pony, though. Besides directing two of the “Star Trek” films (“The Search for Spock” and “The Voyage Home”), he also helmed “Three Men and a Baby,” and three more non-“Star Trek” features. He was a regular after “Star Trek” on “Mission Impossible,” hosted “In Search of…” and was a popular guest star on many TV series including “Columbo,” “The Simpsons,” “Fringe” and of course, “The Big Bang Theory.” He had a period of distaste for Mr. Spock, as his first memoir was entitled “I Am Not Spock” (1975), but all was forgiven 20 years later with his second “I Am Spock.” His photography was featured in three books, and he also wrote seven books of poetry.

Leonard Nimoy was married twice, and is survived by Susan Bay Nimoy and two children. He passed away on February 27th, 2015, at his Bel Air home in Los Angeles, after being hospitalized last week with complications due to his pulmonary disease.

It is important to note that Nimoy embraced Spock with every fiber of his being throughout his long and successful life, and the admirers of the series embraced his intelligence and passion. He once said, “Spock is definitely one of my best friends. When I put on those ears, it’s not like just another day. When I become Spock, that day becomes something special.” In the undiscovered country of his next voyage, may he “live long and prosper.”

Sources for this article from the New York Times, Wikipedia and IMDb. Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2015 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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