Leonard Nimoy, famed American actor, film director, poet, singer and photographer, best known for his role as the half-human, half-Vulcan Mr. Spock in the original 1966 “Star Trek” series, died Friday at the age of 83 in his Bel Air home of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Nimoy had confirmed last year that he had the disease, attributing it to a decades long smoking habit he gave up three decades prior to his death.
Nimoy first entered the entertainment industry in 1951 with a small role in the American comedy film, “Queen for a Day.” For over a decade he played small parts on television programs and in movies, such as “The Twilight Zone” and “Bonanza,” but it was not until 1966, when he was cast as Spock, alongside William Shatner, that he truly came into prominence in show business. Nimoy would continue to play the role for nearly five decades.
The role would prove to be both a blessing and a curse for Nimoy, who would often find himself typecast in future roles as a result. He shared his feelings on the subject in his two-part autobiography, entitled “I Am Not Spock,” released in 1975, and “I Am Spock,” released in 1995. By the end of his life however, Nimoy seemed to have come to peace with the role, always ending his tweets with “LLAP,” or Live Long and Prosper, the meaning of the Vulcan Salute which Nimoy had made famous.
Outside of Star Trek, Nimoy had a fulfilling career as a film director, his directorial feats including the third and fourth installments in the Star Trek film series and 1987’s “Three Men and a Baby.”
Although officially retired from acting in 2010, Nimoy would continue to play minor roles until his death, including voice acting work in the video game, “Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep” and Michael Bay film, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” He had one final cameo role as Spock, his last ever appearance as the character, in 2013’s “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”
He was also an accomplished photographer and poet, having been interested in photography since he was 13 years old. He would go on to showcase his work at the R. Michaelson Galleries in Northampton, Mass among others. He also published several volumes of his poetry.
Although not well known for it, Nimoy also did some work in the music industry, releasing albums from the mid 1960s until the late 1990s. Much of the work he did was related to Spock or outer space, such as his first album entitled “Leonard Nimoy presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space,” which was recorded in the persona of Spock.
Nimoy was born Mar. 26, 1931 in Boston, Mass., to two Orthodox Jewish parents, who had immigrated from Ukraine before Nimoy was born. He was active in the Jewish community for his entire life. He married his first wife, Sandra Zober, in 1954 until their divorce in 1987. He was remarried in 1989 to Susan Bay, whom he would stay with for the rest of his life.
He is survived by his wife Susan, his children Adam and Julie (both of his first marriage to Zober) and five grandchildren.