Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek?dead at 83
A true legend passed away today with the death Leonard Nimoy. The gaunt-faced actor brought Mr. Spock, a logical human-alien, to life on “Star Trek.” Nimoy starred as the first officer on the original TV series. His death was confirmed by his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, who said the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Nimoy had announced last year he had the disease. Even though he had given up smoking three decades earlier, it was the cause of the disease, and eventually causing his death. After being in the hospital earlier in the week, Nimoy passed away at his home at the age of 83.
More than just “Mr. Spock”
Nimoy had a universe of artistic pursuits which he enjoyed such as?poetry, photography and music along with acting. It was his acting?that made him a folk hero. A Vulcan with pointy-ears and a signature salute and blessing of ?Live Long and Prosper.?
Nimoy was teaching Method acting in his studio when he was cast as Mr. Spock in the mid-1960s. Nimoy always enjoyed playing outsiders, and over time developed a mystical identification with Spock. As much as he enjoyed being Spock, Nimoy also felt ambivalence in regards to being tethered to the character. He wrote about his feelings in two books.
- I Am Not Spock 1977
- I Am Spock 1995
In the first book, he wrote,
?In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.?
Star Trek premiered on September 8, 1966,?giving a huge boost to?the career of Nimoy. Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek creator, called Nimoy the??conscience of Star Trek.? Often challenging social issues in the 1960s,?despite being canceled after three seasons, the show established a loyal following of Trekkies or Trekkers. Conferences?and convocations are still?held worldwide, attended by thousands of?fans in costume. The Star Trek series eventually had several other television series and movies. The original cast continued to be included in the new shows and movies.
J.J. Abrams brought new life to the film franchise in 2009. He cast Zachary Quinto as a younger Spock. Nimoy was included in a cameo part as the same character but much older. He would also appear in the 2013 follow-up film ?Star trek Into Darkness.? Nimoy directed two of the movies in the franchise and also television shows. He also expanded into audio recordings featuring pop songs about ?Star Trek.?
Outside of the Star Trek world, he starred in the dramatic television series ? Misison: Impossible.? He frequently performed onstage in such roles as Tevye in ?Fiddler On The Roof.? Nimoy also published books featuring his photography.
Son of immigrants to National Icon
Nimoy was born on March 26, 1931 to Ukrainian immigrants and Orthodox Jews.? He started acting at age of eight in local productions. He performed in productions through high school. Nimoy traveled to Hollywood in 1949. In 1951, he was cast in?the movies ?Queen For A Day? and ?Rhubarb.? He continued to be cast in lesser known movies.
Nimoy served two years in the Army reaching the rank of sergeant.?He spent 18 months assigned to?Fort McPherson in Georgia where?he was in charge of shows for the Army’s Special Services branch. During his service, he also directed and starred as Stanley in ? A Streetcar Named Desire? at the Atlanta Theater Guild. Nimoy was honorably discharged in November 1955.
Nimoy returned to college during his 40s and received his Master’s degree in Spanish from Antioch University Austin. The college would later award Nimoy with an honorary doctorate. He was also a big supporter of the arts. A movie theater in Manhattan was renamed Leonard Nimoy Thalia in 2002 in honor of him.
The famous Vulcan salute of Spock was influenced by his religious upbringing. The split finger salute was his own idea and based on the kohanic blessing. It is a manual approximation of the Hebrew letter shin. This is the first letter in Shaddai, a Hebrew name for God.
??To this day, I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior,? Mr. Nimoy wrote years after the original series ended. ?Given the choice, if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.?
?Rest in peace, good sir. You will be missed.