Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

  • Born March 26 , 1931 · Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Died February 27 , 2015 · Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, USA (end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Birth name Leonard Simon Nimoy
  • Height 5′ 11¾″ (1.82 m)
  • Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Dora (Spinner) and Max Nimoy, who owned a barbershop. His parents were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. Raised in a tenement and acting in community theaters since age eight, Nimoy did not make his Hollywood debut until he was 20, with a bit part in Queen for a Day (1951) and another as a ballplayer in the perennial Rhubarb (1951) . After two years in the United States Army, he was still getting small, often uncredited parts, like an Army telex operator in Them! (1954) . His part as Narab, a Martian finally friendly to Earth, in the closing scene in the corny Republic serial Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952) , somewhat foreshadowed the role which would make him a household name: Mr. Spock, the half-human/half-Vulcan science officer on Star Trek (1966) one of television's all-time most successful series. His performance won him three Emmy nominations and launched his career as a writer and director, notably of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) , the story of a humpback whale rescue that proved the most successful of the Star Trek movies. Stage credits have included "Fiddler on the Roof", "Oliver", "Camelot" and "Equus". He has hosted the well-known television series In Search of... (1977) and Ancient Mysteries (1994) , authored several volumes of poetry and guest-starred on two episodes of The Simpsons (1989) . In the latter years of his career, he played Mustafa Mond in NBC's telling of Aldous Huxley 's Brave New World (1998) , voiced Sentinel Prime in the blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) , and played Spock again in two new Star Trek films, Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) . Leonard Nimoy died on February 27, 2015 in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83. - IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <[email protected]>
  • Spouses Susan Bay Nimoy (January 1, 1989 - February 27, 2015) (his death) Sandi Nimoy (February 21, 1954 - 1987) (divorced, 2 children)
  • Children Child Adam Nimoy Julie Nimoy
  • Parents Dora Nimoy Max Nimoy
  • Relatives Melvin Nimoy (Sibling) Madeleine Nimoy (Grandchild) Jonah Nimoy (Grandchild)
  • Deep baritone voice
  • Mr. Spock on Star Trek (1966) and eight of the Star Trek films
  • His final Tweet, posted four days before his death, was "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP" (Live Long and Prosper).
  • The "Vulcan nerve pinch" concept on Star Trek (1966) was invented by Nimoy when he and the series' writers were trying to figure out how an unarmed Spock could overpower an adversary without resorting to violence.
  • Spoke Hebrew and Yiddish fluently. According to William Shatner 's memoir of Nimoy, Leonard later in his life was concerned about losing his fluency in Yiddish because of a lack of practice. So Nimoy found a Yiddish speaking psychiatrist and made an regular appointment with her so he could spend an hour each week speaking the language.
  • Was the only actor to appear in every episode and both pilots of Star Trek (1966) .
  • Suffered from tinnitus (ringing in the ears), along with Star Trek (1966) co-star William Shatner . Nimoy's right ear and Shatner's left ear were affected. Their hearing was apparently damaged during the filming of the episode Arena (1967) , when they were both close to a special effects explosion.
  • [on working with William Shatner on the original Star Trek (1966) series] Bill was very passionate about the work. Unfortunately, Bill was passionate about everything.
  • 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.
  • [on being asked to executive-produce the proposed sequel series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) ] I thanked him and wished him well with the project, but explained it simply couldn't work. I felt the original Star Trek (1966) 's success was due to many factors: the themes, the characters, the chemistry between the actors, the timing (the future-embracing 1960s)... There was simply no way, I told him, that anyone could duplicate all those things and be successful with a second Star Trek show. And so I opted out... While my argument sounded perfectly rational at the time, my ego was certainly involved. When I said to Frank Mancuso and the assembled execs, "How can you hope to capture lightning in a bottle again?", part of me was *really* saying, "How can you ever hope to do it without *us*?"... You know, crow isn't so bad. It tastes like chicken.
  • My folks came to the US as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien.
  • [on the death of Spock] I thought everything was managed in excellent taste. I feel proud. When it was first suggested to me that Spock would die, I was hesitant. It seemed exploitative. But now that I've seen how it was accomplished, I think it was a very good idea.
  • Star Trek (1966) - $1,250 /episode (first season)
  • Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952) - $500

Contribute to this page

  • Learn more about contributing

More from this person

  • View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro

More to explore

Production art

Recently viewed

Leonard Nimoy Changed Star Trek History With One Mysterious Improvised Word

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek III The Search for Spock

I watch a lot of movies, but even ones that stab at my heart rarely make me tear up. "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" is, to quote Hayley Williams of Paramore, the only exception.

Spock (Leonard Nimoy) dies to save the Enterprise and his comrades, taking a lethal dose of radiation when giving the ship's engine a boost. He passes on after a final conversation with his best friend James Kirk (William Shatner). It's fair to say Nimoy was a better actor than Shatner, yet it's the latter who affects me most here. From the way his voice trembles as he yells Spock's name to the quiet heartbreak across his face as he watches his friend's final moments of pain, it's the most empathic acting I've ever seen from Shatner.

So, there's a part of me that will always resent the next film, "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," for undoing this. That said, this wasn't an abrupt change of plan. Even when "Wrath of Khan" first opened in June 1982, Oregonian newspaper the Register-Guard reassured Trekkies with the headline, "Spock Dies — But Wait! He'll Be Back."

See, Nimoy went in thinking "Wrath of Khan" would be the last "Star Trek" movie, and he figured Spock might as well "go out in a blaze of glory." Writer Harve Bennett had other ideas. According to the DeForest Kelley biography "From Sawdust to Stardust" by Terry Lee Rioux, Bennett asked Nimoy to "add a thread" to the death scene by having Spock mind meld with Dr. McCoy (played by Kelley). Nimoy himself suggested that Spock tell McCoy to "remember," but neither Nimoy nor Bennett thought through the full implications of the dialogue.

That one line set the course for the sequel.

Remember Spock

Nimoy writes in his 1995 memoir "I Am Spock" about how seeing Spock's death at a "Wrath of Khan" studio screening affected him, especially since he felt like a "co-conspirator" in the character's death. He became so sad that he almost bolted from the theater, but didn't want to give the false impression he disliked the movie.

But as Nimoy watched the film, he also started to notice " how open" the door was for Spock's return, from "remember" to an ending scene (filmed after test screenings to alleviate the somberness) of Spock's coffin landed safely on the newly-born Genesis planet. A realization struck Nimoy: "I'm going to be getting a call from Paramount!"

Since "Wrath of Khan" was a success, Nimoy indeed got that call. He not only agreed to return for "Star Trek III," but asked to direct it as well — his request was granted. Shatner told USA Today in 2017 that he believes Nimoy went along with killing Spock in part to get leverage to direct, but Nimoy himself never confirmed this.

Bennett would also return to write the script for what became "The Search for Spock" and had to answer the challenge of reviving everyone's favorite Vulcan. As he recounted to Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross for their book "The Fifty-Year Mission":

"One, there is a casket on a planet that has been created by the reformation of life forces, and life has been created from death. Two, 'There are always possibilities.' Three, before he died, Spock said, 'Remember.' Remember what? The puzzle was solved so easily that I think seventeen other people could have written the script to 'Star Trek III.'"

So yes, the Genesis Planet (born from a life-creating device) restores Spock's body to life, with the Vulcan rapidly re-aging from childhood throughout the film. But what about his oh-so-logical mind?

The Genesis of The Search for Spock

Bennett came up with the idea of a Vulcan "Katra," or a consciousness , reasoning that if Vulcans can telepathically link their minds to others, then they can surely transfer the sum of their self during a meld. When a Vulcan dies, they ceremoniously transfer their Katra via a mind meld so that their knowledge may be preserved. That's what Spock did to McCoy; "remember" was a plea for the doctor to remember all that Spock himself did.

Early in the film, Kirk comes across McCoy possessed by Spock's Katra, pleading to be taken home to planet Vulcan: "Jim, help me. You left me on Genesis — why did you do that?" Soon afterward, Kirk is visited by Spock's father Sarek (Mark Lenard), who mistakenly assumes that Kirk carries the Katra. But since Kirk and Spock were physically separated by a radiation shield when the latter died, a mind meld (carried out via touch) was impossible.

Like Bennett figuring out how to revive Spock, Kirk pieces together what's happened and brings his crew back to Genesis to retrieve Spock's body and free McCoy from Katra-induced madness (after all, Kirk isn't going to lose his other best friend). Then, at Vulcan, Spock's Katra is returned to his born-again body. This unique two-factor circumstance also handily explains why all Vulcans aren't resurrected via Katra transference.

Bennett adds in "The Fifty-Year Mission" that a viewer can easily assume from the clues of "Wrath of Khan" and their payoff in "The Search for Spock" that the exact nature of Spock's return was already planned when the former film was shot. However, that was not the case.

All Bennett needed to write Spock's resurrection was some imagination, but Leonard Nimoy inadvertently made his job a lot easier with his suggestion of "Remember."

star trek leonard nimoy

Laura Santhanam Laura Santhanam

Justin Scuiletti Justin Scuiletti

Leave your feedback

  • Copy URL https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/leonard-nimoy-best-remembered-spock-star-trek-dies

Leonard Nimoy, best remembered as Mr. Spock on ‘Star Trek,’ dies at 83

Leonard Nimoy, best remembered by “Star Trek” fans as the iconic Mr. Spock, died Friday. He was 83.

His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed reports of Nimoy’s death at his Los Angeles home, saying that he succumbed to end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the New York Times reported . Last year, he attributed his declining health to his smoking habit, which he had successfully quit more than 30 years earlier.

For decades on both the “Star Trek” television series and movie franchise, Nimoy played the character of Mr. Spock, a half-Vulcan, half-human science officer who operated under a rigid adherence to logic and helped guide the crew of Starship Enterprise through the galaxy. It was a role that Trekkers, or devout “Star Trek” fans, came to adore. Nimoy won three Emmys for his work on Star Trek and established a life-long role as a science fiction icon.

“The show valued education, it valued teamwork, and it valued loyalty,” Nimoy told PBS’ “Pioneers of Television” in 2010. [“Star Trek”] was forward-looking, always, just by its very nature. And I think those things appealed.”

Leonard Nimoy in character as the iconic Mr. Spock in a third season episode of "Star Trek." Photo by CBS via Getty Images

Leonard Nimoy in character as the iconic Mr. Spock in a third season episode of “Star Trek.” Photo by CBS via Getty Images

Beyond “Star Trek,” Nimoy was a consummate artist who directed film, composed poetry and photography and taught acting.

News of the actor’s death elicited countless reactions from former co-stars and fans alike. President Barack Obama issued a statement Friday afternoon that said, “Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy,” and that the president “loved Spock”:

Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future. I loved Spock. In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.” And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear Leonard Nimoy did just that. Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today.

Former “Star Trek” castmates William Shatner and George Takei remembered the actor on their social pages:

"I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love." -William Shatner http://t.co/U8ZN98tVYp — William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 27, 2015

On Instagram , actor Zachary Quinto, who inherited the role of Spock from Nimoy for 2009’s “Star Trek” film reboot and its 2013 sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” posted a tribute.

my heart is broken. i love you profoundly my dear friend. and i will miss you everyday. may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

NASA also remembered Nimoy in a tweet, praising “Star Trek” for inspiring generations of future NASA workers. Nimoy, alongside many of the original show cast, were on hand in 1976 to dedicate NASA’s space shuttle “Enterprise,” named for the show’s starship.

RIP Leonard Nimoy. So many of us at NASA were inspired by Star Trek. Boldly go… http://t.co/qpeH5BTzQc pic.twitter.com/nMmFMKYv1L — NASA (@NASA) February 27, 2015

Nimoy remained active in his later years, even after his self-proclaimed 2010 retirement from acting. StarTrek.com, in a tribute post today , remembered asking the actor in 2012 if he truly considered himself retired:

“Yeah, I do. I am. Look, I liken myself to a steamship that’s been going full-blast and the captain pulls that handle back and then says, ‘Full stop,’ but the ship doesn’t stop. It keeps moving from inertia. It keeps moving. It keeps moving. It’ll start slowing down, but it doesn’t stop. It doesn’t come to a dead stop. That’s the way I am. I still have a few odds and ends things that I enjoy doing. I don’t want to get up in the morning and have nothing to do that day. That would be boring.”
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP — Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015

Laura Santhanam is the Health Reporter and Coordinating Producer for Polling for the PBS NewsHour, where she has also worked as the Data Producer. Follow @LauraSanthanam

Justin Scuiletti is the digital video producer at PBS NewsHour.

Support Provided By: Learn more

Educate your inbox

Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.

Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.

star trek leonard nimoy

Watch CBS News

Leonard Nimoy: Tributes pour in for "Star Trek" actor

By Lauren Moraski

Updated on: February 27, 2015 / 4:55 PM EST / CBS News

Tributes are pouring in for Leonard Nimoy, who died Friday at age 83 .

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

Known for playing Mr. Spock on "Star Trek," Nimoy had a full that also included work in directing, photography, music and writing.

Fellow "Star Trek" cast member William Shatner remembered his friend and co-star fondly on Friday: "I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love."

Nichelle Nichols, another "Star Trek" alum, said in a statement: "I am deeply saddened by the death of my dear friend Leonard Nimoy. But, I also want to celebrate his extraordinary life. He was a true force of strength and his character was that of a champion. Leonard's integrity and passion as an actor and devotion to his craft helped transport Star Trek into television history. His vision and heart are bigger than the universe. I will miss him very much and send heartfelt wishes to his family."

Patrick Stewart said, "It is with sadness that I heard this morning of the death of friend and colleague Leonard Nimoy. I was lucky to spend many happy hours with Leonard socially and in front of the camera. The caliber and serious commitment of his work on 'Star Trek' was one of the things all of us on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' sought to match and be inspired by. His work will not be forgotten."

President Barack Obama also chimed in about the late actor, saying, "Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek's optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity's future. I loved Spock. In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for "Live long and prosper." And after 83 years on this planet -- and on his visits to many others -- it's clear Leonard Nimoy did just that. Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today."

J.J. Abrams weighed in on Twitter:

LLAP pic.twitter.com/9ZbT67JKUZ — Bad Robot (@bad_robot) February 27, 2015
Leonard Nimoy was more than Mr. Spock. But Mr. Spock is his gift to us all. Live long and prosper. HANX. — Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) February 27, 2015
God Bless You, Leonard Nimoy... May Angels guide thee to thy rest! #agoodman #talented #funny #awesome — LeVar Burton (@levarburton) February 27, 2015
Leonard Nimoy will always be a beloved legend 😭 — Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) February 27, 2015
RIP Leonard Nimoy. So many of us at NASA were inspired by Star Trek. Boldly go... http://t.co/qpeH5BTzQc pic.twitter.com/nMmFMKYv1L — NASA (@NASA) February 27, 2015
#LeonardNimoy illustr8d th blessing of Th High Priest on Star Trek-every1 who watched th show received his loving intentions thru his hands. — Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) February 27, 2015
Woke up to the awful news that Leonard Nimoy passed. RIP to a true gentleman. Not many of those left in our Biz. — Marina Sirtis (@Marina_Sirtis) February 27, 2015
Sad to hear about the passing of Leonard Nimoy. He was a true renaissance man. pic.twitter.com/st6EsV82Gm — Joy Behar (@JoyVBehar) February 27, 2015
Leonard Nimoy said in an interview that the Vulcan greeting is something he witnessed Hasidic Jews doing during a service. #RIPLeonardNimoy — Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) February 27, 2015
. @TheSimpsons I got to meet Leonard Nimoy the day we recorded his voice for the Monorail episode. I was in awe --- such a terrific man. — Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) February 27, 2015
my heart is broken. i love you profoundly my dear friend. and i will miss you everyday. may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. A photo posted by Zachary Quinto (@zacharyquinto) on Feb 27, 2015 at 10:01am PST

laurens-headshotbw140x100.jpg

Lauren Moraski is managing editor of entertainment at CBSNews.com

More from CBS News

Memory Alpha

  • TAS performers
  • Film performers
  • TNG performers
  • DS9 performers
  • DIS performers
  • Video game performers
  • Audiobook performers
  • Emmy Award nominees
  • Saturn Award nominees
  • Saturn Award winners
  • Boston Society of Film Critics Award winners
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association Award nominees
  • Hugo Award nominees
  • Scream Award nominees
  • TV Land Award winners
  • Universe Reader's Choice Award winners
  • Star Trek calendar artists
  • PRO performers
  • Commercial performers

Leonard Nimoy

  • View history

Nimoy returned to the role of Spock in the 2009 movie Star Trek ; it was the first time he played the character on-screen since 1991 and was his first live-action film role since Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country . He made a further cameo appearance as Spock in the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness , making him the only principal cast member of any Star Trek series to appear in eight of the films and (technically) the longest-serving of all Star Trek cast members, having played the role on and off over a period of forty-nine years, from 1964 to 2013. In addition to this he voiced Spock in the video games Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator , Star Trek: 25th Anniversary , Star Trek: Judgment Rites and Star Trek Online .

Footage of Nimoy's previous performances as Spock also appeared in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode " Trials and Tribble-ations ", as well as the Star Trek: Discovery episodes " If Memory Serves ", and " Unification III ". His image also appeared in Star Trek Generations in a photograph in Kirk's cabin in the Nexus and again more prominently in Star Trek Beyond in two photographs that were among Spock's possessions bequeathed to his alternate reality counterpart .

  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Early career
  • 3 The Star Trek years
  • 4 After Star Trek
  • 5 Return to Star Trek
  • 6 Other film and television works
  • 7 Later projects
  • 8.1 Additional appearances
  • 9 Directing credits
  • 10 Writing credits
  • 12 Star Trek interviews
  • 13 Bibliography
  • 14 Music discography
  • 15 Further reading
  • 16 External links

Biography [ ]

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in the West End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, just four days after his Star Trek co-star William Shatner . Like Shatner, he was of Ukrainian-Jewish ancestry (his family name means "person who cannot speak" in Russian).

He entered Boston College on a dramatic scholarship, but dropped out and headed for the West Coast, knowing that, there, he would find more lucrative opportunities in the acting business. In 1954, he married Sandi Zober, with whom he had two children – Adam and Julie. In the early 1950s, Nimoy served as a member of the United States Army Reserve . He served for eighteen months in Special Services at Ft. McPherson in Georgia and received a discharge in 1955 as a sergeant . Unfortunately, Nimoy's Army personnel file was destroyed in 1973 , during a major fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

In the mid-1950s, Nimoy began appearing in various television guest shots. In 1963, Nimoy landed a guest role on The Lieutenant, a series created by Gene Roddenberry . Roddenberry was also developing a science fiction series at the time and thought Nimoy would be perfect for it. Although he was initially up for the role of the ship's chief medical officer, Nimoy accepted the role as a half-Vulcan/half-Human named Spock on Roddenberry's series, entitled Star Trek, which made his career and changed his life. Nimoy played the role on and off over a period of forty-nine years, from 1964 to 2013.

After the cancellation of Star Trek , Nimoy moved on to another Desilu/Paramount series, Mission: Impossible , playing the regular character of Paris for two seasons. He returned to the role of Spock in the first six Star Trek movies.

In a hospital scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home , a voice can be heard paging " Dr. Sandi Zober ." His second wife, Susan Bay , starred in two episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine , as Admiral Rollman in " Past Prologue " and " Whispers ".

In December 2002, Nimoy announced his retirement from acting and his plans to spend his retirement as a photographer. He came out of retirement to play the Prime Spock in J.J. Abrams ' Star Trek . Regardless, Nimoy thereafter enjoyed a new career in his senior years as a professional photographer, showing his prints all over the United States and throughout the world.

Nimoy, after being seen at New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport being pushed in a wheelchair with an oxygen cylinder, disclosed in a tweet on 31 January 2014 that he had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . He stated that it was due to his many years of being an "Olympic champion smoker" and, though he quit around the time he filmed Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home , the damage was done. Nimoy appeared on CNN's Piers Morgan Live on 10 February 2014 to discuss his condition. [1] [2]

Nimoy passed away on 27 February 2015 , as a result of his illness at the age of eighty-three. Several of his Star Trek co-stars payed tribute to Nimoy after his death. [3]

On 2 June 2015, NASA honored Nimoy when they named an asteroid after him, 4864 Nimoy. [4]

His son, Adam, made the 2016 documentary For the Love of Spock in Nimoy's memory.

His legacy continued through the 2017 documentary film created by his daughter, Julie, son, Adam, and narrated by John de Lancie , titled Remembering Leonard Nimoy , designed to raise awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . [5]

Early career [ ]

Nimoy began his Hollywood career with small roles in the 1951 films Queen for a Day and Paramount Pictures ' Rhubarb. Nimoy then played the title role in the boxing drama Kid Monk Baroni and played the Martian invader Narab in the science fiction serial Zombies of the Stratosphere (later edited and released as a feature, Satan's Satellites ), both released in 1952. In 1954, he made an uncredited appearance in the classic science fiction film Them! , as did Richard Bellis , Lawrence Dobkin , and William Schallert . Four years later, he had a supporting role in another science fiction film, The Brain Eaters.

In the mid-1950s, Nimoy began appearing in various television guest shots, with his first being a 1954 episode of Dragnet. (He would make a second appearance on this series four years later, with his " Amok Time " co-star Celia Lovsky .) Between 1958 and 1960 alone, Nimoy was seen on such classic television shows as Sea Hunt, Wagon Train (working with future Trek co-stars Roy Jenson , Susan Oliver , and Phillip Pine , as well as Nehemiah Persoff ), The Tall Man (two episodes, including one with Marianna Hill and Charles Seel , with a story credit by D.C. Fontana ), Outlaws (in an episode with Alfred Ryder ), The Rebel (with Arlene Martel ), and Bonanza (in an episode written by Gene L. Coon ).

Nimoy's subsequent TV credits include a 1961 episode of Rawhide and a 1963 episode of Perry Mason with Arthur Batanides , a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone with Dean Stockwell (and concocted by Sam Rolfe ), a 1962 episode of Laramie with Michael Forest , and a 1962 episode of Sam Benedict with Paul Carr and Joanne Linville , as well as numerous episodes of the classic western series Gunsmoke, including one in 1963 with Bill Zuckert and another in 1966 with Richard Webb . He was also seen in a 1962 episode of The Untouchables , which, like Star Trek, was produced by Desilu before it became part of Paramount. In 1964, he appeared in two episodes of the classic sci-fi anthology series, The Outer Limits – "The Production and Decay of Strange Particles" with Joseph Ruskin , Barry Russo , Rudy Solari , Robert Fortier and Willard Sage ; and "I, Robot" with Peter Brocco , Marianna Hill, and John Hoyt . He also co-starred with Sally Kellerman in a 1966 episode of A Man Called Shenandoah.

His feature film credits during the 1960s consisted of a supporting role in the 1963 drama The Balcony (with Peter Brocco), an uncredited appearance in the acclaimed John Frankenheimer thriller Seven Days in May, and a role alongside Michael Forest and Robert Ellenstein in the 1966 drama Deathwatch (featuring music by Gerald Fried ). Nimoy also produced the latter film.

Nimoy first worked with his future Trek co-star DeForest Kelley (Doctor Leonard McCoy ) in a 1959 episode of 26 Men entitled "Trail of Revenge." Prior to Star Trek, he again worked with Kelley in a 1963 episode of The Virginian. Nimoy also appeared in two 1965 episodes of The Virginian, working with Michael Ansara , Hal Baylor , Richard Beymer , Rex Holman , Sherry Jackson , and Ken Lynch .

In 1964, Nimoy and his soon-to-be Star Trek co-star William Shatner worked together for the first time. This occasion occurs in the Joseph Sargent -directed episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. entitled "The Project Strigas Affair." In this episode, Nimoy and Shatner are on opposite sides, with Nimoy playing the right-hand-man of a diplomat attempting to initiate a war between the United States and the Soviet Union and Shatner playing the reluctant U.N.C.L.E. recruit who must help foil the diplomat's plot. In one climatic scene Nimoy pulls a gun on Shatner. Nimoy and Shatner began working together on Star Trek just two years later.

The Star Trek years [ ]

Late in 1963, Nimoy landed a guest role on The Lieutenant, a series starring Gary Lockwood and created by Gene Roddenberry . The episode he appeared in, entitled "In the Highest Tradition," co-starred Roddenberry's future wife, Majel Barrett . Roddenberry was also developing a science fiction series at the time and thought Nimoy would be perfect for it. Although he was initially up for the role of the ship's chief medical officer, Nimoy accepted the role as a half-Vulcan/half-Human named Spock on Roddenberry's series, entitled Star Trek, which made his career and changed his life.

Nimoy along with Majel Barrett had his first day for "The Cage" at the Desilu Culver Stage 15 on 17 November 1964 , performing color makeup tests inside the Menagerie set.

Spock, 2265

Nimoy as Spock in the second pilot, " Where No Man Has Gone Before "

The first Star Trek pilot, " The Cage ", was filmed in November and December of 1964 . Although the pilot was rejected by NBC , the studio allowed Roddenberry to produce a second pilot, which became " Where No Man Has Gone Before ". Many cast changes were made between the first pilot and the second, and Nimoy was the only principal cast member from "The Cage" to return for the second pilot. Following this pilot, Star Trek was picked up as a series.

During his time on Star Trek, Nimoy was responsible for many traits which have become associated with Spock or Vulcans in general, including the Vulcan salute and the Vulcan nerve pinch . For his supporting role as Spock, Nimoy was nominated for an Emmy Award for each of the show's three years. Despite this, it was while working on Star Trek that Nimoy became an alcoholic. He never drank during the day or during work, but the moment work was done, he would desperately want a drink; because of that, he also became suicidal and depressed. [6] Fortunately, Nimoy was able to attain remissions of these illnesses and continue his acting career.

Low ratings led to Star Trek 's cancellation in 1969 . Including the two pilots, Nimoy appeared in all 79 episodes of the series, the only actor to do so.

After Star Trek [ ]

After the cancellation of Star Trek , Nimoy moved on to another Desilu/Paramount series, Mission: Impossible , playing the regular character of Paris for two seasons (1969 – 1971). He joined the series as a replacement for the departing Martin Landau , who, ironically, was up for the role of Spock before Nimoy got the part. Lee Meriwether had a recurring role during Nimoy's first season on Mission: Impossible. Brooke Bundy and Alfred Ryder had roles in "The Controllers", the first episode shot with Nimoy. Many other past and future Star Trek actors appeared with Nimoy during his two seasons on Mission: Impossible, including Arlene Martel and David Opatoshu in the episode "Terror."

After Mission: Impossible, Nimoy starred with Lloyd Haynes , Malachi Throne , William Windom , and John Winston in the ABC Movie of the Week Assault on the Wayne (for Paramount Television ) and co-starred with Yul Brynner , Richard Crenna , and TOS guest actor Jeff Corey in the western film Catlow, both released in 1971. He then starred in three 1973 TV movies: an unsold pilot titled Baffled! (as a race car driver who has visions of people dying), Columbo: A Stitch in Crime (as a murderous doctor), and The Alpha Caper (co-starring James B. Sikking , Paul Sorensen , Victor Tayback , and Kenneth Tobey , and executive produced by Harve Bennett ).

In 1973, Nimoy was hired by Gene Roddenberry to star in the title role of his science fiction pilot (and possibly series) The Questor Tapes , however he got replaced by Robert Foxworth . Nimoy didn't receive a word from Roddenberry about him being dumped, and only found it out when he accidentally met Foxworth on the studio lot. [7]

Nimoy made his directorial debut with a 1973 episode of Night Gallery entitled "Death on a Barge," which featured one-time TOS guest actor Lou Antonio and future TNG guest actress Brooke Bundy . Nimoy cast Lesley Ann Warren, one of his Mission: Impossible castmates, in the lead role in this episode. He also appeared as an actor on Night Gallery, in a segment entitled "She'll Be Company For You," alongside Kathryn Hays , and directed by TOS cinematographer Gerald Perry Finnerman . Finnerman also photographed the aforementioned episode directed by Nimoy. Also in 1973, Nimoy made his Broadway debut in a revival of the play Full Circle, working with future Star Trek: Enterprise guest star Peter Weller .

In 1976, Nimoy began hosting a television series called In Search Of… , a syndicated documentary program dealing with topics such as Bigfoot and other monsters, Atlantis, Stonehenge, Jack the Ripper, and other unsolved mysteries. Although the series ended in 1982, the A&E Network and later A&E's The History Channel aired In Search Of… throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s.

Return to Star Trek [ ]

In 1973 Nimoy reprised the role of Spock for the first time since 1969, voicing the character in Star Trek: The Animated Series for Filmation . He only agreed to reprise the role after his demand that George Takei and Nichelle Nichols be hired back on the series were met. [8]

Although this series ended in 1974 after only 22 episodes, a new live-action series, Star Trek: Phase II , began production shortly thereafter. Nimoy, however, opted out of this series after learning that his role would be essentially a part-time one, and his character was replaced by a young Vulcan named Xon , who would have been played by David Gautreaux .

While Paramount was busy bringing Phase II to fruition, Nimoy moved on, continuing to host In Search Of… , appearing in the Broadway production of Equus, and starring in the 1978 remake of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, earning a Saturn Award nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for his work on the latter. By this time, production on Phase II had ceased and the pilot for that series was being turned into the first Star Trek film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture . Nimoy was ultimately persuaded to reprise Spock for The Motion Picture , after Robert Wise , on the urgings of his wife Millicent , had made it a prerogative for him to accept the director's position on that movie. ( Star Trek Movie Memories , 1995, pp. 87-88) As a consequence, Nimoy in turn replaced Gautreaux as the principal Vulcan character for the movie. The Movie debuted in the United States on 7 December 1979 and marked the beginning of a new era for Star Trek and for Nimoy.

Nimoy and Crosby

Nimoy with Denise Crosby on the set of "Unification II"

Nimoy received a Saturn Award nomination for his portrayal of Spock in The Motion Picture . He went on to play Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan , although he was at first reluctant to do so. Spock seemingly perished at the end of Wrath of Khan, but Nimoy returned to the role for four more films: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock , Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home , Star Trek V: The Final Frontier , and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country . He also directed and co-wrote the stories for The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home and executive produced and co-wrote the story for The Undiscovered Country. He earned Saturn Award nominations for directing The Search for Spock and for his performance in and direction of The Voyage Home.

In late- 1986 , Nimoy was asked by Paramount Pictures chairman of the board Frank Mancuso, Sr. to produce Star Trek: The Next Generation , planned to be launched by the studio the following year, however Nimoy refused the offer. [9]

In 1991 Nimoy reprised his role as Spock for the TNG episodes " Unification I " and " Unification II ". Due to his schedule, the second part was filmed prior to the first part as most of his appearance were in the second part. A few additional scenes of the first part were filmed during principal photography of the second part. Nimoy filmed his scenes for both episodes between Monday 9 September 1991 and Friday 13 September 1991 on Paramount Stage 8 , 9 , and 16 . The call sheet for Tuesday 10 September 1991 advised the transportation department to pick up Nimoy at his hotel at 5:10 am because of his makeup call at 5:40 am.

In 1994 , Nimoy was asked to appear as Spock in Star Trek Generations , the seventh Star Trek feature and the first to feature the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The film's script originally had a role for Nimoy, but it was not to Nimoy's satisfaction and he declined the offer. Explaining his reason for turning down the film, Nimoy remarked:

Several costumes and costume pieces worn by Nimoy were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including his headband from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home . [10]

Other film and television works [ ]

Between his work on the Star Trek films, Nimoy worked on numerous television projects. In 1981, he directed and starred in his own television adaptation of the one-man play Vincent, portraying Vincent van Gogh's brother, Theo. In 1982, he received his fourth Emmy nomination for his supporting role in the telefilm A Woman Called Golda and appeared in the mini-series Marco Polo, starring Kenneth Marshall in the title role and co-starring F. Murray Abraham and David Warner .

Also around this time, Nimoy directed an episode of William Shatner's new series, T.J. Hooker, reportedly in preparation for directing Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. ( Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition) special features) He later guest-starred on the series, which also starred Star Trek: Deep Space Nine performer James Darren .

From 1982 to 1987, Nimoy hosted Standby… Lights! Camera! Action! , a Nickelodeon series featuring behind-the-scenes footage from then-current or upcoming films and interviews with film professionals who fit the theme of that episode. One episode focused on the making of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and saw Nimoy interviewing George Takei.

Nimoy later appeared in the James Goldstone -directed TV movie The Sun Also Rises, based on the Ernest Hemingway novel. He then worked with director Tim Burton to play the villain in the Faerie Tale Theatre production of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp. Nimoy also lent his voice to the role of Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie, the 1986 film based on the animated series. Among the others who voiced characters in the movie are Michael Bell , Roger C. Carmel , Walker Edmiston , Clive Revill , Frank Welker , and Orson Welles .

In 1987, Nimoy directed the hit comedy 3 Men and a Baby, his first non- Star Trek feature film. Subsequent films he directed were The Good Mother (1988), Funny About Love (1990, featuring Michael Bofshever and Celeste Yarnall ), and Holy Matrimony (1994, starring Jeffrey Nordling and John Schuck ); frequent Trek editor Peter E. Berger edited all three of these films. Nimoy's latest directorial effort was a 1995 episode of the short-lived UPN series Deadly Games, starring Christopher Lloyd .

Nimoy starred in the 1991 television drama Never Forget, directed by Joseph Sargent , and voiced the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud in the 1993 animated movie The Halloween Tree. In addition, he voiced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the 1994 live-action/animated fantasy The Pagemaster, which also featured the voices of Patrick Stewart , Whoopi Goldberg , Frank Welker, George Hearn , Robert Picardo , and Christopher Lloyd. In 1995, Nimoy appeared on The Outer Limits under the direction of his son, Adam; a remake of the 1964 episode "I, Robot" (although Nimoy played a different character than he had in the original).

In 1993, Nimoy guest starred on The Simpsons episode " Marge vs. the Monorail ", and in 1997 guest starred again in " The Springfield Files ".

As a director, Nimoy was very much invested with the actors he directed, having been one himself, as was clearly evidenced by David Gautreaux, Nimoy had replaced as the principal Vulcan character on The Motion Picture ,

"Leonard and I had a meeting once when he called and asked me to down to Paramount . I thought it was because of Star Trek III . He had many roles to cast, and he wanted to meet with me. We had a nice long conversation, which is on videotape, because he recorded all of his conversations; it helps him remember actors. We chit-chatted for a good period of time, and then he came in with what I call the slider, which was, "How did you feel…how did it affect you…essentially, what did it do to your life when I came back and played Mr. Spock, thus removing your character?" I looked at him, wondering if he was trying to purge himself of something he had felt all this time. I asked him what he meant by that, and he said, "Well, you were a young man and this was a very big moment in your life. Did I remove that moment?" I looked at him, with a thousand thoughts running through my mind. My response was, "Look, I was young, but I wasn't brand new. I had been in this business, primarily in theater, for a good long time. For me Xon and Star Trek were like a play that opened and closed on opening night, which happens all the time in theater. I had, and continue to have, another life outside whatever Xon was or was not to be. He said, "That's very good. I was hoping you would say something like that." I had no idea that he put that much investment and thought into the belief that he had upset my life." ( Starlog , issue 139, p. 14)

Later projects [ ]

In 1996, Nimoy co-founded Alien Voices with John de Lancie and writer-producer Nat Segaloff. The audio production company/troupe produced several science fiction audio productions (including the two " Spock Vs. Q " audios) and a few televised specials for the Sci-Fi Channel : The First Men in the Moon in 1997 and The Lost World in 1998. Nimoy appeared in both of these films along with de Lancie, Ethan Phillips , and Dwight Schultz . William Shatner also starred in the first project; Roxann Dawson and Armin Shimerman had roles in the second.

In 1997, Nimoy played the Biblical prophet Samuel. His partner in the TNT movie was TNG guest star Maurice Roëves .

Leonard Nimoy, No 1 Vulcan shirt

Nimoy shows his opinion of Spock at the 2007 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention

In 1998, Nimoy appeared in a made-for-TV adaptation of Aldous Huxley's book, Brave New World, along with Miguel Ferrer , Daniel Dae Kim , and Aron Eisenberg . He then voiced a trio of characters in the 2000 CGI-animated film Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists, along with John Rhys-Davies . After voicing the role of the King of Atlantis in Walt Disney 's 2001 film Atlantis: The Lost Empire (along with Phil Morris and David Ogden Stiers ), Nimoy announced his retirement from acting, deciding instead to focus on photography.

Despite his retirement, Nimoy made appearances with William Shatner in several commercials for Priceline.com in 2005 and 2006. Also in 2006, Nimoy did commercials for the arthritis pain medication, Aleve, in which Nimoy was concerned that his arthritis would prevent him from delivering the Vulcan salute to his fans at a convention.

Nimoy and Quinto

Nimoy with Zachary Quinto at the Comic-Con International (2007)

In 2007, it was announced that Nimoy would come out of retirement to play Spock in the 2009 Star Trek feature being produced and directed by J.J. Abrams . When proclaiming his reasons for accepting the role, he stated it was because the film has "a great director" (Abrams), "a wonderful actor playing the young Spock" ( Zachary Quinto ), and "a fabulous script" (written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman ). He summed up his decision by stating "it was logical." [11]

In a July 2007 interview with Anthony Pascale of TrekMovie.com , Nimoy gave three reasons for coming out of retirement to play Spock for the new film. His first reason was that it was Star Trek and that he owed it to the franchise to give his attention to the project. The second reason was his admiration for producer/director J.J. Abrams, and the third was that Spock had an "essential" and "interesting" role in the script. [12]

Production on Star Trek began on 7 November 2007 . Nimoy began filming his scenes the following month. Shooting wrapped in March 2008. Nimoy can be heard reciting the famous line "Space… the final frontier" in the teaser trailer for the new Star Trek film, which debuted 18 January 2008 . According to the film's co-writer, Roberto Orci, the line is a new recording which Nimoy made on the film's set in-between takes. [13]

Following his work on Star Trek completed, Nimoy began appearing on Fringe, the science fiction television series created and produced by three members of Star Trek 's creative team: J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. On the show, Nimoy plays the recurring role of the enigmatic founder of Massive Dynamics, William Bell, a character which had previously been referenced but never seen. Nimoy voiced the role for the episode "Bad Dreams," which was written and directed by Akiva Goldsman and made his first on-camera appearance in the first season finale aired 12 May 2009. Nimoy returned for an extended arc that fall. Fringe was Nimoy's first foray into episodic television since appearing on Becker in 2001.

For his role on Fringe, Nimoy received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Guest Starring Role on Television in 2010. Fellow Trek actors Michelle Forbes and Raymond Cruz are also nominated in this category. [14] Nimoy also received a Boston Society of Film Critics Award in 2009 and a Critic's Choice Award nomination at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award in 2010 as part of the Star Trek ensemble. His face was used for card #103 "Ambassador Spock" of the 2013 virtual collectible card battle game Star Trek: Rivals .

On 19 April 2010, Nimoy announced his decision to again retire from acting. In explaining his decision to The Toronto Star, Nimoy stated, " I've been doing this professionally for 60 years. I love the idea of going out on a positive note. I've had a great, great time. " He also said he would not appear in the next Star Trek film, claiming it would be unfair to Zachary Quinto , the actor currently portraying Spock . Nimoy recently filmed what he said would be his final appearance on the FOX series Fringe (created by Abrams with Star Trek scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci ). [15] He also confirmed that in 2010, he would portray the voice of the main antagonist, Master Xehanort, in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep . He reprised the role in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance .

On 22 October 2010 it was announced that due to a personal family emergency Nimoy would not be attending that day's Star Trek convention in Chicago. Later it was revealed that he was in the hospital.

On 26 May 2011 the new music video from Bruno Mars titled The Lazy Song was released. The video features Nimoy in a leading role and the second time he broke his "retirement". In the music video Nimoy is making several Trek jokes including the William Shatner on television scene and his "Vulcan salute" posing in front of the mirror. Nimoy explained his recent acting work in an email to TrekMovie: The Atlantic Records Executive who signed Bruno Mars on to this label is the son of his wife Susan Bay, Aaron Bay-Schuck. [16]

Nimoy returned to the Transformers franchise in 2011 when he lent his voice to the duplicitous Sentinel Prime in the third live action film Dark of the Moon working with Jack Axelrod , George Coe , Michael Dorn , Robert Foxworth , Glenn Morshower , Keith Szarabajka , Tom Virtue and Frank Welker . Foxworth, Morshower, and Welker all acted in the first three films.

On 20 July 2011, Nimoy made it official that he would retire from convention appearances after two more official Star Trek conventions, held by Creation Entertainment. These included the Las Vegas convention on August 11-14, 2011 and in Chicago on September 30-October 2, as well as the Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. Nimoy agreed to return to Chicago after having to cancel the previous year. [17]

In 2012, Nimoy once again reprised the role of Spock in The Big Bang Theory episode "The Transporter Malfunction", this time voicing a vintage Spock action figure who acts as Sheldon Cooper 's conscience in his dreams. The following year, he and Quinto played themselves in a commercial for the Audi S7 car that was rife with Star Trek references – including a brief reprisal of the ending of The Wrath of Khan , and Nimoy applying the nerve pinch to Quinto – as well as a repeat performance of "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins". [18]

Leonard Nimoy's credit on STID

Leonard Nimoy's credit on Star Trek Into Darkness , his final film appearance

In 2013, Nimoy reprised the role of Spock in Star Trek Into Darkness in a small cameo role, warning the alternate reality Spock of Khan Noonien Singh 's threat and how the original crew beat him . This was his final Star Trek appearance before his death in 2015.

Before his death and along with William Shatner , Nimoy was rumored to appear in Star Trek Beyond , in a scene with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto , as the future alternate reality versions of the characters. [19] Nimoy's death (via that of the prime universe Spock) was instead acknowledged in the film, which bears a dedication to Nimoy.

In 2019 , Nimoy's widow, Susan Bay, revealed that he had asked nurses to aid in his death. [20]

Star Trek appearances [ ]

  • Star Trek: The Original Series (80 episodes)
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series (voice only, every episode)
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
  • Star Trek Generations (Picture only)
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Star Trek Beyond (Picture only)
  • " Unification I "
  • " Unification II "
  • DS9 : " Trials and Tribble-ations " (archive footage)
  • " If Memory Serves " (archive footage)
  • " Unification III " (archive footage)
  • " Kobayashi " (archive voice footage)

Additional appearances [ ]

Spock (mirror) TOS: "Mirror, Mirror"

Directing credits [ ]

Writing credits [ ].

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (uncredited)
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (uncredited)
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (story with Harve Bennett )
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (story with Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal )
  • Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator
  • Star Trek: 25th Anniversary
  • Star Trek: Judgment Rites
  • Star Trek Online

Star Trek interviews [ ]

  • "Leonard Nimoy – Spock on the Next Generation", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine  issue 17 , pp. 14-15, interviewed by Marc Shapiro
  • "Leonard Nimoy – Ambassador Spock", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine  issue 18 , pp. 48-49, interviewed by Marc Shapiro

Bibliography [ ]

  • I Am Not Spock – Author
  • I Am Spock – Author

Music discography [ ]

  • Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space (Dot Records, 1967)
  • Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy (Dot Records, 1968)
  • The Way I Feel (Dot Records, 1968)
  • The Touch of Leonard Nimoy (Dot Records, 1969)
  • The New World of Leonard Nimoy (Dot Records, 1970)
  • Leonard Nimoy: Space Odyssey (Pickwick Records, US, 1972)
  • Mr. Spock Presents Music From Outer Space (Rediffusion Records, UK, 1973)
  • Outer Space / Inner Mind (Famous Twinsets/Paramount Records, US, 1974)
  • Leonard Nimoy (Sears Records, US, 1988)
  • The Martian Chronicles (Caedmon Records, 1976)
  • Illustrated Man (Caedmon Records, 1977)
  • War of the Worlds (Caedmon Records, 1977)
  • Green Hills of Earth (Caedmon Records, 1977)
  • The Mysterious Golem (JRT Records, 1982)
  • The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins / Cotton Candy (Dot Records, 1967)
  • Theme From Star Trek / Visit To A Sad Planet (Dot Records, 1967)
  • I'd Love Making Love To You / Please Don't Try to Change My Mind (Dot Records, 1968)
  • Consilium / Here We Go 'Round Again (Dot Records, 1968)
  • The Sun Will Rise / Time to Get It Together (Dot Records, 1969)
  • Outer Space / Inner Mind (Paramount Records, 1970)
  • Leonard Nimoy / Micro-Cassette (Dot Records, release date unknown)
  • You Are Not Alone (MCA Records, 1987)
  • Highly Illogical (Rev-Ola Records, UK, 1993)
  • Leonard Nimoy Presents: Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space (Varése Sarabande, US, 1995)
  • Spaced Out: The Very Best of Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner (Universal Music/Phantom, UK, 1997)
  • Golden Throats: The Great Celebrity Sing Off (Rhino Records, US, 1988, LP; 1992, CD)
  • Golden Throats 2: More Celebrity Rock Oddities (Rhino Records, US, 1991)
  • Golden Throats 3: Sweet Hearts of Rodeo Drive (Rhino Records, US, 1995)
  • Spaced Out: The Very Best of Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner (Universal Music/Space, Canada, 1997)
  • Dr. Demento's 30th Anniversary Collection (Rhino Records, US, 2000)
  • Dr. Demento's Hits From Outer Space (Rhino Records, US, 2002)

Further reading [ ]

  • Leonard Nimoy: A Star's Trek
  • The Man Between the Ears: Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy
  • Spock Vs. Q
  • Spock Vs. Q: The Sequel

External links [ ]

  • Leonard Nimoy at Wikipedia
  • Leonard Nimoy at the Internet Movie Database
  • Leonard Nimoy at the Internet Broadway Database
  • TheOfficialLeonardNimoyFanClub.com – official fan club
  • Leonard Nimoy at TriviaTribute.com
  • Interview at the Archive of American Television
  • Leonard Nimoy at Memory Beta , the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
  • Leonard Nimoy at the Star Trek Online Wiki
  • Leonard Nimoy at StarTrek.com
  • 2 Gary Graham
  • 3 USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-G)
  • International edition
  • Australia edition
  • Europe edition

Leonard Nimoy obituary

Versatile actor, director and photographer whose career was defined by his role as Star Trek’s Mr Spock

Few actors outside soap opera become defined by a single role to the exclusion of all else in their career. But that was the case for Leonard Nimoy , who has died aged 83. He did not simply play Mr Spock, first officer of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek – he was synonymous with him, even after taking on other parts and branching out into directing and photography.

Star Trek began life on television, running for three series between 1966 and 1969, and later spawned numerous spin-offs, including a run of films of varying quality, two of which (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, from 1984, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, from 1986) Nimoy directed. “I’m very proud of having been connected with the show,” he wrote in 1975. “I felt that it dealt with morality and philosophical questions in a way that many of us would wish were part of the reality of our lives.”

In front of the camera, as the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock, he captured with delicious wit the tensions in the character. Spock’s logical, detached perspective could be infuriating to his more demonstrative colleagues; it also caused him to be amused or bewildered by the workings of humans. This could play out humorously or poignantly. He was uniquely placed, for example, to analyse coolly our emotional shortcomings: “It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want,” he mused in the first series. His dry rapport with the more passionate, full-blooded Captain James T Kirk (William Shatner) was a pleasure that endured long after the Star Trek brand itself showed signs of having been around the galaxy a few too many times.

Once seen, Spock was never forgotten. The hair, boot-polish black, was snipped short with a severe, straight fringe; it looked more like headgear than a haircut, more painted on than grown. An inch of forehead separated that fringe from a pair of sabre-like eyebrows that arched extravagantly upwards. These came in handy for conveying what the reserved Spock could not always express verbally. “The first thing I learned was that a raised eyebrow can be very effective,” said Nimoy.

Spock’s defining physical feature, though, was his pointed ears. The actor’s first reaction upon seeing them was: “If this doesn’t work, it could be a bad joke.” Sharply tapered but in no way pixieish, the ears somehow never undermined his gravitas. Or rather, Nimoy’s sober disposition precluded laughter. Besides, in a show suffused with messages of inclusivity and tolerance, it would never do for audiences to laugh at someone just because he came from Vulcan.

Nimoy contributed key details to the character, including the traditional Vulcan greeting: a hand held up and the four fingers parted to create a V. This was inspired by prayer gestures witnessed by the young Nimoy at synagogue.

He would later title his 1975 memoir I Am Not Spock. “I was trying to illuminate the actor’s process in creating a character. I talked about the fact that I grew up in Boston and Spock did not. My parents were Russian immigrants; Spock’s were not. I’m an actor who portrays this character.” He conceded, though, that the title had been a mistake and had given the erroneous impression that he was trying to shrug off his best-known role. He made amends by calling the 1995 follow-up I Am Spock.

Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Max, a barber, and Dora, and showed an interest in acting from a young age (though his father tried to persuade him to take up the accordion instead). He studied drama at Boston College and began to get small parts in theatre, film and television. At 20 he was cast in the lead role of a young boxer in the 1952 film Kid Monk Baroni, and discovered a kind of sanctuary in the prosthetics he was required to wear. “I found a home behind that makeup,” he wrote in I Am Not Spock. “I was much more confident and comfortable than I would have been, had I been told I was to play ‘a handsome young man’.”

Nimoy did military service from 1953 to 1955, during which time one of his duties was producing army talent shows. He continued acting after leaving the army and in the early 1960s began teaching acting classes, while also starring in guest roles on television series including Bonanza, Rawhide and The Twilight Zone. He established his own acting studio where he taught for three years.

Nimoy auditioned for an earlier Gene Roddenberry project, and when Roddenberry created Star Trek he thought of him for the role of Spock. “I thought it would be a challenge,” Nimoy said. “As an actor, my training had been in how to use my emotions, and here was a character who had them all locked up.”

After 79 episodes across three series, the NBC network cancelled the show because of its low ratings. Nimoy went straight into another regular gig – a role on the light-hearted spy series Mission: Impossible – and then began studying photography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He would later publish photographic studies including Shekhina (2002), a celebration of spirituality and sexuality in Judaism, and The Full Body Project (2007), focused on unorthodox female body sizes.

His acting work in the 1970s included a chilling performance in Philip Kaufman’s intelligent 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In 1979, he returned to play Spock in the rather leaden Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He would do so in a further seven Star Trek films. Among them were Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). He was the only original cast member to appear in JJ Abrams’s instalments of the revived or “rebooted” franchise, Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). His appearance in the first of those Abrams films, as the older Spock coming face to face with his younger self (Zachary Quinto), was deeply affecting and played with characteristic restraint. He also revived Spock in two 1991 episodes (“Unification I” and “Unification II”) of the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and in animated and computer-game incarnations of Star Trek.

If Nimoy never escaped association with Spock, it was not for want of trying. He wrote seven poetry collections, released several albums and established himself as a successful and varied director. Alongside his two Star Trek movies, he directed himself in a TV movie version of the one-man play Vincent (1981), about the life of Van Gogh. He scored an international box-office hit with 3 Men and a Baby (1987). He also made the drama The Good Mother (1988), starring Diane Keaton and Liam Neeson, as well as two disappointing comedies, Funny About Love (1990) and Holy Matrimony (1994).

He is survived by his second wife, Susan Bay, and by two children, Adam and Julie, from his first marriage, to Sandi Zober, which ended in divorce.

  • Leonard Nimoy
  • Star Trek (Culture)
  • Star Trek (Film)
  • US television

More on this story

star trek leonard nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, actor who played Mr Spock on Star Trek, dies aged 83

star trek leonard nimoy

Leonard Nimoy – a life in pictures

star trek leonard nimoy

'Live long and prosper:' Star Trek fans say goodbye to Leonard Nimoy

star trek leonard nimoy

Leonard Nimoy: a life in clips

star trek leonard nimoy

How Leonard Nimoy grew to love Spock as much as we did

star trek leonard nimoy

To a Star Trek fan like me, Leonard Nimoy meant everything

star trek leonard nimoy

Leonard Nimoy: one of the best Simpsons cameos ever

star trek leonard nimoy

Leonard Nimoy's other achievement: Three Men and a Baby

Most viewed.

ScreenRant

“My Approach To Spock Changed” In Star Trek 2009, Explains Leonard Nimoy

  • Leonard Nimoy's approach to playing Spock changed due to the character's personal evolution and the introduction of Zachary Quinto's younger version.
  • Star Trek 2009 showcases a broad spectrum of Spock's character, with Nimoy feeling comfortable and personally connected to the role.
  • Spock Prime, played by Nimoy, becomes a tragic figure in the alternate Kelvin Timeline, never returning to his proper universe and eventually dying on New Vulcan.

Leonard Nimoy explains his different approach to playing Spock in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek 2009 . Prior to Nimoy donning Spock's Vulcan ears in Abrams' Star Trek reboot movie, the last time the legendary actor played his Vulcan alter ego was in 1991 when Spock appeared in both Star Trek: The Next Generation 's "Unification" two-parter and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country . Nimoy played Spock about 80 years apart in Star Trek VI and TNG , but Star Trek 2009 called for a totally new performance of Spock by Nimoy.

In the Star Trek oral history, "The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years" by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, Leonard Nimoy details how his approach to playing Spock changed and how, with Zachary Quinto's portrayal of a younger Spock in the alternate Kelvin timeline, Star Trek 2009 "contains a very broad spectrum of Spock's chararacter." Read Nimoy's fascinating quote below:

My approach to the character has changed, because Spock has evolved in the sense that a lot of personal experiences have affected him. On the other hand, you’ve got Zachary Quinto coming into this movie, who is even slightly before the Spock I played in the original series. So you see him even before the place I was playing the character on the original series, and you’re seeing me giving a performance that’s totally after all of that. This movie contains a very broad spectrum of Spock’s character. I had a wonderful time making the movie. It was very close to myself. I felt totally comfortable, very much like I feel personally. Having arrived where I am as a person, and the place that Spock has arrived, I felt very, very comfortable with it. It was totally like slipping into a warm bath or an old, comfortable sweatsuit.

Star Trek 2009 Ending Explained

What happened to leonard nimoy's spock in j.j. abrams' star trek movies, spock never returned from the kelvin timeline..

Leonard Nimoy's Ambassador Spock - also referred to as Spock Prime - ends up being a tragic figure in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies . Spock Prime inadvertently helped create the alternate Kelvin Timeline when his attempt to use red matter to avert the Romulan supernova in 2387 failed. Romulus' destruction swept Nero (Eric Bana) and Spock's starships into a time portal that deposited them in the 23rd century. Nero's arrival in 2233 (25 years before Spock materialized) and his destruction of the USS Kelvin created an entirely new timeline where events of Star Trek: The Original Series and beyond happened at an accelerated pace.

Another major change caused by Nero was the destruction of Spock's homeworld of Vulcan.

After he arrived in the alternate Kelvin timeline, Spock Prime helped James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) to defeat Nero by advising him to elicit the younger Spock's help. Ambassador Spock then met his doppelgänger and devoted himself to repopulating the Vulcan population of New Vulcan. In Star Trek Into Darkness, Spock Prime told Commander Spock the tragic story of how his USS Enterprise crew defeated Khan Noonien-Singh (Ricardo Montalban), which informed the younger Spock how to beat the Kelvin Timeline's Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). Sadly, Ambassador Spock never returned to his proper universe, and the elder Spock died on New Vulcan in 2263 just as Leonard Nimoy passed away in February 2015 . However, Star Trek: Discovery season 3 established that the United Federation of Planets of the 32nd century knows about the Kelvin Timeline, implying that the Federation also learned what happened to Leonard Nimoy's Spock in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies.

Star Trek (2009) is available to stream on Paramount+.

Star Trek (2009)

Director: J.J. Abrams

Release Date: 2009-05-07

Cast: Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg

Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 127 Minutes

Genres: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure, Thriller, Space

Budget: $150 million

Studio(s): Paramount Pictures

Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures

Sequel(s): Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond

Franchise(s): Star Trek

“My Approach To Spock Changed” In Star Trek 2009, Explains Leonard Nimoy

How Leonard Nimoy was cast as Mr. Spock on ‘Star Trek’

  • Show more sharing options
  • Copy Link URL Copied!

His role as Mr. Spock made a lasting impact on pop culture, but Leonard Nimoy barely noticed when he first heard about the role back in 1966.

“I really didn’t give it a lot of thought,” Nimoy recalled of the time his agent first called about the part.

Nimoy -- who died Friday at 83 -- recalled how he won the landmark role as the relentlessly logical half-human, half-Vulcan Spock during a November 2000 interview with the TV Academy for its Archive of American Television Project.

Writer-producer Gene Roddenberry was developing “Trek” as a pilot for a sci-fi series about a team of explorers aboard a spaceship. He had worked briefly with Nimoy on another series called “The Lieutenant” and thought the actor might be right for the new show.

Nimoy, who had been working for years on TV at that point, kept a Spock-like cool.

“You hear that kind of thing and you’re [still] a long way from getting a job,” he recalled.

Roddenberry wanted to see what kind of range Nimoy had as a performer. So his agent sent over a scene the actor had done on the medical drama “Dr. Kildare.”

Roddenberry was impressed and asked Nimoy to visit the studio, where he showed him the set and costumes and began talking in detail about the project. Slowly it dawned on Nimoy that he was hearing a sales pitch.

“If I keep my mouth shut, I might have a job here,” he recalled thinking.

Once he was cast, Nimoy began trying to nail down exactly what kind of a character Spock would be. Settling on his appearance was important. Roddenberry had decided he would have pointy ears so that viewers would immediately perceive him as otherworldly.

He also wanted to give Spock red skin. But that proved problematic.

Most TVs in the mid-1960s were still black-and-white, Nimoy remembered.

With red skin, “I was going to be black on a black-and-white set,” he said.

The idea was dropped.

What do you think of Nimoy and “Star Trek”?

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

It's a date

Get our L.A. Goes Out newsletter, with the week's best events, to help you explore and experience our city.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

star trek leonard nimoy

Scott Collins is a former staff reporter for the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. He joined the staff in 2004 after previous stints at the Hollywood Reporter and Inside.com. Author of the book “Crazy Like a Fox: The Inside Story of How Fox News Beat CNN,” he is a frequent pop-culture expert on national TV, radio shows and industry panels. He left The Times in 2016.

More From the Los Angeles Times

Martín Rodríguez of "Griselda"

As the hit man Rivi in Netflix’s ‘Griselda,’ Martín Rodríguez personifies a ‘charming sociopath’

Jan. 26, 2024

Callum Turner and Austin Butler in "Masters of the Air," premiering January 26, 2024 on Apple TV+.

Review: ‘Masters of the Air’ is a visually spectacular re-creation of war centered on real-life stories

Jan. 25, 2024

A woman in glasses looks off camera.

In ‘Expats,’ Lulu Wang centers not only the lives of women but a changing Hong Kong

Monica Garcia in a shortsleeve shirt, chunky necklace with her hands folded

Reality (Von Tease) caught up with Monica Garcia. She’s done with ‘RHOSLC,’ for now

Jan. 24, 2024

Screen Rant

Leonard nimoy's surprising connection to star trek: ds9 explained.

One of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's best episodes was influenced by the work of Spock actor Leonard Nimoy - but not in the way you might think.

  • Leonard Nimoy's connection to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was through a play he performed in 1971, which inspired the best episode of DS9 season 1.
  • The episode "Duet" was based on Robert Shaw's play "The Man in the Glass Booth," in which Nimoy played dual roles.
  • "Duet" flipped a classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode, "The Conscience of the King," by presenting a more raw and natural tragedy influenced by contemporary theater.

While Leonard Nimoy's Spock would later appear - via archive footage - in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations," the iconic Star Trek: The Original Series star had a surprising connection to one of DS9 season 1's best episodes. By the time DS9 premiered in 1993, Leonard Nimoy had made what appeared to be his final appearance as Spock in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country . However, Nimoy was eventually coaxed out of retirement to reprise the role of Spock for two of J.J. Abrams's Star Trek movies, in 2009 and 2013.

As well as playing the legendary Spock in Star Trek , Leonard Nimoy was an accomplished stage actor and movie director. Nimoy directed two of the Star Trek: The Original Series movies and also worked on the scripts for three out of the six TOS movies. However, Leonard Nimoy's surprising connection to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had nothing to do with Spock, or the TOS movies. Instead, it was a play that he had performed on-stage in 1971 which would go on to inspire "Duet", the best episode of DS9 season 1.

Spock’s Star Trek: TNG Appearance Was “Dark, Flat, Who Cares”, Says Executive Producer

Leonard nimoy's connection to star trek: ds9's "duet" explained.

The original premise for "Duet", pitched by writers Lisa Rich and Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci, was the arrival of a suspected Cardassian war criminal aboard Deep Space Nine. However, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine producer Michael Piller worried that another Star Trek courtroom drama so soon after season 1's "Dax" was a bad idea. Ira Steven Behr suggested basing the episode on Robert Shaw's 1968 play The Man in the Glass Booth . In the play, a Jewish businessman, Arthur Goldman is suspected of being the Nazi war criminal Adolf Karl Dorf. Leonard Nimoy played the dual roles of Goldman and Dorf in a 1971 revival, and can be seen speaking about the play, and his iconic Star Trek role in the clip below:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 's Aamin Maritza (Harris Yulin) and The Man in the Glass Booth 's Arthur Goldman (Leonard Nimoy) have clear differences beyond the sci-fi trappings. In DS9 , Martiza is unambiguously pretending to be the war criminal Gul Darhe'el, to answer for Cardassia's brutal treatment of the Bajorans. Leonard Nimoy's character in The Man in the Glass Booth is more ambiguous. He's pretending to be Dorf and, like Maritza, forges documents to inhabit the historical monster. However, the motives of Arthur Goldman are more opaque than those of Aamin Maritza in DS9 .

"Duet" Flips A Classic Star Trek: TOS Episode

The Star Trek: The Original Series episode, "The Conscience of the King" is a more melodramatic account of a war criminal being held accountable for his crimes. Both "Duet" and The Man in the Glass Booth are compelling psychological stage plays, and yet the TOS episode is more overtly theatrical. Like Aamin Maritza in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine , Anton Karidian (Arnold Moss) is an unassuming visitor with a dark secret. Where Martiza is an innocent man playing the role of a war criminal, Karidian is the notorious mass murderer "Kodos the Executioner", playing the role of an innocent actor.

Understandably, given the Star Trek episode's Shakespeare title , "The Conscience of the King" is a tragedy that owes a heavy debt to the Bard. It's full of big performances and overwrought melodrama, culminating in Kodos' death at the hands of his daughter. Maritza dies at the end of "Duet", too, but it's a heart-wrenching moment that feels raw, natural, and unlike anything seen before in Star Trek . Where previous Trek shows had looked to the grand tragedies of Shakespeare for inspiration, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was influenced by contemporary theater and brought Gene Roddenberry's vision up to date for the 1990s.

All episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The Original Series are streaming now on Paramount+.

  • Share full article

Advertisement

Supported by

Gary Graham, ‘Alien Nation’ and ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ Actor, Dies at 73

In a 50-year acting career, Mr. Graham appeared in several shows, including “Starsky and Hutch” and “The Incredible Hulk.” But it was in science fiction where he made his biggest mark.

A man with long graying hair and a graying goatee smiles in a portrait.

By Sopan Deb

Gary Graham, a veteran actor best known for portraying Ambassador Soval on the television show “Star Trek: Enterprise” and the detective Matthew Sikes in the “Alien Nation” franchise, died on Monday at his home in Spokane Valley, Wash. He was 73.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Becky Graham, who said the cause was cardiac arrest.

After studying pre-med at the University of California, Irvine, Mr. Graham’s first credited role came in 1976, when he appeared in an episode of “The Quest,” a western series starring Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson. That role led to appearances in “Starsky and Hutch,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Dukes of Hazzard” and other television series.

His first regular role in a series was in the “Alien Nation” franchise, which began as a 1988 film starring Terence Stamp, Mandy Patinkin and James Caan. In 1989, Fox adapted it as a television show about extraterrestrials adjusting to life in Los Angeles and trying to blend in. Mr. Graham was cast as Matthew Sikes, the human detective whom Mr. Caan had played in the film. He was paired with Eric Pierpoint as George Francisco, a “Newcomer,” as members of the alien species were called.

The show ran for only one season, but it was rebooted for multiple television movies, including “Alien Nation: Dark Horizon” in 1994 and “Alien Nation: Body and Soul” in 1995.

Mr. Graham also played Soval, a Vulcan ambassador to Earth, in 12 episodes of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” which served as a prequel to the original series. It wasn’t Mr. Graham’s first experience with the “Star Trek” franchise. He had also played Tanis, a member of the Ocampa species, in an episode of “Star Trek: Voyager.”

As with other notable portrayals of Vulcans, such as Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, Mr. Graham skillfully depicted a race practiced in suppressing emotion and employing logic as a primary driver of life.

After “Enterprise,” Mr. Graham took part in unofficial “Star Trek” fan-produced projects, including the 2007 film “Star Trek: Of Gods And Men.”

Gary Rand Graham was born in Long Beach, Calif., on June 7, 1950, and grew up in Anaheim, Calif. His father, Ralph Graham, was a surgeon, and his mother, Rosemary (Taggert), was a homemaker.

Mr. Graham’s marriages to Susan Lavelle and Diane Graham ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, Mr. Graham is survived by a daughter from his marriage to Ms. Lavelle, Haylee Graham; his sisters, Colleen Bertucci and Jeannine Michele Graham; and two stepchildren from his marriage to Ms. Graham, Scott and Steve Deer.

Sopan Deb is a general assignment reporter for The New York Times. Before joining The Times, he covered Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign for CBS News. More about Sopan Deb

How 'Spock' Caused A Behind-The-Scenes Fight On Star Trek: TNG

Spock looking sad

Spock (Leonard Nimoy) appeared on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"  late in the series' run, but the mere mention of his name initially caused problems for the show's creators. In the book "The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From the Next Generation to J.J. Abrams: The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized History of Star Trek," Ira Steven Behr details the trouble he encountered by merely trying to have the Vulcan's name mentioned in an episode about the character's father.

According to the "Star Trek" writer, one of the producers on "TNG" prohibited him from even using the name "Spock" in a Season 3 episode. "When we did the 'Sarek' rewrite, the fight over the word 'Spock' was insane. I was absolutely not allowed to use the word 'Spock.' Rick [Berman] made a big issue of it and said we can't do it. There's no way. We did it once. We had McCoy show up at the beginning, but no more. No references to the original series. I said, 'It's Spock's father, we're already in that territory.' He said, 'Absolutely not.'"

Behr didn't back down, though. During a subsequent meeting with Berman, he asked why Spock's name was banned. The producer couldn't think of a reason, so he permitted Behr to use it — once. Over time, though, "TNG" adopted a more relaxed stance on references to its predecessor series.

Star Trek: TNG broke Gene Roddenberry's rules

Gene Roddenberry originally wanted "Star Trek: The Next Generation" to be far removed from  "Star Trek: The Original Series."  As such, he provided a set of rules for the series creators to abide by, one of which explicitly stated that the old crew should neither appear nor be acknowledged. "TNG" was supposed to focus on new characters and explore new concepts, but rules are meant to be broken — a sentiment that eventually applied to "TNG."

As previously mentioned, Leonard Nimoy reprised the role of Spock on "TNG." The Vulcan appears in Season 5's "Unification I" and "Unification II" episodes. This gives fans a fun slice of nostalgia while catching up with the character in his later life as he continues his quest to unify the Vulcans and the Romulus.

Spock isn't the only character from "Star Trek: The Original Series" to appear on "TNG," either. Montgomery Scott (James Doohan) appears in Season 4's "Relics," and Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) is in the pilot, so the rules were broken before the aforementioned behind-the-scenes dispute. Since then, the rule has apparently been abandoned, and the "Star Trek" franchise has embraced bringing back some blasts from the past, much to the delight of fans.

Star Trek home

  • More to Explore
  • Series & Movies

Published Jul 17, 2021

How Leonard Nimoy's Jewish Roots Inspired the Vulcan Salute

Let's dive into the history of science fiction's most famous salute

Star Trek: The Original Series

StarTrek.com

The Vulcan salute, first seen in the episode “Amok Time,” is perhaps one of pop culture’s most enduring images. It has become shorthand for not only the Star Trek franchise, but a greeting for fans from all walks of life to find each other. Accompanied by the phrase “Live long and prosper,” the salute is as key to Star Trek as starships, warp capabilities, and the phrase “to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Spock actor and Trek legend Leonard Nimoy created it on the set of The Original Series . In 2012, StarTrek.com caught up with Nimoy to ask about the history behind the gesture and how it came to life on set. Inspired by a gesture he’d seen during a blessing at an orthodox Jewish shul as a boy, Nimoy carried the memory with him until the fateful day filming the scenes on Vulcan in “Amok Time.”

“The idea came when I saw the way Joe (Pevney, the episode’s director) was staging the scene,” Nimoy told us. “He had me approach T'Pau and I felt a greeting gesture was called for. So I suggested it to Joe, who accepted it immediately.”

Not only did Nimoy take the time to speak with the site back in 2012, but he also wrote about his inspiration. Nearly ten years later, we’re honored to share his words again.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock

I grew up in an interesting inner-city neighborhood in Boston. The area was known as the West End and was written about in a book called the Urban Villagers. It was a desirable area since it was within walking distance of downtown Boston and the Boston Commons, as well as being situated along the banks of the Charles River. The population was mostly immigrants. Maybe 70% Italian and 25% Jewish. My family attended services in an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue, or “Shul.” We were especially attentive to the high holidays, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Since I was somewhat musical, I was hired as a young boy to sing in choirs for the holidays and I was therefore exposed to all of the rituals firsthand. I still have a vivid memory of the first time I saw the use of the split-fingered hands being extended to the congregation in blessing. There were a group of five or six men facing the congregation and chanting in passionate shouts of a Hebrew benediction. It would translate to “May the Lord bless you and keep you,”…etc. My Dad said, “Don’t look.” I learned later that it is believed that during this prayer, the “Shekhina,” the feminine aspect of God comes into the temple to bless the congregation. The light from this Deity could be very damaging. So we are told to protect ourselves by closing our eyes. I peeked. And when I saw the split-fingered gesture of these men... I was entranced. I learned to do it simply because it seemed so magical. It was probably 25 years later that I introduced that gesture as a Vulcan greeting in Star Trek and it has resonated with fans around the world ever since. It gives me great pleasure since it is, after all, a blessing. Live Long And Prosper, Leonard Nimoy

Get Updates By Email

IMAGES

  1. Leonard Nimoy, The Man Who Gave 'Star Trek' Its Heart

    star trek leonard nimoy

  2. Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    star trek leonard nimoy

  3. Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek Spock actor dies after suffering lung

    star trek leonard nimoy

  4. Leonard Nimoy's Son to Direct Spock Documentary

    star trek leonard nimoy

  5. Leonard Nimoy

    star trek leonard nimoy

  6. Star Trek's Spock Leonard Nimoy Passes Away at 83

    star trek leonard nimoy

COMMENTS

  1. Leonard Nimoy

    Leonard Simon Nimoy ( / ˈniːmɔɪ /; March 26, 1931 - February 27, 2015) was an American actor, famed for playing Spock in the Star Trek franchise for almost 50 years. [1] This includes originating Spock in the original Star Trek series in 1966, then Star Trek: The Animated Series, the first six Star Trek films, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

  2. Leonard Nimoy

    Leonard Nimoy died on February 27, 2015 in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83. Born March 26, 1931 Died February 27, 2015 (83) Add to list Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys 10 wins & 19 nominations total Photos 531 Known for: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home 7.3

  3. Leonard Nimoy filmography

    Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931 - February 27, 2015) was an American actor who had a career in film and television for seven decades. [1] [2] Nimoy's breakthrough role was his portrayal of Spock in Star Trek.

  4. Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's Mr Spock, dies at 83

    US actor Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr Spock in the cult sci-fi series Star Trek, has died at the age of 83 in Los Angeles, his family has said. His son, Adam, said he died of end-stage...

  5. Leonard Nimoy

    March 26, 1931 · Boston, Massachusetts, USA Died February 27, 2015 · Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, USA (end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) Birth name Leonard Simon Nimoy Nickname Lenny Height 5′ 11¾″ (1.82 m) Mini Bio Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Dora (Spinner) and Max Nimoy, who owned a barbershop.

  6. Leonard Nimoy Changed Star Trek History With One Mysterious ...

    Leonard Nimoy Changed Star Trek History With One Mysterious Improvised Word. I watch a lot of movies, but even ones that stab at my heart rarely make me tear up. "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ...

  7. Leonard Nimoy, Spock of 'Star Trek,' Dies at 83

    1017 Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing the character Spock in the Star Trek television shows and films, died at 83. NBC, via Photofest By Virginia Heffernan Feb. 27, 2015

  8. Leonard Nimoy

    Leonard Nimoy (born March 26, 1931, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.—died February 27, 2015, Los Angeles, California) American actor known for his portrayal of the stoic, cerebral Mr. Spock in the science fiction television and film franchise Star Trek.

  9. Leonard Nimoy, best remembered as Mr. Spock on 'Star Trek ...

    Leonard Nimoy, best remembered by "Star Trek" fans as the iconic Mr. Spock, died Friday. He was 83. His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed reports of Nimoy's death at his Los Angeles home,...

  10. Leonard Nimoy: Tributes pour in for "Star Trek" actor

    By Lauren Moraski Updated on: February 27, 2015 / 4:55 PM EST / CBS News Tributes are pouring in for Leonard Nimoy, who died Friday at age 83. Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015 36 photos Known for...

  11. Leonard Nimoy

    26 March 1931 Place of birth: West End, Massachusetts, USA Date of death: 27 February 2015 Place of death: Bel-Air, California, USA Awards for Trek: Boston Society of Film Critics Award winner Broadcast Film Critics Association Award nominee Emmy Award nominee (3x) Hugo Award nominee (3x) Saturn Award 1 win, nominee (4x) Scream Award nominee

  12. Leonard Nimoy Talks 'Trek', TV, and More

    Leonard Nimoy Talks 'Trek', TV, and More For his birthday we're honored to reshare our exclusive interview with the legend himself. By StarTrek.com Staff StarTrek.com This extensive interview originally ran on May 5, 2012. Today, we're honoring Leonard Nimoy's birthday with its reissue. Leonard Nimoy is back - not that he really ever left.

  13. Leonard Nimoy obituary

    Leonard Nimoy, actor who played Mr Spock on Star Trek, dies aged 83. Read more. In front of the camera, as the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock, he captured with delicious wit the tensions in the ...

  14. EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Leonard Nimoy Talks Star Trek Into Darkness

    StarTrek.com chatted with Nimoy a few days after the film opened in the U.S., and he filled us in on how his Star Trek Into Darkness turn came to be, how it was pulled off and - get this - how he'd be willing to beam out of retirement again to work with J.J. Abrams on the next Star… WARS film.

  15. Remembering Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

    Published Feb 27, 2015 Remembering Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015 Remembering Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015 By StarTrek.com Staff StarTrek.com is deeply saddened to report the passing of Leonard Nimoy.

  16. "My Approach To Spock Changed" In Star Trek 2009, Explains Leonard Nimoy

    Story by John Orquiola • 3w Leonard Nimoy played Spock again in Star Trek 2009 almost 20 years after he last played the Vulcan, and he explains his new approach to Spock.

  17. How Leonard Nimoy was cast as Mr. Spock on 'Star Trek'

    Feb. 27, 2015 1:27 PM PT. His role as Mr. Spock made a lasting impact on pop culture, but Leonard Nimoy barely noticed when he first heard about the role back in 1966. "I really didn't give it ...

  18. Remembering Leonard Nimoy

    February 27, 2016, was the first anniversary of the passing of Leonard Nimoy. It is possibly a universal reaction to death for those of us left behind to think of the last time we saw a late friend or loved one in person. That last interaction, that last vision, is often a meteor strike to our memory leaving an indelible and permanent mark.

  19. Star Trek: 8 Best Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Leonard Nimoy

    Published Apr 8, 2022 While every Star Trek fan knows Spock, there's much to appreciate about Leonard Nimoy and his impact behind the scenes. There would be no Star Trek without Leonard Nimoy. At least, not the franchise as fans know it and love it.

  20. Leonard Nimoy's Surprising Connection To Star Trek: DS9 Explained

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Aamin Maritza (Harris Yulin) and The Man in the Glass Booth's Arthur Goldman (Leonard Nimoy) have clear differences beyond the sci-fi trappings.In DS9, Martiza is unambiguously pretending to be the war criminal Gul Darhe'el, to answer for Cardassia's brutal treatment of the Bajorans.Leonard Nimoy's character in The Man in the Glass Booth is more ambiguous.

  21. William Shatner Reflects on Fallout With Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy

    'Star Trek' icon William Shatner chats with ET about his book, 'Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder,' out now.

  22. Remembering Leonard Nimoy

    Remembering Leonard Nimoy | Star Trek Remembering Leonard Nimoy We remember the life of one of Trek's greatest icons. As we remember the anniversary of his passing, StarTrek.com is celebrating the life of Leonard Nimoy with a look back at some images from his Star Trek career.

  23. Gary Graham, 'Alien Nation' and 'Star Trek: Enterprise' Actor, Dies at

    As with other notable portrayals of Vulcans, such as Leonard Nimoy's Spock, Mr. Graham skillfully depicted a race practiced in suppressing emotion and employing logic as a primary driver of life ...

  24. How 'Spock' Caused A Behind-The-Scenes Fight On Star Trek: TNG

    Spock (Leonard Nimoy) appeared on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" late in the series' run, but the mere mention of his name initially caused problems for the show's creators. In the book "The ...

  25. How Leonard Nimoy's Jewish Roots Inspired the Vulcan Salute

    Published Jul 17, 2021 How Leonard Nimoy's Jewish Roots Inspired the Vulcan Salute Let's dive into the history of science fiction's most famous salute By Leonard Nimoy StarTrek.com The Vulcan salute, first seen in the episode "Amok Time," is perhaps one of pop culture's most enduring images.