The entertainment world is mourning the loss of Leonard Nimoy, who passed away Friday morning at the age of 83 from complications due from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, attributed to years of smoking, a habit he gave up three decades ago.
Nimoy was best known for playing Lt. Spock on the TV series Star Trek and the numerous movies spun off from the show. Originally airing on NBC from 1966-69 when it often struggled in the ratings, the series became a surprise smash when it went into syndicated reruns in 1969, and became a staple of independent stations throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.
As the complete opposite of Lt. James Kirk on the Starship Enterprise, it was Spock cool demeanor in stressful situations which made him a fan favorite. His sign-off phrase was “Live Long And Prosper” and gave the “Vulcan Salute”, inspired by a sacred hand position used by the ancient Jewish priestly class (per Wikipedia.)
Nimoy also voiced the vulcan in the 1973-75 NBC Saturday morning animated series of the same name. He also appeared in the 2009 theatrical reboot and its follow up, Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Nimoy’s guest appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation in November 1991 (Unification) propelled the series over Wheel of Fortune for the top spot in syndication for a week, becoming the first show in nearly eight years to do so. Nimoy was also the first person from the original series to appear on Next Generation.
In recent years, Nimoy has made guest appearances on numerous shows, including The Simpsons (twice) and The Big Bang Theory. Before appearing on Star Trek, Nimoy had guest roles on Perry Mason, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Rawhide, and Dragnet.
Nimoy also hosted In Search Of…, a syndicated series which was a staple of local stations’ lineups in the 1970’s and 1980’s (sponsored by Bristol-Myers, of course.)
In addition to his acting work, Nimoy was also known as a director, poet, and author. He wrote two books: I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (1995). His poems were published in a book titled A Lifetime Of Love: Poems Of The Passages Of Life (2002).
And yes, he sung too: Nimoy released five albums, including Mr. Spock Music From Outer Space and Two Sides Of Leonard Nimoy. He also wrote and performed in a one-man play, Vince in 1981, based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh.
Nimoy left a legacy in science-fiction lore – no character has been played brilliantly in the genre as he has. Like another actor who brilliantly played a legendary character (the late Larry Hagman, who passed in November 2012), Nimoy unfortunately, was not rewarded by Hollywood with an absence of Emmy and Oscar wins.