Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

Beloved Star Trek actor dies aged 83

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

by Phil de Semlyen |
Published on

Leonard Nimoy, the much-loved actor and long-time Star Trek lead, has died in Los Angeles. He was 83.

According to The New York Times, his wife Susan Bay Nimoy, who confirmed his death, attributed the cause to chronic pulmonary disease. Nimoy himself had attributed his ill-health to a long-ceased smoking habit.

As the internet will be swift to note, Leonard Nimoy lived long and prospered. Born in Boston to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, Nimoy acted in neighbourhood theatre from the age of eight, later scoring his first major role in an amateur production of a Clifford Odets play aged 17. Fuelled by his experiences on the stage and encouraged by his grandfather, Nimoy revisited the craft in his twenties after a three-year stint in the US Army and a short spell at college.

Moving to LA, he was soon teaching the craft in Hollywood and paying the rent with small roles TV shows and movies, including a method turn as a US sergeant in 1954 giant ant B-movie Them!. Most notable was Kid Monk Baroni (1952), in which he played a hoodlum a million lightyears removed from the character who’d make him a star in the 1960s.

It was in scoring the role of the Enterprise's half-Vulcan, half-human science officer, Spock, in the 1965 pilot episode of Star Trek that his career was sent into overdrive. Nimoy would go on to play the character across countless episodes and eight movies (including a cameo in J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot). He also provided the voice for the character in an animated spinoff.

He also made his mark as a director, making one of the finest Star Trek movies, The Search For Spock, as well as 3 Men And A Baby, and as an occasional musician, poet and photographer. As Nimoy recorded in the first of two autobiographies, he sometimes struggled to reconcile himself with a role that grew to be all-encompassing but also afforded him celebrity and the chance to give voice to an iconic personality. “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds," he noted in I Am Not Spock. "To be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien."

Trekkies worldwide will be offering up a Vulcan salute to the great man. LLAP.

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