Veteran Stage, Screen and Star Trek Actor Leonard Nimoy Passes Away, Aged 83
Veteran actor and director Leonard Nimoy has passed away aged 83.
The actor, who was best known for his portrayal of the half-Vulcan science officer Mr. Spock from the Star Trek franchise, was also notable for directing two of the Star Trek movies (the third and fourth instalments, respectively), as well as the popular 1987 comedy Three Men And A Baby.
Tributes to this iconic TV and film personality have flooded in from all angles, from Canadians defacing their $5 banknotes by âSpockingâ them, to a unique and exceptionally touching tribute from astronaut Terry W. Virts, who took a photo of a Vulcan salute given whilst aboard the International Space Station, just as the vessel passed over the actorâs home town of Boston, Massachusetts.
Further tributes from Nimoy’s colleagues in the arts and entertainment industries, and elsewhere, have been touching and, at times, surprising.
Long time co-star William Shatner (who portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series, as well as 7 of the related feature films), said of Nimoy “I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.” George Takei, also a Star Trek co-star, called him not only an âextraordinarily talented manâ but also noted that he was âa very decent Human beingâ.
US President Barack âI loved Spockâ Obama said of Nimoy that he was, “a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time.” Such an admirer of Nimoy’s was the US President, that when they met in 2007, Obama actually greeted him with a Vulcan salute.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, praised Nimoy for making âthe journey into the final frontier accessible to us allâ.
Fellow sci-fi Actor Christopher Judge, whose film credits include The Dark Knight Rises, but who is most famous for his portrayal of Teal’C in TV’s ‘Stargate SG-1’ Tweeted, âRIP Mr Nimoy. I hope my eyebrow made you proud. It was a ten year homage to you sir. You are my hero. Indeedâ
The flood of tributes directed at Nimoy’s passing not only reflect his status as an icon of television and film, but also his generosity of spirit.
In 2014, actor Walter Koenig, who played Pavel Chekhov in Star Trek, revealed that Nimoy had personally appealed to the show’s producers to have African American actress Nichelle Nichols’ pay raised to equal that of co-stars Koenig and George Takei, which they then did. Nimoy also refused to voice the character of Mr. Spock in Star Trek: The Animated Series unless the producers first hired Nichols and Takei, who had not been cast at that time. For this, and many other acts of kindness on set, ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry was known to refer to Nimoy as âthe conscience of Star Trekâ.
Speaking following her long-time colleague’s death, Nichols, 82, said, âHis vision and heart are bigger than the universe. I will miss him very much and send heartfelt wishes to his family.”
Away from Star Trek, Nimoy was also notable for his occasional TV appearances in The Simpsons and Futurama, as well as his hosting of paranormal series In Search Of… and his recurring role in Mission: Impossible.
Nimoy also appeared in small parts, or Guest Star slots in iconic US shows such as Dragnet, Wagon Train (which is ironic, as Trek creator Gene Roddenberry originally pitched his show as Wagon Train to the stars!), Bonanza, Columbo Rawhide, The Man From U.N.C.L.E and, more recently, Big Bang Theory.
Other fan-favourite credits include his voicing of the character Galvatron in the cult 1986 animated feature Transformers: The Movie and his performance in 1978’s critically-acclaimed Invasion of the Body Snatchers re-make.
Early in his career, Nimoy also enjoyed a small role in the 1954 science fiction movie Them! which has since come to be viewed as a classic creature feature.
Leonard Nimoy was also a noted stage actor, appearing in plays such as The Fiddler On The Roof, an adaptation of Ken Keseys novel One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (in which he played McMurphy), Sherlock Holmes, The King And I, My Fair Lady, Equus and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
He also wrote, directed and starred in Vincent, a play based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh, which he later published in book form.
Away from acting completely, Nimoy was a qualified pilot, a published photographer and sometime musician. He could also read and speak fluent Yiddish. He was also active in several charitable organisations, including the American Cancer Society, the American Foundation For Equal Rights and most famously, the Nimoy Foundation, which was created to âencourage, recognise and support the work of artistsâ by granting money to aspiring creators.
Nimoy, also a successful author who published a two-volume autobiography beginning with I Am Not Spock and ending with I Am Spock, was also known as a poet, publishing several volumes throughout his later life, some of which also included his photography.
It is fitting, then, that Leonard Nimoy’s final words to his many fans were warm and poetic. Just a few days before he died, Leonard left this message on his Twitter page, âA life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.â
Leonard Nimoy was more than just a legendary TV and film actor; he was a sweet and noble soul. An artist, an inspiration and an ever-popular presence in any role he performed, be it as an alien explorer, a husband and father, or even a grandfather. LLAP.