Famed Spock Actor, Leonard Nimoy, Dies at 83

Photo courtesy of Joe Abbruscato, Flickr Creative Commons

The man best known for his iconic role as Spock in the popular television series “Star Trek,” which aired from 1966 to 1969, passed away on Friday, his wife told the New York Times. Leonard Nimoy lived to be 83. Although the famous actor was never truly able to shake his legacy as Spock, he enjoyed a career in which he dabbled in directing, writing, singing and writing poetry.

Spock, Nemoy's half-Vulcan, half-human character was wildly popular with television fans; in large part Nimoy’s role (which was nominated for three primetime Emmy awards) helped to form the subculture of “trekkies,” dedicated Star Trek fans that hold conventions, collect memorabilia, and dress as the characters. In addition to this, “Star Trek” has become a multi-million dollar franchise with spinoffs, remakes and films.

Co-star George Takei, who played Sulu in the “Star Trek” series told MSNBC, “The word extraordinary is often overused, but I think it’s really appropriate for Leonard. He was an extraordinarily talented man, but he was also a very decent human being.”

The Massachusetts native followed his role as the highly intelligent alien hybrid with roles on television shows including “Mission Impossible” and “The Great Paris,” and was in a variety of made-for-TV shows such as “Marco Polo,” “A Woman Called Golda” and “The Alpha Caper.” Nimoy had great success in a variety of artistic mediums and even saw great acclaim in theater productions including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “The King and I” and “My Fair Lady.”

“My heart is broken. I love you profoundly my dear friend. And I will miss you every day,” actor Zachary Quinto, who has taken the reigns of the character Spock in the film series reboot, tweeted

Nimoy was an avid photographer and even considered changing careers following “Star Trek,” studying photography at UCLA. He most famously directed the 1987 film “Three Men and a Baby,” among a few other directorial credits. Aside from his two autobiographical works – alternatively titled "I Am Not Spock" (1975) and "I am Spock" (1995) –  Nimoy has penned poetry volumes and even had a hand in the comic book series “Primortals,” which was published by Tekno Comix. Later in his career, Nimoy relied on voice acting as a primary source of income. He lent his voice to television shows, films and recordings as both himself and his Spock character. In his long career he has even released five albums of vocal recordings, some as his character Spock and others singing covers of popular folk music.

His wife confirmed to The New York Times that his yearlong battle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, more commonly known as COPD, was the cause of his death. The illness was credited to smoking, a habit he kicked three decades ago. 

Nimoy’s final tweet was from his personal poetry and read, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved except in memory.”