Leonard Nimoy, the iconic Spock of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek, has died. He was 83. His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death to the New York Times, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Nimoy’s decades-long career began in his early 20s, with film and TV appearances through the 1950s, including the title role in Kid Monk Baroni. A harbinger of things to come, he played Narab, one of three Martian invaders in 1952’s Zombies Of The Stratosphere. It was in 1965 that he made his first appearance in the rejected Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” and the rest is history. He went on to play the character of Mr. Spock until 1969, followed by eight feature films and guest roles in the various spin-off series.
While Star Trek only lasted three seasons on TV, Nimoy went on to roles in Mission Impossible, hosting the In Search Of series and most recently in Fox’s Fringe, it was always the role of Spock that defined him for many. Nimoy himself played off that in entitling his two memoirs, I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock. The first came out in 1975 and the second was published in 1995. Nimoy was of course not finished with Spock after the original series was cancelled by NBC in 1969. He went on to play the Vulcan in six Star Trek feature films and made a cameo in the 2009 JJ Abrams reboot. Nimoy also directed 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He also directed the hit 1987 comedy Three Men And A Baby with Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg.
In addition to his work as an actor and director, Nimoy was a prodigious writer, of poetry and autobiography, supporter of the arts and exponent of his roots in Orthodox Judaism, which even went so far as being the basis for Sock’s iconic salute. (It was an approximation of the Hebrew letter shin, the first letter in one of the many words for God.) One of Manhattan’s few remaining indie movie houses, the Thalia on the Upper West Side, was renamed in 2002 the Leonard Nimoy Thalia.
Syfy and Epix are planning tributes to the late actor. Syfy on Sunday will air a five-hour block of Nimoy-related programming starting at 9 AM with The Twilight Zone episode “A Quality Of Mercy,” following by the two-part Unification” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and wrapping with 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the last feature film with the original Star Trek castmembers. Epix will offer multiple airings of A Conversation With Leonard Nimoy, starting at 8 PM PT tonight, and his final film, 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.