Leonard Nimoy succumbs to COPD

Leonard Nimoy loved photography
Leonard Nimoy loved photography

Leonard Nimoy, actor, director, writer, singer and more; has passed away.  He was 83.

Best known for his iconic role as “Spock,” a half-human/half-Vulcan in the original “Star Trek” (TOS) television series, he was born in Boston’s West End to immigrant parents of Ukranian descent.  He began acting on the stage as a child and as a young adult, moved into small parts in “B movies” and appearances on a number of well-known television dramas.  The list of TV dramas he did guest roles on includes “Bonanza”, “Gunsmoke”, “Dragnet”, “Sea Hunt”, “Wagon Train” and many more.

Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in a scene from the "A Piece of the Action" episode of 'Star Trek'
Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in a scene from the “A Piece of the Action” episode of ‘Star Trek’

In 1963, Nimoy worked on a TV drama titled “The Lieutenant” which had been created by Gene Roddenberry.  Reportedly, he thought that Leonard Nimoy would make a good alien character on a science-fiction series and that is the genesis of how the role of the Vulcan science officer came to be offered to Nimoy.  Even though it lasted only three seasons, “Star Trek” was a life-defining role for Nimoy.  Leonard Nimoy would appear in six original Star Trek feature films, the animated TV series, and in guest shots on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”  He also reprised the role of Spock in the 2009 reboot of the film franchise and the 2013 sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

Leonard Nimoy in his role as "Paris" on 'Mission Impossible'
Leonard Nimoy in his role as “Paris” on ‘Mission Impossible’

After TOS ended, Nimoy moved on to the television series “Mission Impossible” as the replacement for Martin Landau.  There is a delicious bit of irony in that, as Martin Landau was originally cast as Spock for TOS.  Landau was Gene Roddenberry’s first choice for the role, but Landau turned it down to take a role on Mission Impossible.  The fact that Landau’s wife, Barbara Bain was also starring on Mission Impossible might have been a factor.

Most of the rest of his acting career was acting in roles on television programs, although he did a small number of non-Star Trek feature films.  He joined his TOS co-star William Shatner in a notable guest role on Shatner’s “T. J. Hooker” television drama.

While he never finished his undergraduate degree, Leonard Nimoy did earn a Masters in Education from Antioch University.  He came up with the Vulcan neck pinch and salute, among other things for TOS.  He directed a music video for The Bangles.  Like Elvis Presley and others, Leonard Nimoy served honorably in the U. S. Army, rising to the rank of Sergeant by the time his two year hitch came to an end.  He wrote a lot of poetry, much of which has been published.  He once owned an exotic pet store.  While never mentioned on TV or the big screen, the many Star Trek novels note Spock’s full name as “S’chn-T’ Gaii Spock.”  Leonard Nimoy once said, regarding working with William Shatner on TOS, “Bill was very passionate about the work.  Unfortunately, Bill was passionate about everything.”

He chose to step out of the public eye in 2011, to spend time with his family.   In February of 2014, after he had been spotted in a wheelchair and using an oxygen mask, Nimoy revealed that he was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and that has been identified as the cause of his death on February 27, 2015.

Leonard Nimoy is survived by his wife Susan Bay, his children Adam Nimoy and Julie Nimoy, and five grandchildren.

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