Leonard Nimoy passed away this morning at the age of 83 after being hospitalized earlier in the week for the long-term effects of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
He did a great deal of TV work before being cast as Star Trek’s iconic Mr. Spock. After the series was cancelled he went on to play Spock in eight Star Trek films, two of which he directed. Nimoy also voiced his character for the animated Star Trek series, and in a 2012 episode of The Big Bang Theory (“The Transporter Malfunction”). Director J. J. Abrams included cameo parts for him in the revived Star Trek film franchise.
Nimoy invented the famed “Vulcan nerve pinch” for the original series when he and the writers were trying to figure out how an unarmed Spock could overpower an adversary without resorting to violence.
Highlights of his other genre work include The Outer Limits – he appeared in episodes of both the Sixties original and the Nineties revival — and The Twilight Zone (“The Quality of Mercy,” 1961). He voiced “Mr. Moundshroud” in The Halloween Tree, based on the work of Ray Bradbury.
His first record album, Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space, resulted in a hit “Visit to a Sad Planet” (1967) which charted at #121 on Billboard.
His “Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” also forged a weird but immortal connection in the minds of fans between Star Trek and Tolkien.
Nimoy’s career was linked with William Shatner’s in more than just the obvious way – even before Star Trek, they appeared together in an episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964). Afterwards, of course, they were paired in the animated series (1973), an episode of the Shatner vehicle T.J. Hooker (1982), and one of Futurama (1999).
In demand as a narrator, he hosted two nonfiction TV shows, In Search of… (1976) and Ancient Mysteries (1993). He voiced a cartoon version of himself – Leonard Nimoy — in two episodes of The Simpsons.
Nimoy was born in Boston and once commented, “My folks came to the US as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien.”
He made this final tweet on February 22:
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
(He signed all his tweets LLAP for “Live long and prosper.”)