It is with much sadness that we report the great Leonard Nimoy, actor, director and author, has passed away at age 83 due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. According to the New York Times, Nimoy died this morning at his Bel Air home, as confirmed by his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy.
Born March 26, 1931, Nimoy began his film and television career in the early 1950s, including a role as an alien in Republic serial Zombies of the Stratosphere, sci-fi classic Them! as well as guest spots on shows like “The Outer Limits” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (the latter with his future co-star William Shatner).
In 1966, he debuted the role of logic-driven Vulcan Mr. Spock on Gene Roddenberry’s NBC series “Star Trek,” which would air for only three seasons from 1966-69 but had such a ravenous cult following that it spawned a franchise that included an animated series, twelve feature films (and counting) as well as four spin-off shows, video games, theme park rides and various merchandise.
Nimoy maintained the role in the six films featuring the original cast from 1979-1991, as well as a two-part episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” titled “Unification.” He reprised the role as the one remaining link to the original timeline in J.J. Abrams’ reboot films Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), as well as spoofing it in an episode of “Futurama” that reunited the surviving cast members titled “Where No Fan Has Gone Before.”
After the initial run of “Star Trek,” Nimoy joined the cast of “Mission: Impossible,” but despite other TV and film appearances remained tied to the science fiction genre, including Philip Kaufman’s dark remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He is also fondly remembered by UFO enthusiasts as the host of paranormal non-fiction series “In Search of…”
After directing the third and fourth films the Star Trek film series, he went on to a surprisingly successful career behind the camera, helming 1987’s #1 box office hit Three Men and a Baby.
In recent years, Nimoy worked on various projects and public appearances, including 11 episodes of J.J. Abrams’ series “Fringe,” voicing Sentinel Prime in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, as well as publishing two contradicting biographies about his relationship to Trek fandom, “I Am Not Spock” (1975) and “I Am Spock” (1995).
He is survived by his wife and two children, Adam and Julie. His fans would most likely agree that he lived long and prospered.
(Photo Credit: WENN)