Mr. Spock’s final frontier: Leonard Nimoy dead at 83

Mr. Spock’s final frontier: Leonard Nimoy dead at 83

Versatile actor appeared in numerous roles, but will always be remembered as the logical pointy-eared Vulcan first officer on “Star Trek’s” starship Enterprise.

Leonard Nimoy in 2012. (Via Wikipedia)
Leonard Nimoy in 2012. (Via Wikipedia)

LOS ANGELES, February 27, 2015 – Leonard Nimoy, known and recognized around the world as Mr. Spock—the always logical, pointy-eared Vulcan first officer of “Star Trek’s” starship Enterprise, died Friday morning of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease according to his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy. He was 83.

Spock and Kirk.
Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and William Shatner (Captain Kirk) in publicity photo for the original TV “Star Trek” series. (Public domain photo via Wikipedia)

Nimoy was already a film and TV veteran when he won the role of Spock, playing the peculiarly appealing Vulcan in a failed 1965 pilot (“The Cage”) for the eventually—and briefly successful–original “Star Trek” television series. That episode was eventually re-edited and used in the actual series, which launched its brief run in 1969.

After “Star Trek” was canceled, vociferous and passionate fans kept the spirit alive, eventually goading Hollywood to take a chance on a major motion picture. The original feature film was high on special effects and low on entertainment value. But it was enough to relaunch several more movies starring the original Enterprise crew, six of which featured Nimoy reprising his role as the popular Spock. It also fired up several syndicated spin-off TV series that ran throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Eager to avoid the pitfall of being identified with only one character, Nimoy also went on to star as Paris, master of disguise, in TV’s long running “Mission Impossible” series. He also hosted episodes of the “In Search Of” TV documentaries, directed Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg in the hit comedy “Three Men and a Baby,” and, more recently, had a role in Fox’s now canceled sci-fi series “Fringe.”

But Nimoy still reprised his role of Spock from time to time, not only in the several “Star Trek” spinoff TV series. He actually appeared in interesting, time-shifting cameos in the pair of “Star Trek” reboot films, the first of which was launched by JJ Abrams in 2009 to considerable acclaim.

Unlike many movie and TV stars, Nimoy was also well-known for his more thoughtful, cerebral side in addition to the popular character he portrayed. Over the years, in addition to his acting, narrating and directing credits, he wrote poetry, penned memoirs, and explored his Orthodox Jewish spiritual roots in considerable depth.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17