WASHINGTON, February 27, 2015 – Death has claimed actor Leonard Nimoy at the age of 83 today, according to Variety.
Nimoy’s role as “Star Trek’s” Spock made him famous not only for his hyper-logical Vulcan character, but also for his iconic farewell: “Live Long and Prosper!” And, of course, his peculiar accompanying one-hand salute of friendship and goodwill.
Nimoy’s Spock was half-human and half-Vulcan, an alien but recognizable presence whose televised performances captured the hearts and imaginations of viewers when “Star Trek” debuted in 1966. Today he has finally joined the great pantheon of immortal Hollywood film and TV icons.
The death of “Star Trek’s” no-nonsense Vulcan science officer was confirmed earlier Friday in the New York Times, which noted a statement from Nimoy’s widow indicating he had died as a result of end stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Many of “Star Trek’s” avid followers knew that Nimoy’s performance as Spock was preceded by a successful stage and minor film career. He was also an accomplished poet, writer and photographer. Much like Nimoy’s Vulcan on-screen character–devoted to a variety of “fascinating” interests–Nimoy pursued many interesting avenues himself, including songwriting. He tried his hand at singing as well.
But it was his initially unheralded appearance as Spock in the classic “Star Trek,” along with his role as master disguise artist Paris in “Mission Impossible,” and finally his later reprise of his “Star Trek” role in motion pictures that introduced both him and his Vulcan character to a new generation of sci-fi followers and admirers.
Only true Trekkies know that Nimoy actually appeared and co-starred in the 1965 “Star Trek” pilot, “The Cage” and then reappeared in the second pilot in the fall of 1966, reported Variety. The original TV show, which opened with Captain Kirk’s promise to “Go where no man has gone before” during in its five-year mission, was cancelled after only three years. But the syndication of the series gave it new life and eventually gave birth to the sci-fi legend and a series of TV spinoffs.
The legend was given a boost in 1979 with Mr. Spock’s return to the deck of the Enterprise in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” Even though critics panned it, sci-fi fans crowded the theaters and demanded more sequels. The “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “The Search for Spock” (1984), “The Voyage Home” (1986), “The Final Frontier” (1989) and “The Undiscovered Country” (1991) all followed, continuing to gather an eager worldwide audience with each release.
Nimoy’s performance as Old Spock opposite Zachary Quinto’s young Spock in the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot effectively brought the Star Trek franchise full circle from the original show’s abrupt cancellation to Nimoy’s transformative appearance nearly 40 years later.
Leonard Nimoy may have departed this earthly dimension today. But millions of Spock’s followers will long remember the character and the genuine warmth and logical principles that Nimoy’s performance represented. He will continue to “live long and prosper” in the hearts of his fans.