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Leonard Nimoy

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Subject: Vulcan (Star Trek), Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television, Zambezia (film), Star Trek (film), Star Trek Into Darkness
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Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy
Nimoy in 2011
Born Leonard Simon Nimoy
(1931-03-26) March 26, 1931
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation Actor, film director, poet, photographer, singer, songwriter
Years active 1951–present[1]
Television Star Trek
Children Adam Nimoy
Julie Nimoy

Leonard Simon Nimoy ( ; born March 26, 1931) is an American actor, film director, poet, singer, and photographer. Nimoy is best known for his role as Spock in the original Star Trek series (1966–69), and in multiple film, television, and video game sequels.

Nimoy began his career in his early twenties, teaching acting classes in Hollywood and making minor film and television appearances through the 1950s, as well as playing the title role in Kid Monk Baroni. Foreshadowing his fame as a semi-alien, he played Narab, one of three Martian invaders in the 1952 movie serial Zombies of the Stratosphere.

In 1953, he served in the United States Army. In 1965, he made his first appearance in the rejected Star Trek pilot, "The Cage," and would go on to play the character of Mr. Spock until 1969, followed by eight feature films and guest slots in the various spin-off series. His character of Spock has had a significant cultural impact and garnered Nimoy three Emmy Award nominations; TV Guide named Spock one of the 50 greatest TV characters.[2][3] After the original Star Trek series, Nimoy starred in Mission: Impossible for two seasons, hosted the documentary series In Search of..., and narrated Civilization IV, as well as making several well-received stage appearances. More recently, he also had a recurring role in the science fiction series Fringe.

Nimoy's fame as Spock is such that both of his autobiographies, I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (1995), were written from the viewpoint of sharing his existence with the character.[4][5]

Early life

Nimoy was born on March 26, 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts in the West End,[6] to Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Iziaslav, Soviet Union (now Ukraine). Nimoy is four days younger than his Star Trek co-star, William Shatner.[7][8][9] His father, Max Nimoy, owned a barbershop in the Mattapan section of the city. His mother, Dora Nimoy (née Spinner), was a homemaker.[10][11]

Nimoy began acting at the age of eight in children's and neighborhood theater. His parents wanted him to attend college and pursue a stable career, or even learn to play the accordion—with which, his father advised, Nimoy could always make a living—but his grandfather encouraged him to become an actor.[12] His first major role was at 17, as Ralphie in an amateur production of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing![9] Nimoy took drama classes at Boston College in 1953 but failed to complete his studies,[13] and in the 1970s studied photography at the University of California, Los Angeles.[12] He has an MA in Education from Antioch College, an honorary doctorate from Antioch University in Ohio,[14] and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Boston University.[15]

Nimoy served as a sergeant in the United States Army from 1953 through 1955,[16] alongside fellow actor Ken Berry and architect Frank Gehry.


Before and during Star Trek

Nimoy's film and television acting career began in 1951, but after receiving the title role in the 1952 film Kid Monk Baroni, a story about a street punk turned professional boxer, he played more than 50 small parts in B movies, television series such as Perry Mason[17] and Dragnet, and serials such as Republic Pictures' Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952). To support his family, he often did other work, such as delivering newspapers.[18]

He played an Army sergeant in the 1954 science fiction thriller Them! and a professor in the 1958 science fiction movie The Brain Eaters, and had a role in The Balcony (1963), a film adaptation of the Jean Genet play. With Vic Morrow, he produced a 1966 version of Deathwatch, an English-language film version of Genet's play Haute Surveillance, adapted and directed by Morrow and starring Nimoy.

On television, Nimoy appeared as "Sonarman" in two episodes of the 1957–1958 syndicated military drama The Silent Service, based on actual events of the submarine section of the United States Navy. He had guest roles in the Sea Hunt series from 1958 to 1960 and a minor role in the 1961 The Twilight Zone episode "A Quality of Mercy." He also appeared in the syndicated Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford.

In 1959, Nimoy was cast as Luke Reid in the "Night of Decision" episode of the ABC/Warner Bros. western series Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston and directed by Leslie H. Martinson.[19]

Nimoy appeared four times in ethnic roles on NBC's Wagon Train, the No. 1 program of 1962. He portrayed Bernabe Zamora in "The Estaban Zamora Story" (1959), "Cherokee Ned" in "The Maggie Hamilton Story" (1960), Joaquin Delgado in "The Tiburcio Mendez Story" (1961), and Emeterio Vasquez in "The Baylor Crowfoot Story" (1962).

Nimoy appeared in Bonanza (1960), The Rebel (1960), Two Faces West (1961), Rawhide (1961), The Untouchables (1962), The Eleventh Hour (1962), Perry Mason (1963; playing murderer Pete Chennery in "The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe," episode 13 of season 6), Combat! (1963, 1965), Daniel Boone, The Outer Limits (1964), The Virginian (1963-1965; first working with Star Trek co-star DeForest Kelley in "Man of Violence", episode 14 of season 2, in 1963), Get Smart (1966) and Mission: Impossible (1969-1971). He appeared again in the 1995 Outer Limits series. He appeared in Gunsmoke in 1962 as Arnie and in 1966 as John Walking Fox.

Nimoy as Spock with William Shatner as Kirk, 1968

Nimoy and Star Trek co-star William Shatner first worked together on an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., "The Project Strigas Affair" (1964). Their characters were from opposite sides of the Iron Curtain, though with his saturnine looks, Nimoy was predictably the villain, with Shatner playing a reluctant U.N.C.L.E. recruit.

On the stage, Nimoy played the lead role in a short run of Gore Vidal's Visit to a Small Planet in 1968 (shortly before the end of the Star Trek series) at the Pheasant Run Playhouse in St. Charles, Illinois (now closed).[20]

Star Trek

Nimoy's greatest prominence came from his role in the original Star Trek series. As the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock—a role he chose instead of one on the soap opera Peyton Place—Nimoy became a star, and the press predicted that he would "have his choice of movies or television series."[18] He formed a long-standing friendship with Shatner, who portrayed his commanding officer, saying of their relationship, "We were like brothers."[22] Star Trek was broadcast from 1966 to 1969. Nimoy earned three Emmy Award nominations for his work on the program.

He went on to reprise the Spock character in Star Trek: The Animated Series and two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first six Star Trek movies feature the original Star Trek cast including Nimoy, who also directed two of the films. He played the elder Spock in the 2009 Star Trek movie and reprised the role in a brief appearance in the 2013 sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, both directed by J. J. Abrams.

Nimoy giving the Vulcan salute in 2011

Spock's Vulcan salute became a recognized symbol of the show and was identified with him. Nimoy created the sign himself from his childhood memories of the way kohanim (Jewish priests) hold their hand when giving blessings. During an interview, he translated the priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 which accompanies the sign[23] and described it during a public lecture:[24]

May the Lord bless and keep you and may the Lord cause his countenance to shine upon you. May the Lord be gracious unto you and grant you peace. The accompanying spoken blessing, "Live long and prosper."

After Star Trek

Following Star Trek in 1969, Nimoy immediately joined the cast of the spy series Mission: Impossible, which was seeking a replacement for Martin Landau. Nimoy was cast in the role of Paris, an IMF agent who was an ex-magician and make-up expert "The Great Paris." He played the role during seasons four and five (1969–71). Nimoy had strongly been considered as part of the initial cast for the show but remained in the Spock role of Star Trek[25]

Nimoy in 1972

He co-starred with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna in the Western movie Catlow (1971). He also had roles in two episodes of Rod Serling's Night Gallery (1972 and 1973) and Columbo (1973) where he played a murderous doctor who was one of the few criminals with whom Columbo became angry. Nimoy appeared in various made for television films such as Assault on the Wayne (1970), Baffled! (1972), The Alpha Caper (1973), The Missing Are Deadly (1974), Seizure: The Story Of Kathy Morris (1980), and Marco Polo (1982). He received an Emmy Award nomination for best supporting actor for the television film A Woman Called Golda (1982), for playing the role of Morris Meyerson, Golda Meir's husband opposite Ingrid Bergman as Golda in her final role.

In 1975, Leonard Nimoy filmed an opening introduction to Ripley's World of the Unexplained museum located at Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Fisherman's Wharf at San Francisco, California. In the late 1970s, he hosted and narrated the television series In Search of..., which investigated paranormal or unexplained events or subjects. He also had a memorable character part as a psychiatrist in Philip Kaufman's remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

During this time, Nimoy also won acclaim for a series of stage roles. He appeared in such plays as Vincent (1981), Fiddler on the Roof, The Man in the Glass Booth, Oliver!, 6 Rms Riv Vu, Full Circle, Camelot, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The King and I, Caligula, The Four Poster, Twelfth Night, Sherlock Holmes, Equus, and My Fair Lady.

Star Trek films

Nimoy signing autographs at a Star Trek convention, c. 1980

When a new Star Trek series was planned in the late 1970s, Nimoy was to be in only two out of eleven episodes, but when the show was elevated to a feature film, he agreed to reprise his role. After directing a few television show episodes, Nimoy started film directing in 1984 with the third installment of the film series. Nimoy would go on to direct the second most successful film (critically and financially) in the franchise after the 2009 Star Trek film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), and Three Men and a Baby, the highest grossing film of 1987, made him a star director.[21] At a press conference promoting the 2009 Star Trek movie, Nimoy made it clear that he had no further plans or ambition to direct:

No. No, I'm done with all that, thank you. I never set out to be a director. After Spock had died, sort of, in Star Trek II, they brought me in for a meeting and asked if I'd like to be involved in Star Trek III, in the making of it, and I had been told that I should be directing. I took it as an insult because I thought, "what's wrong with my acting?" But I thought maybe now I should do that and I said I'd like to direct the movie, and I suddenly found myself with a directing career which I had enjoyed and I had enough of it. I directed I think five or six films – I had a good time.[26]

Other work after Star Trek

In 1978, Nimoy played Dr. David Kibner in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He also did occasional work as a voice actor in animated feature films, including the character of Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie in 1986.

Nimoy was featured as the voice-over narrator for the CBS paranormal series Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories in 1991.

In 1991, Nimoy teamed up with [27]

Nimoy lent his voice as narrator to the 1994 IMAX documentary film, Destiny in Space, showcasing film-footage of space from nine Space Shuttle missions over four years time.

In 1994, Nimoy performed as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The Pagemaster. In 1998, he had a leading role as Mustapha Mond in the made-for-television production of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Together with John de Lancie, another ex-actor from the Star Trek series, Nimoy created Alien Voices, an audio-production venture that specializes in audio dramatizations. Among the works jointly narrated by the pair are The Time Machine, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Lost World, The Invisible Man and The First Men in the Moon, as well as several television specials for the Sci-Fi Channel. In an interview published on the official Star Trek website, Nimoy said that Alien Voices was discontinued because the series did not sell well enough to recoup costs.

From 1994 until 1997, Nimoy narrated the Ancient Mysteries series on A&E including "The Sacred Water of Lourdes" and "Secrets of the Romanovs." He also appeared in advertising in the United Kingdom for the computer company Time Computers in the late 1990s. In 1997, Nimoy played the prophet Samuel, alongside Nathaniel Parker, in The Bible Collection movie David. He had a central role in Brave New World, a 1998 TV-movie version of Aldous Huxley's novel where he played a character reminiscent of Spock in his philosophical balancing of unpredictable human qualities with the need for control. Nimoy has also appeared in several popular television series—including Futurama and The Simpsons—as both himself and Spock.

Nimoy appeared in Hearts of Space program number 142 – "Whales Alive."

In 1999, he voiced the narration of the English version of the Sega Dreamcast game Seaman and promoted Y2K educational films.[28]

In 2000, he provided on-camera hosting and introductions for 45 half-hour episodes of an anthology series entitled Our 20th Century on the AEN TV Network. The series covers world news, sports, entertainment, technology, and fashion using original archive news clips from 1930 to 1975 from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and other private archival sources.

In 2001, Nimoy voiced the role of the Atlantean King Kashekim Nedakah in the Disney animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire which featured Michael J. Fox voicing the lead role.

In 2003, he announced his retirement from acting to concentrate on photography, but subsequently appeared in several television commercials with William Shatner for He appeared in a commercial for Aleve, an arthritis pain medication, which aired during the 2006 Super Bowl.

Nimoy provided a comprehensive series of voice-overs for the 2005 computer game Civilization IV. He did the television series Next Wave where he interviewed people about technology. He is the host in the documentary film The Once and Future Griffith Observatory, currently running in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Nimoy and his wife, Susan Bay-Nimoy, were major supporters of the Observatory's historic 2002–2004 expansion.[29]

In 2007, he produced the play, Shakespeare's Will by Canadian Playwright Vern Thiessen. The one-woman show starred Jeanmarie Simpson as Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway. The production was directed by Nimoy's wife, Susan Bay.[30][31][32]

Nimoy was given casting approval over who would play the young Spock in the 2009 Star Trek film.[26]

On January 6, 2009, he was interviewed by William Shatner on The Biography Channel's Shatner's Raw Nerve.[12]

In May 2009, he made an appearance as the mysterious Dr. William Bell in the season finale of Fringe, which explores the existence of a parallel universe. Nimoy returned as Dr. Bell in the autumn for an extended arc, and according to Roberto Orci, co-creator of Fringe, Bell will be "the beginning of the answers to even bigger questions."[33][34] This choice led one reviewer to question if Fringe's plot might be a homage to the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror," which featured an alternate reality "Mirror Universe" concept and an evil version of Spock distinguished by a goatee.[35]

The handprints of Leonard Nimoy in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park

On the May 9, 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live, Nimoy appeared as a surprise guest on the skit "Weekend Update." During a mock interview, Nimoy called old Trekkies who did not like the new movie "dickheads." In the 2009 Star Trek movie, he plays the older Spock from the original Star Trek timeline; Zachary Quinto portrays the young Spock.

Starring with Will Ferrell in the television-based movie Land of the Lost in June 2009, he voiced the part of "The Zarn," an Altrusian.

Nimoy is also a frequent and popular reader for "Selected Shorts," an ongoing series of programs at Symphony Space in New York City (that also tours around the country) which features actors, and sometimes authors, reading works of short fiction. The programs are broadcast on radio and available on websites through Public Radio International, National Public Radio and WNYC radio. Nimoy was honored by Symphony Space with the renaming of the Thalia Theater as the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater.

Nimoy has also provided voiceovers for the Star Trek Online massively multiplayer online game, released in February 2010,[36] as well as Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep as Master Xehanort, the series' leading villain. Tetsuya Nomura, the director of Birth by Sleep, stated that he chose Nimoy for the role specifically because of his role as Spock.


In April 2010, Leonard Nimoy announced that he was retiring from playing Spock, citing both his advanced age and the desire to give Zachary Quinto the opportunity to enjoy full media attention with the Spock character.[37] Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep was to be his final performance. However, in February 2011, he announced his definite plan to return to Fringe and reprise his role as William Bell.[38] His retirement from acting has not included voice acting, as his appearance in the third season of Fringe includes his voice (his character appears only in animated scenes), and he provided the voice of Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In May 2011, Nimoy starred in the alternate version music video of Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song." Aaron Bay-Schuck, the Atlantic Records executive who signed Bruno Mars to the label, is Nimoy's stepson.[39] Nimoy provided the voice of Spock as a guest star in a Season 5 episode of the CBS sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. The episode is titled "The Transporter Malfunction" and aired on March 29, 2012,[40] and is frequently mentioned by several of the main characters (especially Sheldon Cooper, who idolizes Nimoy). In Spring 2012, Nimoy reprised his role of William Bell in Fringe, in the fourth season episodes "Letters of Transit" and "Brave New World" parts 1 & 2.[41] Nimoy reprised his role as Master Xehanort in the recent title Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. On August 30, 2012, Nimoy narrated a satirical segment about Mitt Romney's life on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In 2013, Nimoy reprised his role as Spock Prime in a cameo appearance in the film Star Trek Into Darkness.


Nimoy's interest in photography began in childhood; he still owns a camera that he rebuilt at the age of 13. His photography studies at UCLA occurred after Star Trek and Mission: Impossible, when Nimoy seriously considered changing careers. His work has been exhibited at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts[12] and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.


Nimoy made his directorial debut in 1973, directing the "Death On A Barge" segment for an episode of Night Gallery during its final season. It wouldn't be until the early 1980s that Nimoy resumed directing at a consistent basis, ranging from television shows to motion pictures. His final directorial credit was in 1995 for the episode "Killshot," the pilot from the TV series Deadly Games.


Nimoy has written two volumes of autobiography. The first was called I Am Not Spock (1975) and was controversial, as many fans incorrectly assumed that Nimoy was distancing himself from the Spock character. In the book, Nimoy conducts dialogues between himself and Spock. The contents of this first autobiography also touched on a self-proclaimed "identity crisis" that seemed to haunt Nimoy throughout his career. It also related to an apparent love/hate relationship with the character of Spock and the Trek franchise.

I went through a definite identity crisis. The question was whether to embrace Mr. Spock or to fight the onslaught of public interest. I realize now that I really had no choice in the matter. Spock and Star Trek were very much alive and there wasn’t anything that I could do to change that.[42]

The second volume, I Am Spock (1995), saw Nimoy communicating that he finally realized his years of portraying the Spock character had led to a much greater identification between the fictional character and himself. Nimoy had much input into how Spock would act in certain situations, and conversely, Nimoy's contemplation of how Spock acted gave him cause to think about things in a way that he never would have thought if he had not portrayed the character. As such, in this autobiography Nimoy maintains that in some meaningful sense he has merged with Spock while at the same time maintaining the distance between fact and fiction.

Nimoy has also written several volumes of poetry, some published along with a number of his photographs. His latest effort is titled A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life (2002). His poetry can be found in the Contemporary Poets index of The HyperTexts.[43] Nimoy adapted and starred in the one-man play Vincent (1981), based on the play Van Gogh (1979) by Phillip Stephens.

In 1995, Nimoy was involved in the production of Primortals, a comic book series published by Tekno Comix about first contact with aliens, which had arisen from a discussion he had with Isaac Asimov. There was a novelization by Steve Perry.


During and following Star Trek, Nimoy also released five albums of musical vocal recordings on Dot Records.[44] On his first album Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space, and half of his second album Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, science fiction-themed songs are featured where Nimoy sings as Spock. On his final three albums, he sings popular folk songs of the era and cover versions of popular songs, such as "Proud Mary" and Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line." There are also several songs on the later albums that are written or co-written by Nimoy. He has described how his recording career got started:

"Charles Grean of Dot Records had arranged with the studio to do an album of space music based on music from Star Trek, and he has a teenage daughter who's a fan of the show and a fan of Mr. Spock. She said, 'Well, if you're going to do an album of music from Star Trek, then Mr. Spock should be on the album.' So Dot contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in either speaking or singing on the record. I said I was very interested in doing both. ...That was the first album we did, which was called Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space. It was very well received and successful enough that Dot then approached me and asked me to sign a long-term contract."[45]

The albums were popular and resulted in numerous live appearances and promotional record signings that attracted crowds of fans in the thousands. The early recordings were produced by Charles Grean, who may be best known for his version of "Quentin's Theme" from the mid-sixties goth soap opera Dark Shadows. Some listeners regard these recordings as unintentionally camp, but some have praised them as quality 1960s folk music. His tongue-in-cheek performance of "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" received a fair amount of airplay when Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films were released.

In addition to his own music career he directed a 1985 music video for The Bangles' "Going Down to Liverpool." He makes a brief cameo appearance in the video as their driver. This came about because his son Adam Nimoy (now a frequent television director) was a friend of Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs from college.

Nimoy's voice appeared in sampled form on a song by the pop band Information Society in the late Eighties. The song, "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)" (released in 1988), reached No. 3 on the US Pop charts, and No. 1 on Dance charts. The group's self-titled LP contains several other samples from the original Star Trek television series.

Nimoy also appears in the alternate music video for the song "Lazy Song" by pop artist Bruno Mars.[39]

Personal life

Nimoy in September 2012

Nimoy has long been active in the Jewish community, and he can speak and read Yiddish.[46] In 1997, he narrated the documentary A Life Apart: Hasidism in America, about the various sects of Hasidic Orthodox Jews. In October 2002, Nimoy published The Shekhina Project, a photographic study exploring the feminine aspect of God's presence, inspired by Kabbalah. Reactions have varied from enthusiastic support to open condemnation.[47] Nimoy claims that objections to Shekhina do not bother or surprise him, but he smarts at the stridency of the Orthodox protests, and is "saddened at the attempt to control thought."[47]

Nimoy has been married twice. In 1954, he married actress Sandra Zober (1927–2011), whom he divorced in 1987.[12] On New Year's Day of 1989, he married actress Susan Bay, who is a cousin of director Michael Bay. Leonard Nimoy has a second cousin in voice actor Jeff Nimoy (once removed) and other cousins working in art, education, design, and health industries.[48]

In a 2001 DVD,[49] Nimoy revealed that he became an alcoholic while working on Star Trek and ended up in rehab.[50] William Shatner, in his 2008 book Up Till Now: The Autobiography, speaks about how later in their lives, Nimoy tried to help Shatner's alcoholic wife, Nerine Kidd.

Nimoy still has the last pair of Spock's ears he wore on the series. He has said that the character of Spock, which he played twelve to fourteen hours a day, five days a week, influenced his personality in private life. Each weekend during the original run of the series, he would be in character throughout Saturday and into Sunday, behaving more like Spock than himself: more logical, more rational, more thoughtful, less emotional and finding a calm in every situation. It was only on Sunday in the early afternoon that Spock's influence on his behavior would fade off and he would feel more himself again – only to start the cycle over again, on Monday morning.[51]

Nimoy also introduced the Vulcan nerve pinch in an early Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within."[52] Initially, Spock was supposed to knock out an evil Kirk in the Engineering room by striking him on the back of the head. Nimoy felt that the action was not in keeping with the nature of Spock's character, so he suggested the "pinch" as a non-violent alternative, which, if applied to the correct nerve cluster, could render the target almost immediately unconscious.[52] Nimoy explained this to the episode's director and, according to Nimoy, the director had no idea what he was talking about. However, Nimoy would express relief in later interviews and appearances that when he explained the concept to William Shatner, he understood it immediately, and Nimoy credits Shatner's reaction to the nerve pinch in the episode as what really sold it. In early scripts for Star Trek, the nerve pinch was referred to as the "F.S.N.P.", which stood for "Famous Spock Neck Pinch."[53][54]

The Vulcan mind meld was a large part of Star Trek as well, and was first seen in the episode "Dagger of the Mind." In the original script, Spock was to interrogate a madman in sickbay. To make the scene more interesting, Gene Roddenberry rewrote the script to include the Vulcan mind meld - a simple but dangerous action Spock would take to "read" the man's mind. Spock would simply grab the head of the man, placing his fingers near the man's temples, closing his eyes, and connecting their minds together. After finding out the information he needed, Spock would break contact, returning both minds back to their original, normal states. Nimoy was thrilled with the new action, saying it was more dramatic than the original idea for the scene, and he applauded its use of the idea that Vulcans are very emotional and use their hands for many important duties.[55] Nimoy later made known that the longer and more frequently Spock performed the action, the less dangerous it became, which is why this action could be seen more frequently in the show after "Dagger of the Mind."[56]

He has remained good friends with co-star William Shatner (also of Ukrainian Jewish descent) and was best man at Shatner's third marriage in 1997. He also remained good friends with DeForest Kelley until Kelley's death in 1999.

Nimoy is a private pilot and has owned his own airplane.[57] The Space Foundation named Nimoy as the recipient of the 2010 Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award[58] for creating a positive role model that inspired untold numbers of viewers to learn more about the universe.

In 2009, Nimoy was honored by his childhood hometown when the Office of Mayor Thomas Menino proclaimed the date of November 14, 2009, as Leonard Nimoy Day in the City of Boston.[59]

Like his friend William Shatner, Nimoy suffers from tinnitus (ringing in the ears), which is a symptom of hearing loss. Nimoy and Shatner likely got it filming a Star Trek episode called "Arena" (1967), where he and Shatner stood too close to a special effects explosion resulting in Nimoy having tinnitus in his right ear and Shatner having it in his left ear.[60]

Shortly after he was photographed in a wheelchair and using an oxygen mask, Nimoy revealed in February 2014 that he has been diagnosed with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. On Twitter, he said: 'I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP [Live Long and Prosper]'.[61]



Year Title Role Notes
1951 Queen for a Day Chief
1951 Rhubarb Young Ball Player
1952 Kid Monk Baroni Paul 'Monk' Baroni
1952 Zombies of the Stratosphere Narab
1952 Francis Goes to West Point Football player Uncredited
1953 Old Overland Trail Chief Black Hawk
1954 Them! Army Staff Sergeant
1958 Highway Patrol Professor Cole
1958 The Brain Eaters Professor Cole
1961 87th Precinct Barrow
1963 The Balcony Roger
1966 Deathwatch Jules Lefranc
1971 Assault on the Wayne Commander Phil Kettenring
1971 Catlow Miller
1973 Baffled! Tom Kovack
1974 Rex Harrison Presents Stories of Love Mick
1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers Dr. David Kibner Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture Mr. Spock Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1981 Vincent Theo van Gogh
1982 A Woman Called Golda Morris Meyerson Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Captain Spock
1984 Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Captain Spock Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Director
1984 The Sun Also Rises Count Mippipopolous
1986 The Transformers: The Movie Galvatron Voice
1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Captain Spock Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor
Saturn Award for Best Director
1989 Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Captain Spock
1991 Never Forget Mel Mermelstein
1991 Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories Narrator
1991 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Captain Spock
1994 The Pagemaster Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Edward Hyde Voice
1995 Titanica Narrator Documentary
1997 A Life Apart: Hasidism in America Narrator Documentary[62]
1997 David Samuel
1998 The Harryhausen Chronicles Narrator Documentary
1998 Brave New World Mustapha Mond
2000 Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists Akron / Baraka / King Chandra Voice
2001 Atlantis: The Lost Empire King Kashekim Nedakh Voice
2009 Star Trek Spock Prime Won – Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Critics' Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Scream Award for Best Ensemble
2009 Land of the Lost The Zarn Voice
2011 Transformers: Dark of the Moon Sentinel Prime Voice[63]
2012 Zambezia Sekhuru Voice
2013 Star Trek Into Darkness Spock Prime Cameo


Year Title Role Notes
1954 Dragnet Julius Carver Episode: "The Big Boys"
1956 The West Point Story Tom Kennedy Episodes: "His Brother's Fist" "Cold Peril"
Highway Patrol Harry Wells
"Hot Dust"
"Bloody Money"
1957–58 Broken Arrow Apache / Nahilzay / Winnoa 3 episodes
1958 Mackenzie's Raiders Kansas Episode: "The Imposter"
1958–60 Sea Hunt Indio 6 episodes
1959 Dragnet Karlo Rozwadowski Episode: "The Big Name"
1959–62 Wagon Train Bernabe Zamora, et al. 4 episodes
1960 Bonanza Freddy Episode: "The Ape"
1960 M Squad Bob Nash Episode: "Badge for a Coward"
1960 The Rebel Jim Colburn Episode: "The Hunted"
1961 Gunsmoke John Walking Fox / Holt / Arnie / Elias Grice 4 episodes
1960–61 The Tall Man Deputy Sheriff Johnny Swift Episodes: "A Bounty for Billy", "A Gun Is for Killing"
1961 The Twilight Zone Hansen Episode: "A Quality of Mercy"
1961 Rawhide Anko Episode: "Incident Before Black Pass"
1963 Perry Mason Pete Chennery Episode: "The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe"
1963 Combat! Neumann Episode: "The Wounded Don't Cry"
1963 The Virginian Lt. Beldon M.D. Episode: "Man of Violence"
1964 The Outer Limits Konig / Judson Ellis Episodes: "Production and Decay of Strange Particles", "I, Robot"
1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Vladeck Episode: "The Project Strigas Affair"
1966 Get Smart Stryker Episode: "The Dead Spy Scrawls"
1966 Daniel Boone Oontah Episode: "Seminole Territory"
1966–69 Star Trek Spock 79 episodes
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (1967, 1968, 1969)
1969–71 Mission: Impossible The Great Paris Seasons 4-5; 49 episodes
1973 Columbo Dr. Barry Mayfield Episode: "A Stitch in Crime"
1973–74 Star Trek: The Animated Series Spock (voice) 22 episodes
1976–82 In Search of... Narrator / host 145 episodes
1982 Marco Polo Ahmad Fanakati Miniseries
1983 T. J. Hooker Paul McGuire Episode: "Vengeance is Mine"
1986 Faerie Tale Theatre The Evil Moroccan Magician Episode: "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp"
1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation Ambassador Spock Episode: Unification (Star Trek: The Next Generation), 2-part episode
1993/97 The Simpsons Himself (voice) Episodes: "Marge vs. the Monorail", "The Springfield Files"
1993 The Halloween Tree Mr. Moundshroud Voice
1994–98 Ancient Mysteries Narrator 91 episodes
1995 Bonanza: Under Attack Frank James
1995 The Outer Limits Thomas Cutler Episode: "I, Robot"
Futurama Himself (voice) "Space Pilot 3000",
"Where No Fan Has Gone Before"
2001 Becker Professor Emmett Fowler Episode: "The TorMentor"
2009–12 Fringe Dr. William Bell Seasons 1-4; 11 episodes
Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television
2012 The Big Bang Theory Action Figure Spock Voice[64]


Video games

Music videos




  • Shekhina photography (2005) (ISBN 978-1-884167-16-4)
  • The Full Body Project (2008)
  • Secret Selves (2010)



  • You & I (1973) (ISBN 978-0-912310-26-8)
  • Will I Think of You? (1974) (ISBN 978-0-912310-70-1)
  • We Are All Children Searching for Love: A Collection of Poems and Photographs (1977) (ISBN 978-0-88396-024-0)
  • Come be With Me (1978) (ISBN 978-0-88396-033-2)
  • These Words are for You (1981) (ISBN 978-0-88396-148-3)
  • Warmed by Love (1983) (ISBN 978-0-88396-200-8)
  • A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life (2002) (ISBN 978-0-88396-596-2)



  1. ^ "'"Nimoy glad to be back with 'Fringe. (New York:  
  2. ^ "Leonard Nimoy: Biography". San Francisco, CA:  
  3. ^ Jensen, K. Thor (November 20, 2008). "Spock".  
  4. ^ Nimoy (1975), pp. 1–6
  5. ^ Nimoy (1995), pp. 2–17
  6. ^ Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell (1998). Boston's West End. Charleston, SC:  
  7. ^ "Biography". The Official Leonard Nimoy Fan Club. Coventry, England: Maggy Edwards. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Leonard Simon Nimoy". Genealogy of Lucks, Kai and Related Families. Columbia, MD: Michael Lucks. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Ellin, Abby (May 13, 2007). "Girth and Nudity, a Pictorial Mission".  
  10. ^ "Leonard Nimoy Biography (1931–)". Film Reference. Hinsdale, IL: Advameg, Inc. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Leonard Nimoy".  
  12. ^ a b c d e Shatner, William (host) (January 6, 2009). "Leonard Nimoy". Shatner's Raw Nerve. Season 1. Episode 7. The Biography Channel.
  13. ^ "Story Book: Legends from the Heights". Boston College Magazine (Chestnut Hill, MA: Office of Communications). Spring 2005.   Adapted from Legends of Boston College (2004); Boston, MA: New Legends Press. ISBN 978-0-975-55070-0. OCLC 57510969.
  14. ^ "Dr. Leonard Nimoy" (PDF). Alumni News (Yellow Springs, OH:  
  15. ^ Laskowski, Amy (May 22, 2012). "'"Leonard Nimoy Urges CFA Grads to 'Live Long and Prosper. BU Today. Boston, MA: Marketing & Communications. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Leonard Nimoy".  
  17. ^ "The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe" at the Internet Movie Database
  18. ^ a b  
  19. ^ "Night of Decision". Colt .45. Season 2. Episode 13. June 28, 1959. ABC. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  20. ^ "Stage". Beyond Spock - A Leonard Nimoy Fan Page. Hamburg, Germany: Christine Mau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  21. ^ a b  
  22. ^ "Science Fiction". Pioneers of Television. Season 2. Episode 1. January 18, 2011. . Retrieved November 1, 2013. "People: Leonard Nimoy".
  23. ^  
  24. ^ "Leonard Nimoy: The Origin of Spock's Greeting - Greater Talent Network - YouTube" on YouTube
  25. ^ Miller, Ken (August 8, 2012). "The man who would be Spock".  
  26. ^ a b Nimoy, Leonard;  
  27. ^ Nimoy (1995)
  28. ^ "Y2K" on YouTube (excerpt). Bisley, Donnie (Director); Nimoy, Leonard (Host, Narrator) (1998). The Y2K Family Survival Guide. La Vergne, TN:  
  29. ^ "Leonard and Susan Nimoy Donate $1 Million to Griffith Observatory Renovation" (Press release). Los Angeles:  
  30. ^  
  31. ^ Nimoy, Leonard (June 2007). Exclusive Interview with Leonard Nimoy. Thanks to Leonard Nimoy. Interview with Margitta (Margitta). Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  32. ^ Kadosh, Dikla (June 28, 2007). "Youngest Torme, Shakespeare, photography, poetry, enamelwork".  
  33. ^ T'Bonz (April 9, 2009). "Nimoy Joins Fringe". TrekToday. Utrecht, Netherlands: Christian Höhne Sparborth. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  34. ^ O'Connor, Mickey (April 8, 2009). : Meet Dr. William Bell"Fringe". San Francisco, CA: CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 9, 2009. 
  35. ^ Parker, Emerson (May 6, 2009). "'"TV Review: FRINGE - SEASON ONE - 'The Road Not Taken. Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  36. ^ Snider, Mike (December 22, 2009). "Leonard Nimoy joins 'Star Trek Online' crew".  
  37. ^ "Mr. Spock Set to Hang Up His Pointy Ears". MSN Entertainment News (Redmond, WA:  
  38. ^ "Leonard Nimoy Confirms Return To Fringe". SciFanatic Network. February 25, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  39. ^ a b "Watch: Leonard Nimoy Gets 'Lazy' In Bruno Mars Music Video [UPDATED]". SciFanatic Network. May 26, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Listings - BIG BANG THEORY, THE". Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
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  42. ^ B., Jared (May 24, 2007). "Leonard Nimoy's Love/Hate Relationship with Mr. Spock". Trekdom - Star Trek Fanzine (Blog). Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  43. ^ "The HyperTexts". Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Two Sides Of Leonard Nimoy". The Musical Touch of Leonard Nimoy. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  45. ^ "The Musical Touch of Leonard Nimoy". The Musical Touch of Leonard Nimoy. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  46. ^ An interview with Leonard Nimoy on the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project.
  47. ^ a b Snider, John C. (2002). "Shekhina"Leonard Nimoy: Shedding Light on . SciFiDimensions. Atlanta, GA: John Snider. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  48. ^ family
  49. ^ Jaysen, Peter (Director) (2001).  
  50. ^ "'"Star Trek 'drove Nimoy to drink.  
  51. ^ "Bring Back...Star Trek". Bring Back.... May 9, 2009. Channel 4. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  52. ^ a b Nimoy, Leonard (May 13, 1999). Leonard Nimoy ("Spock" - TOS). Interview with STARTREK.COM (New York:  
  53. ^ Berman, Gary (Executive Producer); Malin, Adam (Executive Producer) (1992). The 25-Year Mission. Glendale, CA:  
  54. ^ Kevin Curtis (Director) (1983). Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek Memories (Television production).  
  55. ^ Nimoy (1995)
  56. ^ Nimoy (1995)
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  58. ^ Hively, Carol (January 12, 2010). "Space Foundation Recognizes Leonard Nimoy with Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award" (Press release). Colorado Springs, CO:  
  59. ^ Clark, Shaula (November 14, 2009). "Hardly Illogical: Leonard Nimoy Day, November 14".  
  60. ^ Worden, Leon. "Newsmaker of the Week Interview". SCVTV. 
  61. ^ "BBC News - Leonard Nimoy reveals he has lung disease".  
  62. ^  
  63. ^ Breznican, Anthony (March 31, 2011). "Leonard Nimoy joins 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' voice cast – EXCLUSIVE".  
  64. ^  
  65. ^ "Return to the Magical Realm of Kingdom Hearts on September 7, 2010" (Press release). Los Angeles:  
  66. ^ rad-Monkey (May 31, 2012). "The Voice Talent of KINGDOM HEARTS 3D" (Blog). Square Enix. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 

External links


  • Newsmaker of the Week: Leonard Nimoy (30-min. interview, free)
  • Archive of American Television Interview with Leonard Nimoy November 2, 2000
  • The Callie Crossley ShowInterview with Leonard Nimoy about photography, on
  • 2014 Interview with Leonard Nimoy about Spock, photography, and living with COPD
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