Leonard Nimoy


Actor

About

Also Known As
Leonard Simon Nimoy
Birth Place
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Born
March 26, 1931
Died
February 27, 2015

Biography

With his intelligent manner and subdued yet saturnine expression, actor Leonard Nimoy was often cast as intense cerebral types. Nimoy's incisive manner served him especially well in his most famous role - the unflappable Vulcan, Mr. Spock, on the classic sci-fi TV series "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69). While the role of Spock would come to define him for the remainder of his long career, Nim...

Family & Companions

Sandi Zober
Wife
Actor. Married Feb. 21, 1954; separated in 1986; divorced.
Susan Bay-Nimoy
Wife
Producer.

Bibliography

"I Am Spock"
Leonard Nimoy, Hyperion (1995)
"Come Be with Me"
Leonard Nimoy (1979)
"We Are All Children Searching for Love"
Leonard Nimoy (1977)
"I Am Not Spock"
Leonard Nimoy (1976)

Biography

With his intelligent manner and subdued yet saturnine expression, actor Leonard Nimoy was often cast as intense cerebral types. Nimoy's incisive manner served him especially well in his most famous role - the unflappable Vulcan, Mr. Spock, on the classic sci-fi TV series "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69). While the role of Spock would come to define him for the remainder of his long career, Nimoy actually wore many other hats over the course of his professional life. On stage, Nimoy starred on Broadway in "Full Circle" and "Equus" and toured the country in musical productions of "Fiddler on the Roof," before winning acclaim for his one-man show "Vincent," based on the life of painter Vincent van Gogh. He tried his hand behind the camera, helming two of the most popular of the "Star Trek" films, as well as the 1987 hit comedy, "Three Men and a Baby." Nimoy's rich, somber voice and interest in science and environmental issues also made him much in demand as a narrator of such TV documentaries as "The Coral Jungle" (1976), "Snakes: Eden's Deadly Charmers" (1988) and "Greenhouse Gamble" (1992). Later in life, Nimoy turned his passions elsewhere. An accomplished ppet and photographer, the actor published a number of books - the last being 2007's somewhat controversial The Full Body Project, a photographic study of large women posing in the nude. Largely retired from acting since the early 2000s, Nimoy was lured back in front of the cameras for a cameo as Spock in director J.J. Abrams' much anticipated Trek feature franchise reboot titled simply "Star Trek" (2008), as well as its 2013 sequel, before announcing via Twitter in February 2014 that he was suffering from a serious lung disease. He died on February 27, 2015, at the age of 83.

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born on Mar. 26, 1931 in Boston, MA. The son of Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants Max and Dora Nimoy, young Leonard began acting when he was just eight years old. At the age of 17, Nimoy landed his first major role as Ralphie in Clifford Odets's "Awake and Sing." Nimoy's earliest features were singularly undistinguished, including the serial "Zombies of the Stratosphere" and "Francis G s to West Point" (both 1952), which continued the thrilling adventures of the famed talking mule. Nimoy did, however, do his level best in the title role of a low-budget boxing flick with religious overtones, "Kid Monk Baroni" (1952). After serving a brief stint in the U.S. Army Reserve, Nimoy returned to acting in the mid-1950s, receiving training under esteemed dramatic coach, Jeff Corey. For the next several years, Nimoy eked out a living with sporadic TV guest appearances and stage roles - including as Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" in Atlanta.

Nimoy's most celebrated role however was that of the emotionless, half-human, half-Vulcan Mr. Spock on "Star Trek." His character's iconic status was doubtlessly indebted to its clever conception: Spock was a half alien who dedicated himself to the pursuit of logic, yet could be bedeviled by moments of "all too human" emotion. The role of Spock was a tall order to be sure, but Nimoy's thoughtful acting proved more than equal to the challenge. Hiding behind an expressive - often amusing - deadpan mask, Nimoy's Spock spoke volumes to legions of "Star Trek" fans. Still, despite its cult popularity, "Star Trek" barely hung on in the ratings. By its third season, the show's once smart scripts and thought-provoking themes of tolerance and science as our saving grace had fallen victim to drastically slashed budgets. The show was eventually scuttled after the 1968-69 season.

Even so, Nimoy was luckier than most of his "Trek" colleagues. After "Star Trek" was canceled, Nimoy was tapped to replace Martin Landau in the fourth season of the still-popular "Mission: Impossible" (CBS, 1966-1973). As the Indomitable Paris, Nimoy took over as the team's resident master of disguise and illusionist for two seasons. He left the show after two seasons, however, due to exhaustion. Following a brief respite, Nimoy returned to television as the narrator and host of the paranormal documentary series, "In Search Of" (NBC, 1976-1982). Around this time, Nimoy also began to explore a second career as a director. After helming an episode of "Rod Serling's Night Gallery" (NBC, 1970-73) in the early 1970s, Nimoy established a reputation as a reliable television director. To keep his feet wet acting-wise, Nimoy concurrently appeared in a string of TV movies and miniseries, ranging from the silly - as in the case of 1973's "Baffled!" - to the lavish, but middling - such as 1982's "Marco Polo."

In the late 1970s, Nimoy landed his best known non-"Trek" feature role as Dr. David Kibner in director Philip Kaufman's feature thriller, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978). A worthy remake of the 1956 sci-fi classic, Nimoy's turn as a touchy-feely, new age pop psychologist was an inspired bit of casting - a tongue-in-cheek nod to the emotionless Spock character he played so well, for so long. Meanwhile, as Nimoy's career chugged along, "Star Trek" began to enjoy an enormous resurgence in popularity. Owing to its renaissance to reruns, the demand for new "Star Trek" project exploded. Following the unprecedented success of Twentieth Century Fox's "Star Wars" (1977), Paramount quickly put a "Star Trek" feature on the fast-track. Unfortunately, before filming could commence, the studio had to first overcome a major hurdle - Nimoy, himself.

During the mid-1970s, Nimoy and his former employer, Paramount Studios, became embroiled in a long-standing and bitter feud over the use of Nimoy's likeness with regard to "Trek" merchandising. Unwilling to reprise his role for the "Star Trek" feature until that was resolved, Nimoy played hardball. Proving his business savvy, Nimoy promptly received a long-overdue apology, a handsome settlement, and a $1 million payday from the studio. The result was "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979), the uneven but extremely successful first installment of the "Trek" film franchise. Nimoy subsequently returned to his most famous role for five sequels. Although he requested that his character be killed off at the end of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (1982), the actor was persuaded to resurrect the character two years later for its follow-up, "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" (1984). Perhaps the studio promising him a chance to direct the third installment did the trick. To the delight of Trekkies the world over, Nimoy made a highly anticipated appearance at film's end, after Spock had been portrayed by a variety of actors of varying ages through the whole film.

Nimoy later refined his technique by helming the next sequel "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" (1986) - the most commercially successful of the series - and the most humorous, as the crew of the Enterprise went back in time to modern day San Francisco to save to whales. Much of the laugh-getting came from to not only having to disguise Spock's pointy ears - but to explain modern American slang to a Vulcan who took everything literally. While the fifth installment, "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," directed by his co-star and friend William Shatner was the weakest of the franchise, the Enterprise crew bounced back when Nicholas Meyer - director of the best loved film, "The Wrath of Khan" - took hold of what would be the original crew's final foray into space together - "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country" (1991) - a movie Nimoy also co-produced. The final film - while not the strongest of the lot, did not disappoint fans who loved the gadgets and gizmos as much as they did the crew rapport - particularly between Shatner's Captain Kirk, DeForest Kelley's Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy, and Nimoy's green-blooded science officer under Kirk's command. To the delight of fans, the cast - who themselves could not have escaped the fact that this was possibly their final outing together - tapped into the brotherly rivalry and love that had always provided "Trek" with its true humanity.

Proving a deft touch behind the camera - particularly in his own film franchise world, Nimoy stepped out of his interstellar safety net and found surprising success in 1987, with the success of the cutesy - if somewhat formulaic - comedy, "Three Men and a Baby" (1987). A box office smash, "Three Men and a Baby" opened the doors for Nimoy the director, though his subsequent off-camera ventures - the earnest drama "The Good Mother" (1988) and the little-seen comedies "Funny About Love" (1990) and "Holy Matrimony" (1994), foundered around their middling conceptions.

Ever diligent Trekkies continued to hope for cast reunions in whatever new "Trek" off-shoot came on the scene. In 1994, Nimoy declined an invitation to make a cameo as Spock in "Star Trek: Generations" - the seventh "Trek" film and the first to exclusively feature the new cast of "ST: The Next Generation" (syndicated, 1987-1994). Explaining his decision in a 1995 interview, Nimoy stated: "Quite frankly, the script didn't need me. It was a nothing role with just a few lines for Spock to 'pass the torch' to the new cast. I wasn't interested in that as far as I was concerned, Spock had a grand exit in 'Star Trek VI' and I didn't want to disrespect that in any way."

With the dawn of the new millennium, Nimoy significantly scaled back his Hollywood duties; preferring to focus mainly on his photography. Limiting himself to the occasional voice-over gig, Nimoy provided narration for various documentary series and animated projects such as Disney's "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" (2001). He also found time to playfully tweak his sci-fi icon status with TV guest spots on shows like "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ) and "Futurama" (Fox, 1999-2003). In 2001, Nimoy joined William Shatner for the DVD project "Mind Meld: The Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime," essentially a filmed conversation in Nimoy's backyard in which the actors discussed a number of subjects, including their unlikely bond and enduring friendship, Nimoy's bout with alcoholism, and the resentment they encountered from some of their fellow "Trek" cast mates.

In 2007, five years after he officially announced his retirement from acting, director J.J. Abrams lured Nimoy back before the cameras. Set to play Spock one last time in the director's highly anticipated 2008 re-boot of the "Star Trek" movie franchise, Nimoy was promised a pivotal role and a chance at achieving closure with his famous alter ego. During the preproduction, Nimoy also met the actor Zachary Quinto of "Heroes" fame (NBC, 2006-09) who was set to portray a younger version of Spock. Thankfully, the two hit it off, with Nimoy having the young actor over to his house for dinner; becoming, as Quinto himself said, a bit of a surrogate father, since he had grown up fatherless. On a humorous note, Quinto also stressed that Nimoy was doing his best to teach him to properly roll out the standard Vulcan greeting - fingers in V formation, "Live Long and Prosper." Nimoy also appeared in the film's sequel, "Star Trek Into Darkness" (2013). Continuing to playfully tweak his geek credentials, Nimoy took on a recurring role in the cult science fiction thriller "Fringe" (Fox 2009-2012) and appeared in voiceover on an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS 2007- ), as a Spock action figure that offers advice to Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons). In February 2014, Nimoy revealed via Twitter that although he had quit smoking three decades before, he was suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), adding "Grandpa says, quit now!!" Leonard Nimoy died at his Bel Air, California home on February 27, 2015. He was 83.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Holy Matrimony (1994)
Director
Vincent (1992)
Director
Funny About Love (1990)
Director
The Good Mother (1988)
Director
Three Men and a Baby (1987)
Director
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Director
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Adventures in Zambezia (2013)
Voice
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Voice
Star Trek (2009)
Land of the Lost (2009)
Atlantis: the Lost Empire (2001)
Voice
Sinbad: Beyond the Veil Mists (2000)
Voice
The Story of Computer Graphics (1999)
Narrator
Brave New World (1998)
The Harryhausen Chronicles (1997)
Trekkies (1997)
Carpati: 50 Miles, 50 Years (1996)
Narrator
A Life Apart: Hasidism in America (1996)
Narrator
Bonanza: Under Attack (1995)
William Shatner's Star Trek Memories! (1995)
Destiny in Space (1994)
Narrator
The Pagemaster (1994)
Vincent (1992)
Theo
Never Forget (1991)
Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Just One Step: The Great Peace March (1989)
Himself
Transformers - The Movie (1986)
Voice
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Seizure: The Story of Kathy Morris (1980)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Mr Spock
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The Missing Are Deadly (1975)
Baffled (1973)
Tom Kovack
The Alpha Caper (1973)
Catlow (1971)
[Orville] Miller
Assault on the Wayne (1971)
Valley of Mystery (1967)
Spence Atherton
Deathwatch (1966)
Jules LeFranc
The Balcony (1963)
Rebel leader
The Brain Eaters (1958)
Dr. Kohl
Satan's Satellites (1958)
Narab
Them! (1954)
Sergeant
Old Overland Trail (1953)
Chief Black Hawk
Francis Goes to West Point (1952)
Player
Kid Monk Baroni (1952)
Paul "Kid Monk" Baroni <I>Introducing</I>
Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952)
Queen for a Day (1951)
Chief
Rhubarb (1951)
Ball player

Writer (Feature Film)

Vincent (1992)
Screenwriter
Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country (1991)
From Story
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Story By
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Screenplay
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
From Story

Producer (Feature Film)

Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country (1991)
Executive Producer
Never Forget (1991)
Executive Producer
Deathwatch (1966)
Producer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Just One Step: The Great Peace March (1989)
Other

Cast (Special)

TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV (2003)
66 A.D.: The Last Revolt (2000)
Narration
The Fly Papers: The Buzz on Hollywood's Scariest Insect (2000)
Narrator
Ted Danson: One Lucky Guy (2000)
Interviewee
The Secret Life of King Ramses II (1999)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Alien Voices (1999)
The American Film Institute Salute to Robert Wise (1998)
Performer
Lloyd Bridges (1998)
Machu Picchu: City in the Sky (1998)
Host
Machu Picchu: City in the Sky (1998)
Narration
Armageddon: Target Earth (1998)
Dreamtime of the Aborigines (1998)
Narration
Masters of Fantasy: Harlan Ellison (1998)
William Shatner (1998)
Interviwee
Dreamtime of the Aborigines (1998)
Host
Mystery of Mars (1998)
Narration
The Lost World (1998)
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
The Lost City of Pirates (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Ancient Rome and its Mysterious Cities (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
The Curse of the Borgias (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Human Sacrifice (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Quest For the Holy Grail (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Peter Graves: Mission Accomplished (1997)
Interviewee
Headhunters of the Amazon (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
The Tombs of the Gods: The Great Pyramids of Giza (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
The Black Death (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Legends of the Arabian Nights (1997)
The Curse of the Hope Diamond (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Secrets of the Romanovs (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Guardian of the Ages: The Great Sphinx (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
The First Men in the Moon (1997)
The Sacred Waters of Lourdes (1997)
Secrets of the Aztec Empire (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Search For the Abominable Snowman (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Samurai! (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
UFOs: The First Encounters (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
Sacred Places (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
The Secret Life of Ramses II (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Tattooing (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Dragons: Myths and Legends (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Curse of the Goddess Pele (1997)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
The Lost Legions of Rome (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
China's Wall of Doom (1996)
Narration
Ancient Altered States (1996)
Hidden Cities of the Etruscans (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Incredible Monuments of Ancient Rome (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
Voodoo (1996)
Narration
Sacred Rites and Rituals (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
Witches (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Ancient Prophecy (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond (1996)
Lost Spirits of Cambodia (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
Rites of Death (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
Secrets of Sex: Kama Sutra (1996)
Narration
The Marvels of Roman Roads (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
The Mystical Monuments of Ancient Greece (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
Who Built the Catacombs? (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
Secrets at Delphi (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
The Powerful Gods of Mt. Olympus (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries")
Before Their Time: Ancient Technology (1996)
Host ("Ancient Mysteries With Leonard Nimoy")
Atlantis: The Lost Civilization (1995)
Narration
The Science of Star Trek (1995)
Planet Hollywood Salutes the Top 10 Comedy Movies of All-Time (1995)
Museum of Television & Radio Presents: Science Fiction, A Journey Into the Unknown (1994)
War of the Worlds (1994)
Star Trek: A Captain's Log (1994)
Gene Roddenberry: Star Trek and Beyond (1994)
Mission From the Heart (1992)
Narration
Greenhouse Gamble (1992)
Host
The Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special (1991)
Haunted Lives... True Ghost Stories (1991)
Narrator
1988 Golden Globe Awards (1989)
Performer
Adventures in Space (1989)
Host
Adventures in Space (1989)
Narration
Crane River (1989)
Narration
The 40th Annual Emmy Awards (1988)
Performer
Snakes: Eden's Deadly Charmers (1988)
Host/Narration
The 59th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1987)
Performer
Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (1986)
Mitzi and a Hundred Guys (1975)
Rex Harrison Presents Short Stories of Love (1974)

Producer (Special)

Alien Voices (1999)
Executive Producer
The Lost World (1998)
Executive Producer

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Desilu Story: The Rags to Riches Success of the Desilu Empire (2003)
David (1997)
Samuel
The Sun Also Rises (1984)
The Count
Marco Polo (1982)
A Woman Called Golda (1982)

Life Events

1951

Made feature film debut in "Queen for a Day"

1952

Played the title role in "Kid Monk Baroni"

1954

Served with the Army Special Services Department; wrote, narrated and emceed various GI shows

1955

Directed a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" for the Atlanta Theatre Guild; also played the role of Stanley Kowalski

1958

Last film for five years, "The Brain Eaters"

1963

Returned to features in Joseph Strick's adaptation of Jean Genet's play, "The Balcony"

1966

First top-billed role in features, "Deathwatch"

1966

Played the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock on the original NBC series, "Star Trek"

1969

Joined the cast of "Mission: Impossible" (CBS) as the IMF agent, The Great Paris

1971

First TV-movie, "Assault on the Wayne"

1971

First directed for TV when he helmed episode of "Rod Serling's Night Gallery" (NBC)

1971

Toured the East coast as Tevye in a production of the stage musical, "Fiddler on the Roof"

1973

Supplied the voice of Mr. Spock for the animated children's series, "Star Trek"

1976

Hosted and narrated the syndicated six-part nature documentary, "The Coral Jungle"

1976

Replaced Rod Serling as host of the syndicated documentary TV series about unexplained, seemingly supernatural events, "In Search Of"

1977

Returned to Broadway to take over the role of Dr. Dysart in the production of Peter Shaffer's "Equus"

1978

Wrote, directed and starred as Theo van Gogh, brother of the artist in the one-man touring stage show, "Vincent"

1979

Reprised the role of Mr. Spock for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"

1982

Hosted the children's TV program, "Standby: Lights! Camera! Action!" on the Nickelodeon cable network

1982

Directed an episode of the NBC sci-fi series, "The Powers of Matthew Star"

1984

Made feature directorial debut with "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock"; also reprised role

1986

Supplied the original story for "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"; also starred and directed

1989

Hosted the four-part syndicated science documentary, "Adventures in Space"

1991

Co-hosted (with William Shatner) the TV compilation tribute, "The Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special"

1991

First TV credit as executive producer, the made-for-TNT movie, "Never Forget"

1992

Made screenwriting debut with the film adaptation of "Vincent"; also directed and reprised the role of Theo van Gogh

1996

Helmed first Broadway play, "The Apple Doesn't Fall"

1996

Formed Alien Voices with actor John de Lancie; creates audio versions of classic sci-fi fiction; also produced occasional TV adaptations

2001

Appeared in conversation with William Shatner in "Mind Meld: Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime"

2009

Played William Bell on several episodes of "Fringe" (FOX)

2009

Reprised the role of Spock for J. J. Abrams' "Star Trek"

2010

Announced his retirement from acting

Family

Max Nimoy
Father
Dora Nimoy
Mother
Julie Nimoy
Daughter
Born on March 21, 1955.
Adam Nimoy
Son
Director. Born on August 9, 1956.

Companions

Sandi Zober
Wife
Actor. Married Feb. 21, 1954; separated in 1986; divorced.
Susan Bay-Nimoy
Wife
Producer.

Bibliography

"I Am Spock"
Leonard Nimoy, Hyperion (1995)
"Come Be with Me"
Leonard Nimoy (1979)
"We Are All Children Searching for Love"
Leonard Nimoy (1977)
"I Am Not Spock"
Leonard Nimoy (1976)
"Will I Think of You"
Leonard Nimoy
"You and I"
Leonard Nimoy
"These Words Are for You"
Leonard Nimoy
"Warmed by Love"
Leonard Nimoy