Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy; actor, director, poet, singer, and photographer…has passed away at 83. 

Born in Boston in 1931, Leonard Nimoy began acting at the age of eight in a children’s theater. His first major role on stage was at 17 in an amateur production of AWAKE AND SING. After drama classes at Boston College (in which he failed to complete his studies), he served in the U.S. Army from 1953-1955. 

His acting had actually begun to take off before his military service. He received the title role in the 1952 film KID MONK BARONI, and would go on to play more than 50 small parts in B-movies and television series such as PERRY MASON, DRAGNET, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, WAGON TRAIN, BONANZA, THE UNTOUCHABLES, GET SMART, OUTER LIMITS, GUNSMOKE, and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE from 1969-1971. 

His greatest prominence would come from his role as Spock on the original STAR TREK TV series, which aired from 1966 to 1969. Embracing the role of a half-Vulcan (alien) and half-human serving as a science officer aboard an exploration vessel, Nimoy would play Spock for 79 episodes of the original series; earning Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor for a drama series each year. 

He would take Mr. Spock to the big screen with ease, bringing him to life again in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE in 1979. He would allow Spock to meet an unfortunate end in the pinnacle of the TREK franchise in THE WRATH OF KHAN, and accept a resurrection in THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK. Nimoy would play Spock for five more films, including J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot and eventual sequel. The character was a constant thread in the STAR TREK universe, as he would reprise the role again on TV in the spin-off series THE NEXT GENERATION, and THE ANIMATED SERIES. 

His other film credits included INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978), TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE (1986), THE PAGEMASTER (1994), and TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (2011). He would step behind the camera as director; helming the third and fourth entries in the TREK film series. He would also direct the smash hit THREE MEN AND A BABY in 1987. He was an accomplished photographer with his work being displayed in galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts. He would author two volumes of autobiography, and during and after TREK…he released five albums of musical vocal recordings; which would include a version of Johnny Cash’s I WALK THE LINE, and the now notorious BALLAD OF BILBO BAGGINS. 


This Blogger cannot remember a time before Spock; having been introduced to STAR TREK in the late 1970’s…with Dad on every weekend afternoon when the Original Series was run on WPIX and the local PBS affiliate. Besides the space adventure filled with aliens and ships and planets and phaser-guns, there was obviously something different about TREK…and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock was truly at the center of it all. Even though he played a character who shunned emotion and clinged to cold logic, it was no difficult task to enjoy the character; a tribute to Nimoy’s careful acting balance of human and alien. Through the years, Nimoy and Spock became the true pillars of sci-fi entertainment through film, TV, books, video games, graphic novels, toys, and the internet…and the genre has certainly lost one of its pioneers and necessary components. Nimoy’s Spock had a customary farewell of “live long and prosper”, and that was something that he did to the letter. He opened up the universe for us on and off the screen, and that is his true legacy. 

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