LOS ANGELES, USA – Actor Leonard Nimoy, who won a worldwide fan base as the pointy-eared half-human, half-Vulcan Mr Spock in the blockbuster Star Trek television and film franchise, died Friday February 27 (February 28 in Manila) at the age of 83, US media reported.
His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed the death to the New York Times. Nimoy had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which he had previously written about. He frequently encouraged followers on Twitter to quit smoking, which contributed to his poor health later in life.
On Twitter, which he frequently used to talk about a broad range of topics, from the Sony hacks to the Superbowl to fond memories of Star Trek, he posted this message, which would be his final tweet, signed “LLAP,” or “Live long and prosper,” the iconic phrase he often uttered as the unforgettable Spock.
Nimoy would later reveal he based the hand gesture on a Jewish blessing.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Nimoy left for Hollywood at the age of 18, winning a sprinkling of small parts in 1950s television series.
With his squared jaw and serious features, Nimoy worked his way into showbiz playing cowboy characters and lawmen before he found a niche that would last a lifetime in science fiction flicks.
In 1966, he was cast in his greatest role as the ever-logical Spock, in the television show “Star Trek.” Aboard the spaceship USS Enterprise, science officer Spock and its crew ventured around the galaxy exploring new worlds in death-defying odysseys.
Spock was the cool counterpoint to hot-headed Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner, and the even-tempered sparring partner of ship doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy, played by DeForest Kelley.
The trinity had ratings-boosting chemistry that sustained “Star Trek” during its initial four-year run.
The character Spock would be resurrected for several feature films after “Star Trek” snowballed into a cultural phenomenon in the 70s and 80s.
In addition to acting, Nimoy was an accomplished director.
He directed two of the Star Trek films including one of the most well received, “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.” Nimoy also directed 1987 box-office hit “3 Men and a Baby” starring Tom Selleck.
Role model for geeks
Nimoy, along with some of his co-stars, struggled with the type-casting he was thrown into by legions of earnest and attentive “Star Trek” fans.
In 1975, he authored the book “I am Not Spock” attempting to open up space between himself and the character that had so captured people’s imaginations.
While “Star Trek” fever built, Nimoy starred alongside Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” in 1978, and then alongside Ingrid Bergman in 1982’s “A Woman Called Golda.”
Nimoy would eventually embrace his role as an authority figure in the sci-fi world. He wrote a rebuttal to his earlier memoir in “I am Spock” in 1995.
As Spock, Nimoy became a role model for nerds and geeks: he was calm under pressure with a logical response always at the ready.
He related an “embarrassing” anecdote to The New York Times in 2009 where he toured a California university with scientists who looked to Spock for approval.
“Then they’d say to me, ‘What do you think?’ Expecting me to have some very sound advice. And I would nod very quietly and very sagely I would say, ‘You’re on the right track,'” he said about his adulation in the science community.
Nimoy had two children with his first wife, and was married to his second wife Susan since 1989.
Nimoy built off his sci-fi and Spock fame for the rest of his career, lending his voice to documentaries, video games and television shows.
He sold “Live Long and Prosper” apparel, and waved the Vulcan salute at “Star Trek” conventions.
He returned to “Star Trek” and an older version of his Spock character in the franchise’s reboot directed by J.J Abrams in 2009 and in a 2013 sequel.
Nimoy remained active in his later years, releasing photography books and poetry.
He also took a role on “Fringe,” a sci-fi TV series that ran from 2008 to 2013 and also directed by Abrams. – Rappler.com
Leonard Nimoy photo via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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