I originally posted this article on Home Cinema Addict but since it’s Star Trek related, it seemed fitting to repost it here:

RIP Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, an icon of Science Fiction died today in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, California, aged 83. He had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He revealed he was suffering from the disease last year despite having given up smoking 30 years ago.

There were reports that he’d been hospitalized on February 19th after suffering from chest pains. His final tweet, sent some days later was:

Leonard Nimoy's last tweet

Nimoy’s old friend and co-star William Shatner — who played the original Captain James T. Kirk in the second Star Trek pilot and subsequent series and movies — shared a photo of the late actor today, writing: “I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in Feb. 2015

A clip from Mind Meld: The Voyage of a Lifetime, a 75-minute discussion, recorded in 2001, between Shatner and Nimoy about the Star Trek years (the full interview is well worth watching)

The word extraordinary is often overused but I think it’s really appropriate for Leonard“, George Takei (Mr. Sulu on Star Trek) told US broadcaster MSNBC.

He was an extraordinarily talented man but he was also a very decent human being.

Zachary Quinto's tweet

Wil Wheaton tweet

Known primarily for the character that would forever be associated with him – the half human / half Vulcan Mr. Spock – he had a long and varied career as an actor, director, singer, poet and photographer.

Cultural icon Leonard Nimoy talks with LA Times Reporter Geoff Boucher about his work as an actor, director and photographer. In part one of a two-part interview, Nimoy reveals what he first thought of the original Star Trek series and details about the making of Star Trek IV.

In part two of the interview, Nimoy reveals the inception of the Star Trek movies, great moments in The Original Series, and the origin of the Vulcan salute.

I first saw Star Trek on BBC1 in 1969 when it started airing over this side of the Atlantic. I was hooked from the first episode. Being an Apollo-era kid, Star Trek seemed like the culmination of where Apollo and the then future space programme would bring us. After all, we were on our way from Earth. The Moon was only the first small step.

Star Trek, as you probably know, was cancelled after three series and went into syndication. Many of the actors had become typecast and found it difficult to get jobs in the ensuing years. Nimoy did have a prominent part in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. However, Spock seemed to be the perfect fit for him as an actor though and he wrestled with his association with the character down through the years.

Leonard nimoy as Mr. Spock

Trying to distance himself from the character, he wrote I Am Not Spock in 1975 (it’s out of print now). Star Trek was in the process of being revived in 1977 as Star Trek: Phase II but the success of Star Wars made Paramount (who now owned the rights) take a chance on releasing a Star Trek movie. Nimoy took some convincing to return as Spock. After all, he’d disassociated himself from the character some years earlier with his book.

Whatever the reason, he was coaxed back into the Star Trek franchise. While Star Trek: The Motion Picture was quite clinical in tone and none of the characters seemed quite themselves, it made enough at the box office such that a second movie was commissioned.

Arguably the best movie with the Classic Crew, the sequel – The Wrath of Khan – was Star Trek at its best. Nimoy came back as Spock on the condition that the character would be killed off once and for all. And the end of the movie sees Spock’s demise. Movie goers at the time didn’t know if they’d see Spock in Star Trek ever again given Nimoy’s ambivalence to the character.

But Spock did return in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. Whether Nimoy was simply just a very astute businessman or he set a condition for his return that he thought would not be met, he was back, this time as director of Star Trek III and IV.

It seemed he just couldn’t escape Spock.

He continued to star in the Classic Crew movies until 1992 with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country being the final voyage for that crew, each signing off, literally, in the end credits.

In the meantime, Spock crossed over, or into the future, by appearing in the Star Trek The Next Generation episode, Unification (parts 1 and 2).

Nimoy finally seemed to have made his peace with Spock and penned a new book called I Am Spock in 1995.

But Spock still wasn’t finished with him.

With JJ Abrams reboot of the Star Trek franchise in 2009, Nimoy was back as an older Spock from the future. He reprised his role in the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013. It was his last appearance as Spock.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot

However, there was one other outing for Spock, in The Big Bang Theory sitcom in 2012 when he did a voice-over cameo in which he gave Sheldon (Jim Parsons) advice in the form of a tiny Spock action figure.

In the season 5 episode, Sheldon and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) both receive collectible “Star Trek” figurines from their neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco). In a dream sequence, Spock convinces Sheldon he should open and play with his mint-in-the-box “Star Trek” toy. After Sheldon breaks the toy, he switches it with Leonard’s, thinking he won’t notice. Spock returns in a later dream to weigh on Sheldon’s conscience for switching the toys.

The two dream sequences are clipped together below:

Saying Goodbye

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock dies saving the Enterprise and her crew. Kirk gives an emotional eulogy before Spock’s casket is blasted into space. Those words seem very fitting today. Live long and prosper, Mr. Nimoy:

Other Tributes to Leonard Nimoy:

Farewell Leonard Nimoy, The Stars Are Waiting

Other Celebrity Reactions to Nimoy’s Death

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