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Leonard Nimoy
 Leonard Nimoy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Birth name: Leonard Simon Nimoy

Sandra Zober (1954-1987)
Susan Bay (1988 - present)

Notable roles:
Spock in Star Trek (TV 1966-1969)
Paris in Mission: Impossible (TV 1969-1971)
Miller in Catlow (1971)
Dr. David Kibner in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Leonard Simon Nimoy (born March 26, 1931) is an American actor, film director, poet, musician and photographer. He is most famous for having played the character Spock in the Star Trek franchise.

Leonard Nimoy was raised in Boston, Massachusetts by Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants. After a short enrollment at Boston College, he left formal study to move to California to pursue acting. Nimoy spent much of his early career doing small parts in B-movies, TV shows such as Dragnet, and serials such as Republic Pictures Zombies of the Stratosphere in 1952. In 1961 he had a minor role in The Twilight Zone episode "A Quality of Mercy". His Bostonian upbringing can be heard in his pronunciation, for example his pronunciation of the word "rather" in Star Trek episodes.

Nimoy served in the U.S. Army Reserve, receiving final discharge in November 1955 as a Sergeant. According to the National Archives and Records Administration, Nimoy's U.S. Army service record was destroyed in the 1973 National Archives Fire.

Nimoy has long been active in the Jewish community, and is an adherent of Reform Judaism. One of his better-known roles was that of Tevye the milkman, in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, based on the series of short stories by Yiddish author Sholom Aleichem. 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 Shekhina, a photographic study of women intended to visualize the feminine aspect of God's presence, inspired by Kabbalah (esoteric Jewish mysticism).

Nimoy has been married twice. In 1954, he married actress Sandra Zober, whom he divorced in 1987. He had two children by her, director Adam Nimoy and Julie Nimoy. In 1988, he married actress Susan Bay.


Stage and screen

Nimoy's most famous role is the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock from Star Trek, the original series (TOS; 1966?69). He earned three Emmy nominations for playing this character.

In a strange twist of fate, Nimoy and William Shatner (who would go on to play Spock's commanding officer, Captain James T. Kirk) found themselves on the opposite side of the Iron Curtain in the 1964 episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., "The Project Strigas Affair". With his saturnine looks, Nimoy was predictably the villain, with Shatner playing a reluctant U.N.C.L.E. recruit. Nimoy went on to reprise Spock's character in a voice-over role in Star Trek: The Animated Series, in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and in six Star Trek motion pictures featuring the original cast.

Following the cancellation of TOS, Nimoy played a spy called Paris in the hit television series Mission: Impossible from 1969?71. Although Nimoy said he enjoyed working with Peter Graves and other cast members, he regarded Mission: Impossible as one of the low points of his career. He considered the work boring and unchallenging. He has often said there are times he barely remembers doing the show. It was during the run of the show that Nimoy fell critically ill with a stomach ulcer. Only expert medical attention saved his life, and the symptoms to this day have not recurred.

He co-starred with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna in the Western movie Catlow (1971). Nimoy also appeared in various made for television films in this period 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), Marco Polo (1982) and he received an Emmy award nomination for best supporting actor for the TV film A Woman Called Golda (1982). In 1973, Nimoy also appeared on an episode of the popular television series Columbo called "A Stitch In Crime". He played a murderous doctor and was one of the few criminals at whom Columbo ever really became angry. In the late 1970s, he hosted and narrated the television series In Search of..., which investigated paranormal or unexplained events or subjects. He also has a memorable character part as a mad scientist-type New Age psychologist in Philip Kaufman's remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It was during this time that Nimoy won acclaim for a series of stage roles as well. He has appeared in such plays as Vincent, Fiddler On The Roof, The Man In The Glass Booth, Oliver, Six 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 and My Fair Lady. When a new Star Trek series was planned in the late 1970s, Nimoy was to be in only two out of every 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 broke into film directing in 1984 with the successful third installment of the Star Trek film series (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock). Nimoy would go on to direct Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and move beyond the Trek universe with Three Men and a Baby in 1987. Nimoy also did occasional work as a voice actor in animated feature films including the character of Galvatron in Transformers: The Movie in 1986 and The Pagemaster in 1994.

Literary works

Nimoy has written two autobiographies, the first one called I Am Not Spock (1977). The title of this book was controversial, as many fans incorrectly assumed that Nimoy was distancing himself from the Spock character; however, Nimoy's stated intention was merely to remind the public at large that Spock and Nimoy were not one and the same. In the book, Nimoy conducts dialogues between himself and Spock.
His second autobiography was entitled I Am Spock (1995), and this title was meant to communicate that he finally realized that his years of portraying the Spock character had led to a much greater identification between the fictional character and the real person. Over the years, 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 this character. As such, in this autobiography Nimoy maintains that in some meaningful sense, he really is now Spock, and Spock is he, 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 entitled A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life (2002). His poetry can be found in the Contemporary Poets index of The HyperTexts. In the mid '70s Nimoy wrote and starred in a one man play called Vincent based on the play Van Gogh by Phillip Stephens.

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

Music career

During and following Star Trek, Nimoy also released five albums of vocal recordings on Dot Records, including Trek-related songs and cover versions of popular tunes. The albums were extremely 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 as the composer of "Quentin's Theme" for the mid-sixties goth soap opera, Dark Shadows. These recordings are generally regarded as unintentionally camp, though 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 also 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.

Current work

Starting in 1994, Nimoy began to narrate the Ancient Mysteries series on The History Channel including "The Sacred Water of Lourdes" and "The Last Days of the Romanovs". He also appeared in advertising in the United Kingdom for the computer company Time Computers in the late 1990s. He had a central role in Brave New World (film), a 1998 TV-movie version of Aldous Huxley's book where he played a character wonderfully reminiscent of Spock in his philosophical balancing of unpredictable human qualities with the need for control. In 1999 and onwards, he had cameos in Futurama, usually as either himself or Spock. In 2003, he announced his retirement from acting in order to concentrate on his photography, such as his recent exhibit for nude pictures of overweight women, but has subsequently appeared in several popular television commercials with William Shatner for He also appeared in a commercial for Aleve, an arthritis pain medication, which aired during the 2006 Super Bowl. Nimoy also provided a comprehensive series of voiceovers for the 2005 computer game Civilization IV. He also did the TV series "Next Wave" where he interviewed people about technology.


? Vincent: Based on the play "Van Gogh" by Phillip Stephens (1978-1981)
? Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
? Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
? Three Men and a Baby (1987)
? The Good Mother (1988)
? Funny About Love (1990)
? Holy Matrimony (1994)
? episodes of T.J. Hooker, The Powers of Matthew Star, and Deadly Games

? Kid Monk Baroni (1951)
? Rhubarb (1951)
? Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952)
? Them! (1954) (uncredited)
? Satan's Satellites (1958)
? The Brain Eaters (1958)
? The Twilight Zone ? "A Quality of Mercy" (1961)
? General Hospital (1963)
? Perry Mason (1963)
? Deathwatch (1966)
? Star Trek (1966-1969): Lieutenant Commander/Commander Spock
? Mission Impossible (1969-1971) Amaging Parris
? The Alpha Caper (1973) (TV)
? Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1974)
? Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
? Vincent: Based on the play "Van Gogh" by Phillip Stephens (1978-1981)
? Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
? A Woman Called Golda (1982) (TV)
? Marco Polo (1982) (mini) TV Series
? Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
? Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
? The Sun Also Rises (1984) (mini) TV Series
? The Transformers: The Movie (1986) Galvatron
? Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
? Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
? The Simpsons, "Marge vs. the Monorail" (1993)
? Never Forget (1991) (TV)
? Star Trek: The Next Generation ? "Unification" (1991) (two-part episode): Ambassador Spock
? Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
? Lights: The Miracle of Chanukah (1993) (voice)
? The Halloween Tree (1993) (voice)
? The Pagemaster (1994) Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (voice)
? The Time Machine (1994) (audio drama) The Time Traveller
? The Simpsons, "The Springfield Files" (1997)
? Brave New World (1998)
? Futurama, "Space Pilot 3000" (1999)
? Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001): King Kashekim Nedakh

? Becker (2001)
? Futurama, "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" (2002)
? Civilization IV (2006): Narrator (voice)

? Vincent: Based on the play "Van Gogh" by Phillip Stephens (1978?)
? Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) (Contributions uncredited)
? Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) (Contributions uncredited)
? Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
? Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)


See also: Leonard Nimoy discography (includes compilations and re-issues)
? Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space (Dot Records), (1967).
? The Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy (Dot Records), (1968).
? The Way I Feel (Dot Records), (1968).
? The Touch of Leonard Nimoy (Dot Records), (1969).
? The New World of Leonard Nimoy (Dot Records), (1970).

? Nimoy came up with the Vulcan nerve pinch during the discussion of an early TOS episode where Spock was supposed to pistol-whip another character. He suggested the "pinch" as a non-violent alternative.
? Nimoy also devised the Vulcan Salute, a raised hand, palm forward with the fingers parted between the middle and ring finger. It is said to be based on the traditional kohanic blessing, which is performed with both hands, thumb to thumb in this position; a position thought to represent the Hebrew letter shin (ש). (This letter is often used as a symbol of God in Judaism, as it is an abbreviation for God's name Shaddai. This usage is seen, for example, on every mezuzah.) Nimoy may also have derived the accompanying spoken blessing, "Live long and prosper" from this source, as the last phrase of the blessing is "May the Lord be forbearing unto you and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-26). Nimoy was asked to read the verses as part of his narration for Civilization IV.
? The surname "Nimoy" is a direct transliteration of the common slavic word немой (nemoi, pronounced /nim.'ɔɪ/), meaning "mute". When used as a surname, however, it does not actually mean mute. In the past, Slavs often applied it to foreigners, such as Germans or Hungarians, who did not speak the local language. The Slovenian term for a German, "Nemec", (nem = mute) was derived in the same way.
? His army service number was ER 11 229 770.
? Nimoy provided narration for the English-language version of the Sega Dreamcast video game Seaman
? A sample of Nimoy as Spock saying "Pure Energy" was used in the 1988 Information Society dance hit "What's On Your Mind?" Usage of digital samples in pop music was almost unheard of at the time and the rights issues proved difficult, but the band was eventually allowed to use this and other Star Trek clips in part thanks to the efforts of Leonard's son Adam, who was working as a copyright lawyer and was a friend-of-a-friend of the band. This sample has since been used by other artists, including DJ Shadow.
? At 6'1" (1.85 meters), Nimoy was the tallest member of the original Star Trek cast.
? He was the only actor to appear in every episode of the original series, including the pilot "The Cage" featuring Christopher Pike, as well as every animated episode and every motion picture starring the original cast.
? Both he and TOS co-star Shatner are of Ukrainian Jewish ethnicity; Shatner's birthdate is four days before Nimoy's.
? Nimoy appeared in both versions of The Outer Limits. He was in The Production and Decay of Strange Particles and I, Robot (both 1964), and in the 2005 remake of I, Robot.
? Nimoy replaced Martin Landau in Mission: Impossible. Ironically, Landau had turned down the Spock role to play the "Rollin Hand" character in Mission Impossible.
? He provided the voice of his own head in a jar in the Futurama episodes "Space Pilot 3000" and "Where No Fan Has Gone Before".
? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is drawn in the Family Guy episode "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows."
? Nimoy has appeared on two episodes of Fox's hit sitcom The Simpsons, in "The Springfield Files" and "Marge vs. the Monorail." He starred as himself in both episodes.
? He was also mentioned in the Gorillaz Bite "Fancy Dress".
? Nimoy is joked about in the 11-minute "Weird Al" Yankovic story/song "Albuquerque," in which there is a contest hosted by a local radio station in Weird Al's neighborhood "to see who can correctly guess the number of molecules on Leonard Nimoy's butt." He is off by three, but he stills wins the grand prize: a first-class one-way ticket to Albuquerque!
? While Star Trek co-stars George Takei and Nichelle Nichols attended in person, Nimoy literally "phoned in" an appearance at William Shatner's 2006 Roast on Comedy Central.
? UK television series Spitting Image featured a puppet of Leonard Nimoy trying to get into serious acting. "To be or not to be, that is illogical, Captain."
? Nimoy was also depicted in a Robot Chicken scene set at a sci-fi convention, apparently bored and frustrated with his Star Trek fans. Later when a riot breaks out between Star Wars and Star Trek fans Nimoy shoots a kid dressed as Darth Maul in the head.

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Created: January 3, 2007   Modified: January 3, 2007