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Leonard Simon Nimoy ( ; born March 26, 1931) is an Americanmarker actor, film director, poet, musician and photographer. He is famous for playing the character of Spock on the original Star Trek series, and he reprised the role in various movie and television sequels.

Early life

Nimoy was born in Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker, to Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants from Iziaslav, Ukrainemarker. His father, Max Nimoy, owned a barbershop. His mother, Dora Nimoy (née Spinner), was a homemaker. Nimoy began acting at the age of eight. His first major role was Ralphie in Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing, at 17. He studied photography at the University of California, Los Angelesmarker, completing his degree at Boston Collegemarker in 1953, and has an MA in Education and an honorary doctorate from Antioch University in Ohio.

Nimoy served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1953 through 1955, alongside fellow actor Ken Berry.

Leonard had a guest role in the television series Sea Hunt in 1958.

He 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 1961, he had a minor role in The Twilight Zone episode "A Quality of Mercy".


Stage and screen

Nimoy's most famous role is the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock from Star Trek: The Original Series, which ran from 1966 to 1969. He earned three Emmy nominations for playing this character.

Nimoy and William Shatner (who would go on to play Spock's commanding officer, Captain James T. Kirk) were on opposite sides 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. He played an older Spock in the 2009 Star Trek movie directed by J. J. Abrams.

Before his success in Star Trek, Nimoy had acted in more than fifty movies or television shows. He played an Army sergeant in the 1954 Sci Fi thriller, "THEM!" He appeared as "Sonarman" in two episodes of the 1957–1958 syndicated military drama, The Silent Service, based on actual events of the submarine section of the United States Navy. Although most of these appearances were on television, Nimoy guest starred in The Balcony, an adaptation of a play by Jean Genet. Following the cancellation of the original Star Trek, Nimoy immediately joined the cast of the spy series Mission: Impossible, which was seeking a replacement for Martin Landau. Nimoy was cast as an IMF agent who was an ex-magician and make-up expert, "The Amazing Paris." He played the role from 1969 to 1971, on the fourth and fifth seasons of the show.

Nimoy in 1972
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). Nimoy played other guest roles in a number of TV series including Bonanza, The Eleventh Hour, Get Smart, Two Faces West, The Outer Limits, Combat!, Perry Mason, Night Gallery & Columbo. 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 psychiatrist 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 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, Equus and My Fair Lady.

Star Trek after the original series

Nimoy signing autographs at a Star Trek convention, c.
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 started film directing in 1984 with the third installment of the film series. Nimoy would go on to direct the second most successful film (critically and financially) in the franchise to date after the 2009 Star Trek film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and move beyond the Trek universe with Three Men and a Baby, the highest grossing film of 1987. At a press conference promoting the 2009 Star Trek movie, Nimoy made it clear that he had no further plans or ambition to direct.

Other work in the late 1980s and the 1990s

Nimoy did occasional work as a voice actor in animated feature films, including the character of Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie in 1986.

In 1991, Nimoy teamed up with Robert Radnitz to produce a movie for TNT about a pro bono publico lawsuit brought by public interest attorney William John Cox on behalf of Mel Mermelstein, an Auschwitz survivor, against a group of organizations engaged in Holocaust denial. Nimoy also played the Mermelstein role and believes: "If every project brought me the same sense of fulfillment that Never Forget did, I would truly be in paradise."

In 1998 Nimoy had a leading role as Mustapha Mond in the made-for-television production of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. He performed in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The Pagemaster in 1994.

Literary works

Nimoy has written two autobiographies. The first was called I Am Not Spock (1975) and was controversial, as many fans incorrectly assumed that Nimoy was distancing himself from the Spock character. In the book, Nimoy conducts dialogues between himself and Spock. The contents of this first autobiography also touched on a self-proclaimed "identity crisis" that seemed to haunt Nimoy throughout his career. It also related to an apparent love/hate relationship with the character of Spock and the Trek franchise.

His second autobiography was I Am Spock (1995), communicating that he finally realized his years of portraying the Spock character had led to a much greater identification between the fictional character and the real person. 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 titled 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 1970s 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 such as "Highly Illogical", and cover versions of popular tunes, such as "Proud Mary". In regards to how his recording career got started, he stated:

The albums were 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 for his version of "Quentin's Theme" from 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 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.

He released a version of Johnny Cash's song "I Walk the Line".

Nimoy's voice appeared in a song from 1988's pop band "Information Society". The song was What's On Your Mind? (Pure Energy) which reached #3 on the US Pop charts, and #1 on Dance charts.

Nimoy appeared in Hearts of Space program number 142 - "Whales alive."

Current work

Starting in 1994, Nimoy began to narrate the Ancient Mysteries series on A&E including "The Sacred Water of Lourdesmarker" 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, a 1998 TV-movie version of Aldous Huxley's novel where he played a character reminiscent of Spock in his philosophical balancing of unpredictable human qualities with the need for control. Nimoy has also appeared in several popular television series including Futurama and The Simpsons as both himself and Spock.

In 2003, he announced his retirement from acting to concentrate on photography, but he has subsequently appeared in several television commercials with William Shatner for He appeared in a commercial for Aleve, an arthritis pain medication, which aired during the 2006 Super Bowl.

Nimoy provided a comprehensive series of voiceovers for the 2005 computer game Civilization IV. Nimoy was also the narrator of the 2000 Sega Dreamcast game "Seaman". He did the TV series Next Wave where he interviewed people about technology. He is the host in the documentary film The Once and Future Griffith Observatory currently running in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater located at the recently reopened Griffith Observatorymarker in Los Angeles, Californiamarker.

In January 2007, he granted an interview to Fat Free Film, where he discussed his early career and the benefits of being typecast.

Nimoy was given casting approval over who would play the young Spock in the newest film.

On January 6, 2009, he was interviewed by William Shatner on Biography Channel's Shatner's Raw Nerve.

In May 2009, he made an appearance as the mysterious Dr. William Bell in the season finale of Fringe, which explore the existence of a parallel universe. Nimoy will return as Dr. Bell this fall for an extended arc, and according to Roberto Orci, co-creator of Fringe, Bell will be "the beginning of the answers to even bigger questions." This choice led one reviewer to question if Fringe's plot might be an homage to the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror", which featured an alternate reality "Mirror Universe" concept and an evil version of Spock distinguished by a goatee.

On the May 9, 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live, Nimoy appeared as a surprise guest on the skit "Weekend Update". During a mock interview, Nimoy called old Trekkies who did not like the new movie "dickheads". In the 2009 Star Trek movie, he plays Spock of the future (Zachary Quinto meanwhile, portrays the younger Spock).

Staring with Will Ferrell in the tv based movie; Land of the Lost in June 2009, he voiced the part of "The Zarn" an Altrusian.

Nimoy is also a frequent and popular reader for "Selected Shorts," an ongoing series of programs at Symphony Spacemarker in New York City (that also tours around the country) which features actors, and sometimes authors, reading works of short fiction. The programs are broadcast on radio and available on websites through Public Radio International, National Public Radio and WNYCmarker radio. Nimoy was honored by Symphony Space with the renaming of the Thalia Theater as the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater.

Personal life

Nimoy has long been active in the Jewish community. He speaks and reads Yiddish. 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 The Shekhina Project, a photographic study exploring the feminine aspect of God's presence, inspired by Kabbalah.

Nimoy has been married twice. In 1954, he married actress Sandra Zober, whom he divorced in 1987. He had two children with her, director Adam Nimoy and Julie Nimoy, who both appear in an Oldsmobile commercial, with the famous tagline, "This is not your father's Oldsmobile". In 1988, he married actress Susan Bay, who is a cousin of director Michael Bay.

Nimoy still keeps the last pair of Spock's ears he wore on the series, as a memento. Nimoy has said that the character of Spock, which he played twelve to fourteen hours a day, five days a week, influenced his personality in private life. Each weekend during the original run of the series, he would be in character throughout Saturday and into Sunday, behaving more like Spock than himself - more logical, more rational, more thoughtful, less emotional, and finding a calm in every situation. It was only on Sunday in the early afternoon that Spock's influence on his behavior would fade off, and he would feel more himself again - only to start the cycle over Monday morning.

Nimoy devised the Vulcan salute - a raised hand with palm forward, the fingers parted between the middle and ring finger - 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 . (This letter is often used as a symbol of God in Judaism, as it is an abbreviation for one of God's names, El Shaddai. This usage is seen, for example, on every mezuzah.) Nimoy says he derived the accompanying spoken blessing, "Live long and prosper" from this source; the last phrase of the blessing is "May the Lord be forebearing 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.

Nimoy also introduced the Vulcan nerve pinch in an early Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within". Initially, Spock was supposed to knock out an evil Kirk in the Engineering room by striking him on the back of the head. Nimoy felt that the action was not in keeping with the nature of Spock's character, so he suggested the "pinch" as a non-violent alternative using the suggestion that Vulcans have the ability to emit energy from their fingertips which, if applied to the correct nerve cluster, could render a human unconscious.


Year Film Role Notes
1951 Rhubarb Young Ball Player
1952 Kid Monk Baroni Paul 'Monk' Baroni
Zombies of the Stratosphere Narab
1953 Old Overland Trail Chief Black Hawk
1954 Them! Army Sergeant
1958 The Brain Eaters Professor Cole
Sea Hunt Indio (TV series) 6 episodes (1958–1960)
1963 The Balcony Roger
1964 The Outer Limits Judson Ellis (TV series) (Episode "I, Robot")
1966 Get Smart Stryker (TV series) (Episode "The Dead Spy Scrawls")
Deathwatch Jules LaFranc
Star Trek Mr. Spock

(TV series) (80 episodes)
1969 Mission: Impossible Paris

(TV series) (49 episodes)
1971 Catlow Miller
1973 Baffled! Tom Kovack (TV)
Columbo: A Stitch in Crime Dr. Barry Mayfield (TV)
Star Trek: The Animated Series Mr. Spock

(voice) (16 episodes)
1974 Rex Harrison Presents Stories of Love Mick (TV)
1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers Dr. David Kibner
1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture Mr. Spock
1981 Vincent Theo Van Gogh (TV)
1982 A Woman Called Golda Morris Meyerson (TV)
Marco Polo Achmet (TV mini-series)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Captain Spock
1984 Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Captain Spock
The Sun Also Rises Count Mippipopolous (TV)
1986 Transformers: The Movie Galvatron (voice)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Captain Spock
1989 Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Captain Spock
1991 Never Forget Mel Mermelstein (TV)
Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories Narrator (TV)
Star Trek: The Next Generation Ambassador Spock

(2 episodes)
(TV series) (episodes "Unification: Part 1" & "Unification: Part 2")
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Captain Spock
1993 The Halloween Tree Mr. Moundshroud (voice)
1994 The Pagemaster Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde (voice)
1995 Bonaza: Under Attack Frank James (TV)
The Outer Limits Thomas Cutler (TV series) (episoded "I, Robot")
Titanica Narrator (documentary)
1997 David Samuel (TV)
1998 Brave New World Mustapha Mond (TV)
2000 Seaman Narrator (video game)
Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists Akron/Baraka/King Chandra (voice)
2001 Becker Professor Emmett Fowler (TV series) (episode "The TorMentor")
Atlantis: The Lost Empire King Kashekim Nedakh (voice)
2005 Civilization IV Narrator (video game)
2009 Star Trek Spock Prime
Fringe Dr. William Bell (TV series) (episode "There's More Than One of Everything")
Land of the Lost The Zarn (voice)





  • You & I (1973) (ISBN 978-0912310268)
  • Will I Think of You? (1974) (ISBN 0912310701)
  • We Are All Children Searching for Love: A Collection of Poems and Photographs (1977) (ISBN 978-0883960240)
  • Come be With Me (1978) (ISBN 978-0883960332)
  • These Words are for You (ISBN 978-0883961483)
  • Warmed by Love (1983) (ISBN 978-0883962008)
  • A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life (2002) (ISBN 978-0883965962)


See also: Leonard Nimoy discography (includes compilations and re-issues)


  1. The Official Leonard Nimoy Fan Club
  2. Leonard Simon Nimoy genealogy
  3. Leonard Nimoy - a paladin for the plump / Ex-actor's images sing out in praise of naked plus-size body
  4. Sfgate: Leonard Nimoy -- a paladin for the plump
  5. Leonard Nimoy Biography (1931-)
  6. Leonard Nimoy Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  7. From 'Spock': The beauty of big women - International Herald Tribune
  8. NNDB Profile for actor Leonard Nimoy (accessed 2009-09-11)
  9. Nimoy, Leonard, I Am Spock, New York: Hyperion, 1995.
  10. The HyperTexts
  11. The Musical Touch of Leonard Nimoy
  12. Leonard Nimoy interviewed on the Independent Film Podcast - Fat Free Film
  13. Nimoy Joins Fringe
  14. - V Review: FRINGE- SEASON ONE - 'The Road Not Taken' by Emerson Parker
  15. Michael Bay's Transformers DVD audio commentary, 2007, Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks
  16. Bring Back Star Trek, Channel 4, The UK, broadcasted on 9.00–10.35pm 09/05/2009
  17. YouTube - Leonard Nimoy: The Origin of Spock's Greeting

External links


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