Star Wars

Leonard Nimoy, iconic actor who played Star Trek's Mr Spock, dies at 83

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 February, 2015, 10:57am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 December, 2015, 6:34pm

Leonard Nimoy

When Leonard Nimoy was approached to act in a new television series called Star Trek, he was - like any good Vulcan contemplating a risky mission in a chaotic universe - dispassionate.

"I really didn't give it a lot of thought," he later recalled. "The chance of this becoming anything meaningful was slim."

By the time Star Trek finished its three-year run in 1969, Nimoy was a cultural touchstone - a living representative of the scientific method, a voice of pure reason in a time of social turmoil, the unflappable and impeccably logical Mr Spock.

Nimoy, who became so identified with his television and film role that he titled his two memoirs, somewhat illogically, I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (1995), died of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on Friday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 83.

US President Barack Obama joined Nimoy's co-stars from Star Trek to bid adieu to the actor.

"Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy," said Obama, who recalled meeting the Boston-born Nimoy with the Vulcan salute in 2007.

More than a household name, Nimoy was a "lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time," the president added. "I loved Spock."

William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek, said: "I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humour, his talent, and his capacity to love."

In Hong Kong, loyal Star Trek fans were planning to gather for dinner next Saturday to commemorate Nimoy.

"He is the most important character … A lot of loyal fans are connected with him," said Justin Saley, who is in charge of Hong Kong Star Trek Federation, the dinner's organiser.

Fans also paid tribute to the actor in the heart of Hollywood, with a stream of fans of all ages stopping at Nimoy's star on Hollywood's "Walk of Fame".

"Before Obi-Wan, before Yoda, before Star Wars - there was Spock," Gregg Donovan said.

Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, to Jewish immigrant parents from what is now Ukraine, Nimoy left for Hollywood at age 18, winning a sprinkling of small parts in 1950s television series.

With his square 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 the world of science fiction.

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. He also directed 1987 hit comedy 3 Men and a Baby starring Tom Selleck.

Tribune News Service, Agence France-Presse, Staff Reporter