Leonard Nimoy died Friday of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his Bel Air, Los Angeles, home at the age of 83. Of course, he will always be remembered for the groundbreaking role of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. But he also had many other accomplishments, such as directing, writing poetry, and photography, that Nimoy was proud of and in which he excelled.
He portrayed the logical Vulcan for the three-year run of the program from 1966 to 1969, when it was cancelled due to poor ratings. Many say the cancellation was due to its unfavorable Friday-night time slot in its final season, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
It’s almost impossible to imagine anyone else in the iconic role. Leonard Nimoy brought a life to the role, making Mr. Spock more than just a caricature with pointy ears.
At first, Nimoy was ambivalent about portraying the half-human alien, for which he was often typecast. His first autobiography published in 1977 was entitled, I Am Not Spock, as stated in the New York Times. In that book, Leonard Nimoy noted the relationship between him and the character. When fans chastised his seeming attempt to distance himself from the beloved Spock character, he indicated that he was just trying to distinguish the nuances between himself and Mr. Spock. As stated in the New York Times, Mr. Nimoy came to terms with his celebrated portrayal of the Vulcan.
“In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”
I Am Spock, his second autobiography, was published in 1995. By then, he had apparently come to terms with the fact that people would eternally identify him on some level with the intellectual Vulcan.
Leonard Nimoy had many other accomplishments for which he was known by that time. After the original Star Trek series first-run ended, he joined the cast of the television series Mission: Impossible, for two seasons, ending in 1971, as noted in the Washington Post.
He subsequently returned to one of his loves, acting on stage, most notably playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. He studied photography at the University of California, Los Angeles, according to the Washington Post, and published volumes of photographs as well as poetry.
He was nominated for three Emmy awards during the original Star Trek series, and a forth for his role in A Woman Called Golda, a 1982 television film, in which he played Morris Meyerson, the husband of Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, played by Ingrid Bergman, as stated in the Hollywood Reporter.
According to ABC News, Leonard Nimoy had many other accomplishments, which included over 130 acting credits and a dozen directing credits. He was a director of the 1987 blockbuster movie 3 Men and a Baby, starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg. He also directed many other big-name movie stars in the late 1980s through the mid 1990s, including The Good Mother, which starred Liam Neeson and Diane Keaton in 1988, the Gene Wilder 1990 vehicle Funny About Love, and the 1993 comedy Holy Matrimony, starring Patricia Arquette, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Although Nimoy’s interests and talents were varied, he didn’t wander too far from the galaxy-wide Star Trek franchise, and directed the 1984 film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and the 1986 film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which he also helped co-write. In 1991, he reprised the seminal Mr. Spock character on two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was also a writer and the executive producer of the 1991 movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
But Leonard Nimoy’s talents extended far beyond the small or wide screen. He can be called a real Renaissance Man.
He was a poet, writing nine poetry books, some of which featured his photography to accompany the written word, including You and I, Warmed by Love and A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life, according to Variety and the New York Times.
After studying photography at UCLA during the 1970s, Nimoy’s photographic work was displayed in various museums and galleries. He also published The Full Body Project: Photographs by Leonard Nimoy and the 2002 book, Shekhina. According to the Washington Post, he named the book Shekhina after the feminine Hebrew term capturing God’s essence. He was, to use a Spockism, “fascinated” with the concept. The booked stirred some controversy because of the scantily clad models photographed to convey that angelic idea, according to the Washington Post.
Nimoy also sang and recorded the spoken word. According to Variety, he released five records under the Dot Records label, including extraterrestrial music with narration by the master, Leonard Nimoy, paying homage to his alter-ego, entitled Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.
Nimoy was known as an avid art collector. Leonard was also a philanthropist. He established The Nimoy Foundation with his second wife, Susan, in which he founded a national grant program supporting contemporary artists’ work, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
He and Susan also donated one million dollars in 2001 for the renovation of L.A’s Griffith Observatory. Fittingly, in light of Nimoy’s Star Trek background of traveling the universe, at the Observatory, visitors can, in a sense, visit the universe. They can view the cosmos through its telescopes, visit exhibits, and attend live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. The Observatory has paid tribute to Leonard Nimoy on its Facebook page, as being a true friend to it who helped finance its expansion.
Leonard and Susan also endowed Temple Israel’s Bay-Nimoy Early Childhood Center in Hollywood, according to Variety.
Ironically, despite the many pursuits at which he excelled, Leonard Nimoy’s persona always returned to green-blooded, Vulcan-human bigger-than-life character Mr. Spock. He wrote the following, as quoted in The New York Times.
“Given the choice, if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.”
Leonard Nimoy made peace with the iconic character for which he will eternally be identified. LLAP.
As noted in the Inquisitr, tributes for Leonard Nimoy continue.
[Video Courtesy YouTube, Photography Courtesy Michael Bouteteu/Getty Images]