Leonard Nimoy

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
/wiki/Leonard Nimoycreator
LeonardNimoy Grant 11128908 453.jpg

Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015) was an actor best known for playing Spock on Star Trek: The Original Series. He was so much remembered for this role, and little else, that he went on to write an autobiography called I Am Not Spock, a reference to the fact that he didn't like being typecast and taken less seriously as an actor. The title led to a lot of confusion by fans, who assumed he resented Spock as a role, obliging him to write a second book entitled I Am Spock.

Beginning with Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, he started up a low key directing career that included Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Three Men And A Baby. As well, his distinctive voice has lead to several roles in animation and video games.

He also recorded several albums in the late 1960s. Surprisingly, he wasn't as bad as you would think -- or at least, not as campy as Shatner. Your Mileage May Vary: Nimoy appeared on many of the Golden Throats collections issued by Rhino. The earlier albums are especially great for a laugh, especially when he actually was portraying Spock.

Since the mid-'90s, he went into semi-retirement, only taking on the occasional role that really interested him. He eventually retired from on-screen acting completely after a stint as The Ghost William Bell in Fringe, and basically said "If you want to talk about Spock from now on, speak to my replacement." He would still do voice acting roles, including the voice of Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Otherwise, he enjoyed a hobby in photography.

As well-documented by both himself and William Shatner, the two of them and DeForest Kelley shared almost the same relationships offscreen as they did as their most famous characters (albeit with a much more mellow friendship with De, due to him being much less grumpy than McCoy). When Nimoy's father died during Star Trek's original run, Shatner was the only member of the cast who bothered to turn up and provide emotional support, a gesture that Nimoy remembered fondly for the rest of his life.

Sadly, Mr. Nimoy was taken from us at the age of 83, when he passed away due to end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He is survived by his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy. He will be dearly missed.

Other roles included:



  • Paris in Mission Impossible
  • He was also the narrator on In Search Of, a paranormal documentary series that came on between 1976 and 1982. Was parodied on Saturday Night Live during its eighth season (on the episode hosted by Ron Howard) with Joe Piscopo as Nimoy.
  • William Bell on Fringe.
  • Voiced himself on two episodes of The Simpsons: season four's "Marge vs. The Monorail" and season eight's "The Springfield Files" (a.k.a "the Crossover episode with Mulder and Scully from The X-Files")
  • Also voiced himself on two episodes of The Simpsons' sister show, Futurama, as one of many celebrities whose heads have been preserved in jars in the year 3000: the premiere episode "Space Pilot 3000" and the Star Trek Shout-Out episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before."

Video Games

  • Narrated a quotation related to each discovered technology in Civilization IV, including...
"Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep."
Sputnik I
Leonard Nimoy provides examples of the following tropes:
  • The Alcoholic: Used to be.
  • Cool Old Guy: Especially in the Bruno Mars' Lazy Song video.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Unusual for a member of the main character Power Trio, but pulled it off. Spock was by far the absolute most popular character on the show, as Leonard Nimoy discovered on several occasions when large groups of fans were stirred into a frenzy by his very presence. After one of his first public appearances while the show was still on the air caused an actual riot because he appeared in costume, he vowed never to appear as Spock (uniform + ears) in public again for the good of public safety.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow - Very fascinating.
  • I Am Not Spock - Trope Namer. Later he wrote a follow-up book: I Am Spock.
  • Judaism - Nimoy considered himself to be Modern Orthodox.
    • In fact, he based the Vulcan 'Live Long and Prosper' salute on a hand gesture he had seen a rabbi make as part of a blessing.
  • The Mentor: To Zachary Quinto
  • Never Live It Down: Everyone involved in publishing the book I Am Not Spock advised him against naming it that, but he thought he knew better. The book caused the Common Knowledge that he hated the character, something which dogged his career for decades. He even wrote I Am Spock in part to try and finally put the old rumor to rest (with mixed success).
  • Older Than They Look: He was in his eighties and looked very good all the way to the end.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: He noted that Vulcan ears seemed to inspire it in many women. In one of his first screentests wearing them, he said a visiting actress was visibly stunned by his appearance, and pleaded to be able to touch the ears.
  • The Power of Love: Nimoy said he had not touched a drop of alcohol since finding love with his new wife.
  • Typecasting: Found himself unusually prone to this. Well, being typecast as Spock-like characters probably wasn't surprising, but he found it infuriating how easily he was typecast as a director. After directing Star Trek III and Star Trek IV, he lobbied to direct 3 Men and a Baby... only to be told the studio was dubious, because how could he direct a normal comedy when his directorial experience was in science fiction? After that, he became intensely interested in directing The Good Mother... only to have to fight for it because he had been instantly pigeonholed as a successful comedic director.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Literally and justified. He grew up in a Yiddish-speaking household (his parents were Jewish immigrants from Ukraine).