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Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy is an American actor best known for his portrayal of the logical Vulcan science officer Spock, of the Starship Enterprise, on the original Star Trek TV series (1966-69). Nimoy is also a noted photographer, poet, motion picture director, philanthropist, and even managed to release a few albums as a singer.

Nimoy as Spock
Nimoy as Spock
Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Leonard Simon Nimoy

Date and place of birth: March 26, 1931, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. *

Date, place and cause of death: (Alive as of 2012)

Marriage #1
Wife: Sandra ("Sandi") Zober (m. February 21, 1954 - 1987) (divorced)

Marriage #2
Wife: Susan Bay (m. 1988 - present)

Son: Adam Nimoy (b. August 9, 1956, at 11:22 p.m., Los Angeles, California)
Daughter: Julie Nimoy (b. March 21, 1955, at 9:30 p.m., Atlanta, Georgia)

Father: Max Nimoy (a barbershop owner) (b. 1900 - d. 1987)
Mother: Dora (Spinner) Nimoy

Error corrections or clarifications

* In his autobiographies, Leonard Nimoy confirms not only his own date of birth, shown above, but those of his children as well.

** Note: At least one source has erroneously reports he won three Emmys for his work on Star Trek. In point of fact, Leonard Nimoy received three Emmy nominations for his portrayal of Spock on the original series. He was also nominated for a best supporting actor Emmy for his work in A Woman Called Golda (1982).

Biography - Credits

Leonard Nimoy grew up in a Jewish Orthodox neighborhood in Boston, went to an Orthodox synagogue, and sang in the choir. His family actually spoke Yiddish at home. He began acting on stage as a child in Boston, and as a teen, he performed at war bond rallies. His older brother, Melvin Nimoy, graduated from MIT and became a chemical engineer. Leonard studied drama at Boston College and later the Pasadena Playhouse (1949-50) before finding small parts in B-movies and TV shows. A brief stint of military service (December 3rd, 1953 - November 23rd, 1955) interrupted his early years as a young character actor.

Even after numerous television guest appearances, he was unknown to the public until Gene Roddenberry cast him in the role of a lifetime. As the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer on the USS Enterprise, Spock became one of the most popular characters on the show. Viewers were particularly intrigued by his struggle to remain logical and emotionless. Nimoy earned three Emmy nominations** for his work on the series, one for every year Star Trek aired. Following its cancellation, the show developed a massive cult following when it was rerun in syndication. In 1973, this led to an animated cartoon series, Star Trek (a.k.a. Star Trek: The Animated Series), for which the original Star Trek actors provided the voices. George Takei who portrayed Sulu, and Nichelle Nichols who played communications officer Uhura, were not originally asked to reprise their Star Trek characters for the animated series. Takei recalled, "When they first got the project together, Nichelle and I were not asked to participate. When Leonard learned of that, he said to the producers, 'Then you're not interested in having me, because one of the key pillars of Star Trek is diversity and people of different cultures working together.' Leonard used his clout, because they absolutely needed Leonard, and we were called in to do our voices on the series. This just shows how Leonard is truly a human being with great integrity."

After the cancellation of Star Trek (1966-69), Nimoy joined the cast of Mission: Impossible as a series regular, where he played Paris, a master of disguise (1969-1971). Then, from 1976-82 (144 episodes) he served as host and narrator of the syndicated television show In Search of ... The documentary series investigated paranormal, and unexplained events.

Many are unaware of the fact Leonard Nimoy had a noteworthy career as a director. In addition to directing Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), he was responsible for the entertaining smash hit Three Men and a Baby (1987), as well as The Good Mother (1988), Funny About Love (1990), and Holy Matrimony (1994). He also directed his former Star Trek co-star, William Shatner, on his '80s series T.J. Hooker. He'd made his directorial debut back in the early 1970s on Rod Serling's Night Gallery.

In addition to his acting, Nimoy is an accomplished photographer who has had exhibitions of his works, is a published poet, and a singer whose early albums are known more for their camp value than any exceeding vocal aptitude. He's been married twice, and has two children from his first marriage. His son Adam is an accomplished director with numerous television credits. His son actually directed him in the I, Robot episode of The Outer Limits TV series in the 1990s, which was a remake of the original I, Robot episode in the original The Outer Limits show back in the 1960s. Leonard Nimoy starred in that original episode as well.

His vocal stylings can be heard on his albums Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space, Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, The Way I Feel, The Touch of Leonard Nimoy and The New World of Leonard Nimoy.

Volumes of his poetry (some of which were self-illustrated with his photographs) include You and I (1973), Will I Think of You (1974), We Are All Children Searching for Love: A Collection of Poems and Photographs (1977), Come Be with Me (1978), These Words Are for You (1981), and Warmed by Love (1983).

He wrote two autobiographies, the first, I Am Not Spock, published in 1975, and the second, I Am Spock, published in 1995.

In 2002, Nimoy announced he was retiring from acting so he could focus on his photography. Following his initial retirement, he and his wife made sizable donations to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles to endow the Nimoy Fund for Emerging Artists, and another to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles for its renovation. The Griffith Observatory officially reopened its doors to the public November 3rd, 2006, after completing a four-year $93 million renovation and expansion project. The observatory's 200-seat Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater was so named following a million dollar donation made by Nimoy and his wife, in 2001.

The Nimoy Foundation works to fund organizations that support visual artists through direct fees and/or subsidies of space, supplies and services; to connect artists with institutions that can advance their careers; to support artists working in communities who have a goal of mentoring and teaching others, especially young and aspiring artists; and to inspire other philanthropists to support the arts. At the time of The Nimoy Foundation's 2007 grant announcements, Leonard Nimoy said, "We are delighted our program has funded hundreds of artists working in top visual arts centers. To support the highest level of artistic vision, creativity and free expression is most satisfying. Finally, knowing our investment has inspired other philanthropists to fund the arts--and the work of artists--is indeed rewarding."

Published in 2007, The Full Body Project: Photographs by Leonard Nimoy, raised more than a few eyebrows with his nude photographs of obese women. Another book showing his talents behind the lens, was Shekhina, published in 2002.

Nimoy was occasionally lured out of retirement for an acting role. He appeared in J.J. Abrams' 2009 film Star Trek, and had the recurring role of William Bell on TV's supernatural series Fringe. "I answer the phone, particularly when J.J. Abrams calls me," the actor noted in 2010.

Selected film credits:
Leonard's Star Trek feature film credits include Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Star Trek (2009), and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). Other motion picture credits include the Western Catlow starring Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna (1971), and the first-rate 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Donald Sutherland.

Another of his notable roles was in a 1991 TV-movie for which he also served as executive producer. Never Forget told the story of Holocaust survivor Mel Mermelstein who successfully sued the Institute for Historical Review, which claimed the Holocaust never happened.

Selected TV guest appearances:
Nimoy also guest starred on many notable television series such as Highway Patrol, 26 Men, Dragnet, Colt .45, Rawhide, M Squad, Sea Hunt, The Rebel, Bonanza, Wagon Train, Tales of Wells Fargo, The Twilight Zone, Laramie, The Untouchables, Perry Mason, Dr. Kildare, The Outer Limits, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Death Valley Days, Kraft Suspense Theatre, The Virginian, Combat!, A Man Called Shenandoah, Daniel Boone, Get Smart, Gunsmoke, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Hollywood Palace, The Flip Wilson Show, The Mike Douglas Show, Night Gallery, Columbo, T.J. Hooker, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, The Simpsons, Futurama, Becker, and Fringe.

Selected stage credits:
He appeared in several Broadway productions, and gave many acclaimed performances on stage. His theater credits include, Full Circle, Equus, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, Camelot, Sherlock Holmes, The King and I, A Streetcar Named Desire, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Oliver, Love Letters, and Vincent. Vincent was a touring one-man drama Nimoy wrote himself, and starred in, as Theo van Gogh, brother of the artist Vincent van Gogh.


The most in-depth of more than three dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile, include Leonard Nimoy's autobiographies, I Am Not Spock (1975), and I Am Spock (1995).

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