Leonard Nimoy, the iconic actor, who was best known for his portrayal of Mr. Spock on the incredible science fiction television show, Star Trek, passed away on February 27, 2015 in his home in Bel Air, from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He was 83.
Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Ukrainian Jewish immigrant parents. Nimoy was fluent in Yiddish and was highly involved with the Jewish community. Even though he first began acting at the age of 8, it was not until he was 20 years old that he first appeared on film, playing the role of Chief in Arthur Lubin’s comedy, Queen for a Day. At around the same time Nimoy enlisted as a reserve for the US Army from early 1950s until 1955. While in the Army, he served and became friends with Ken Berry, who later became a successful actor as well. During his service, Nimoy was mostly stationed in Ft. McPherson in Georgia and was a Sergeant when he was discharged.
Nimoy’s military career did not prevent him from acting. He participated in educational videos, educating soldiers about PTSD. After his discharge from the military, Nimoy continued his pursuit of his acting career, taking some drama classes at Boston College and playing roles in films, like the Brain Eaters, as well as television series, like ‘Bonanza,’ ‘Broken Arrow,’ ‘Sea Hunt,’ ‘The Twilight Zone,’ and ‘The Lieutenant.’ He also appeared in an episode from ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ along with William Shatner.
It was his role in the Lieutenant that initially grabbed the attention of the executive producer, Gene Roddenberry, who later offered Nimoy his legendary role of Mr. Spock on ‘Star Trek’ with William Shatner playing Captain Kirk.
The role of Spock on Star Trek was what really gave Nimoy’s acting career a boost with “Warp Speed,” earning 3 Emmy nominations for his portrayal of the half-Vulcan. Nimoy then went on to reprise his role of Spock in ‘Star Trek: The animated series,’ ‘Star Trek: Next Generation,’ as well as J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek,’ and ‘Star Trek Into Darkness.’ He also received the Douglass S. Morrow Public Outreach Award for his portrayal of Spock and creating a positive role model, inspiring others to learn about the universe from The Space Foundation.
Other than Star Trek, Nimoy’s claim to fame include roles in ‘A Woman Called Golda’ (Emmy nominated), voice of Glavatron in Transformers, roles on Columbo, the Simpsons (as himself), Futurama, Fringe, and the Big Bang Theory (as himself).
Nimoy also voiced several video games, including Star Trek online and Kingdom Hearts. In addition, Nimoy also made a few music videos, one of them being a Ballad of Bilbo Baggins:
Ballad of Bilbo Baggins
Nimoy has also written a number of screenplays, including Vincent, about the painter Vincent van Gough, as well as Star Trek IV and Star Trek VI.
Nimoy initially wanted to distance himself from his portrayal of Spock shortly after the Star Trek series concluded, and even released his first biography with the title, “I’m not Spock.” However, over the years he had come to embrace his famous portrayal, later releasing a follow-up titled, “I am Spock.”
In February 2014 Nimoy was diagnosed with COPD and died in his home one year later. He will forever be remembered as an inspiration to fans of science fiction, scientists , and Veterans. Rest in peace, dear Mr. Nimoy.
Dr. Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a scientist, and a full time geek. She uses Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and trauma at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management and Sharp Memorial Hospital and is also a professor at Alliant International University, San Diego. Dr. Scarlet is a chapter author of Walking Dead Psychology and Star Wars Psychology. If you would like to learn more about Superhero Therapy, please feel free to contact Dr. Janina Scarlet via Twitter @shadowquill, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Shadow.Scarletl, or via her website at www.superhero-therapy.com