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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The final frontier for Leonard Nimoy


    Courtesy of NBC Television

    The Starship Enterprise lost a legendary officer this weekend. For one of the most popular TV series in history and for eight subsequent movies spread out across two different generations, Leonard Nimoy was Spock from “Star Trek.”

    The half-human, half-Vulcan science officer aboard the Enterprise, Spock was a character written by the show’s creators but brought to life by Nimoy. His portrayal made Spock one of the most beloved science fiction characters of all time, and Nimoy was forever tied to his Vulcan alter ego.

    Nimoy died Friday in Los Angeles, Calif., due to end-stage, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at age 83. Fans around the world have joined Nimoy’s friends and family in their time of grieving.

    Nimoy was born in Boston, Mass., on March 26, 1931, to parents Max and Dora Nimoy, who were immigrants from the Soviet Union. Nimoy acted in various community plays during his childhood. He decided to follow his dreams and pursue acting after his first big role as Ralph in the production “Awake and Sing!”

    In the early years of his career, Nimoy found many minor roles on B-movie film sets. In addition, part of the two years that he spent serving in the military was in the Army’s Special Services Branch, where he produced stage shows for his comrades.

    Nimoy was also often seen as a guest star on various television shows, including episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” “The Untouchables” and “Outer Limits.”

    His place in film and television history was solidified when he began his work on the original “Star Trek” TV series that ran from 1966 to 1969. Although the series only had 79 episodes that stretched across three seasons, the program was immensely popular and opened many doors for the science fiction genre.

    Nimoy’s character, Spock, was groundbreaking. By having a human mother and a Vulcan father, Spock was a unique combination of Vulcan logic and science and human faults and emotions. He was extremely intelligent, somewhat mysterious and, on rare occasions, subtly emotional.

    Once he was cast into the role, Nimoy helped develop much of what is considered today to be Spock’s signature personality. Every deliverance of a line and every movement had to have the essence of Spock, and Nimoy made sure that it did. Nimoy also created the famous Vulcan salute from a childhood memory.

    During an Orthodox Jewish ceremony, Nimoy witnessed a group of worshippers performing a ritual to bless the congregation. The congregation was supposed to close their eyes or turn away during this blessing, but Nimoy stole a glance of the group and saw that they were holding out their hands in a strange v-shape. This image stuck with him, and while working on the first episode of “Star Trek” that featured Vulcans, Nimoy suggested that this V-shaped hand gesture should be the Vulcan salute.

    Almost 50 years later, fans of “Star Trek” and Spock continue to use the Vulcan salute to send the iconic message, “Live long and prosper.”

    Throughout the remainder of his life, Nimoy dabbled in photography, music, writing and poetry, and continued to be involved in film and television through acting, screenwriting and directing. He married his first wife, Sandra Zober, in 1954 and had two children, Julie and Adam Nimoy. After a divorce, he married Susan Bay in 1989.

    Nimoy never really separated from Spock. He felt fans had a hard time distinguishing him from the character which reflected in his first autobiography titled, “I Am Not Spock.” However, in his second autobiography, “I Am Spock,” he seemed to embrace the shared persona he had created in playing the officer.

    “Spock is definitely one of my best friends,” Nimoy told Starlog, a science fiction magazine, in 1989. “When I put on those ears, it’s not like just another day. When I become Spock, that day becomes something special.”


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