The world was dealt a heavy blow on February 27th when Leonard Nimoy, the legendary actor who portrayed the iconic character of Spock on Star Trek, passed away at the age of 83. On February 19th, Nimoy was taken to the hospital for chest pains and died 8 days later. His death is the tragic result of his ongoing fight with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which he attributed to smoking, a habit he had given up 30 years ago.
It’s something that is happening all too often these days. Celebrities who are responsible for some of the greatest roles of the ’70s and ’80s are passing away. Just last year we lost the likes of Robin Williams, James Garner and Harold Ramis, to name only a few. It’s a brutal reminder that death claims us all eventually, no matter who we are or what kind of impact we made on the world.
But enough with sadness, let’s instead celebrate the life of a man who has brought joy, inspiration and hours of entertainment to millions of people. Nimoy appeared in many films and television series before the original Star Trek series began in 1966, but it was his role as the Vulcan Spock that catapulted his career. Stoic, logical and practical to a fault, Spock stands as one of the most recognizable science fiction characters of all time due to his distinctive appearance, memorable quotes and, of course, Nimoy’s fantastic performance. Nimoy went on to star in all 3 seasons of the series as well as six films that featured the original cast. I myself am not very familiar with the original show, having only seen a couple of episodes, but everything I do know is due in large part to my father, who‘s love and passion for the franchise sparked my own appreciation of the science-fiction genre. Nimoy would later reprise the role in the 2009 reeboot of the Star Trek franchise as well as its sequel.
His career didn’t end with Spock. Some might remember his short but impactful role in the FOX series Fringe in which he played Dr. William Bell, the head of a massive technology corporation called Massive Dynamic and served as both an ally and villain to the show’s heroes. Nimoy was the host of the syndicated series In Search of… which explored real-life paranormal and unexplained events and also voiced the character of Master Xehanort in the popular video game franchise Kingdom Hearts. One aspect of Nimoy’s career that many people probably don’t know about or remember is his time as a director. Not only did he direct two of the six Star Trek films he starred in, but he also directed the classic 1987 Tom Selleck starring comedy Three Men and A Baby.
He may not have won any Oscars, but Leonard Nimoy’s impact on the world of entertainment is one that will be felt for years to come and in certain ways, helped science fiction transform from a niche genre associated with nerds and geeks, to a widely loved form of entertainment that people from all walks of life enjoy. So rest in peace Leonard Nimoy, you have truly lived a long and prosperous life.