Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

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If you’re of my generation and into science fiction, you grew up with Star Trek.  And one of the great cast of that show — and extremely popular with the ladies — was Leonard Nimoy, who personified the logical lifeforms of the planet Vulcan in his character of Spock. His family announced Nimoy’s passing today from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, possibly caused by smoking back in his earlier days.

Nimoy was a versatile actor, and played in roles other than that iconic one — I recall him as Paris, the master of disguise who took over from Martin Laudau’s “Rollin Hand” on Mission:  Impossible.  (He also had notoriety as one of the aliens in the old Republic serial, Zombies of the Stratosphere.)  But he became almost indelibly associated with the Vulcan from those 79 episodes of Star Trek.  The role at times felt as an albatross about his neck; however, he came back to it in the end, filming nine Star Trek movies as Spock, including both of the movies so far in the J. J. Abrams reboot of the ST Universe, and a two-part episode of Star Trek:  The Next Generation.

The strange and fantasial became something of a stock in trade for him:  a part in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers alongside Donald Sutherland; and he narrated the Alan Landsburg syndicated television series In Search Of…. for its entire run.  Beyond these things, though, he was much more — Theo van Gogh in Vincent; Morris Meyerson in the miniseries A Woman Called Golda (opposite Ingrid Bergman); a director of both movies and television.  His distinctive voice and cadence made him a natural choice for work as a narrator and voice actor — he appeared several times on The Simpsons as himself, did “recitations” on the computer game Civilization IV, and did recordings alongside the a capella group The Western Wind in celebration of the holy days of his Jewish background and faith.  And I know of at least one exhibition of his photography, as well as his two memoirs and poetry.  Truly a Renaissance man in his achievements.

He will be missed.

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Posted February 27, 2015 by Harper Ganesvoort in People, Real Life

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