US actor Leonard Nimoy, best known as the half-alien, half-human Mr. Spock of Star Trek, has died, aged 83.
He died at home of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a condition he attributed to the smoking he gave up 30 years earlier.
As science officer of the starship Enterprise, Spock became an iconic television character on the TV series that ended its three-year run in 1969. He received three successive Emmy nominations for his role.
Nimoy’s Spock became a cultural touchstone, a living representative of the scientific method and a voice of pure reason with phrases such as, “Highly illogical.”
“Spock was a character whose time had come,” Nimoy later wrote. “He represented a practical, reasoning voice in a period of dissension and chaos.”
Trekkies everywhere greeted each other with Nimoy’s “Vulcan salute” – a gesture he adapted from one he had seen at an Orthodox synagogue when he was a boy.
Nimoy also appeared in Star Trek feature films and directed six movies.
He also was Spock in feature films, including: Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
He later became Spock Prime, a Mr. Spock who inhabited an alternate universe in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. He did a cameo performance as the same character in Star Trek Into Darkness.
He went on to direct the 1987 comedy Three Men and a Baby and the 1988 drama The Good Mother.
Other television credits included Dragnet, Bonanza, Dr. Kildare, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Rawhide, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, The Outer Limits, The Virginian, Get Smart, Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible and A Woman Called Golda.
Most recently, he appeared on Fringe as maniacal, genius professor William Bell, and he voiced Spock for a 2012 episode of The Big Bang Theory.
In addition to his work on In Search Of… Nimoy lent his resonant, intelligent voice to a variety of films, TV projects and documentaries, including Ancient Mysteries. There were Broadway performances and even quirky music projects.
But to millions of sci-fi and television fans the world over he is indelibly, utterly, Spock.
“My folks came to the U.S. as immigrants,” he said in a 2012 speech at Boston University. “They were aliens, and then became citizens. I was born in Boston a citizen, and then I went to Hollywood and became an alien.”
Live long and prosper…
UPDATE: ELEVEN screens Star Trek: The Motion Picture at 8:30pm tonight and TEN screens Star Trek (2009) at 10pm Sunday.