“Spock is definitely one of my best friends. When I put on those ears, it's not like just another day. When I become Spock, that day becomes something special.” Leonard Nimoy
Emmy Award-nominated actor of TV, film and stage, director and producer Leonard Nimoy became a household name for playing the half-Vulcan/half-human science officer Spock in the classic television series “Star Trek” (1966-1969). His fine acting in one of television's all-time most triumphant shows brought the soft-voiced performer his first three Emmy nominations. He was invited to reprise the popular role for the successful first installment “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979, received a Saturn nomination) and the subsequent five sequels, two of which he directed. He also voiced Mr. Spock in the spin-off animated series “Star Trek” (1973-1974). Outside of the “Star Trek” franchise, Nimoy is probably best remembered as Dr. David Kibner in Philip Kaufman's “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978), from which he picked up a Saturn nomination, and for his direction in the box office comedy “Three Men and a Baby” (1987). He took home his next Emmy nomination for his outstanding performance in the made-for-TV film “A Woman Called Golda” (1982). As an accomplished stage actor, Nimoy has acted in such Broadway plays as “Full Circle” and “Equus” as well as acted in, wrote and produced an acclaimed one-man show, “Vincent,” based on the life of artist Vincent van Gogh. Nimoy, who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has also emerged as an active narrator for documentaries like “In Search Of” (1976-1982 and “Greenhouse Gamble” (1992) and a voice actor in such animated films as Disney's “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001, netted an Annie nomination).
“I was very impressed with J.J. Abrams and his writers. I think they're very good people, very talented. They know the 'Star Trek' story and respect it and have written a very interesting script. Those elements, together along with a bit of nostalgia and obviously being able to step back into character after something like 18 years, I thought lets do this.” Leonard Nimoy
The actor is scheduled to have a cameo role as Mr. Spock in the upcoming “Trek” feature, simply titled “Star Trek” (2009), with J.J Abrams sitting in the director's chair.
Nimoy is also a skilled photographer and a passionate writer of poetry. He has published three books on photography, including “The Shekhina Project” (2002), several collections of poetry and is the author of two autobiographies, “I Am Not Spock” (1975) and “I Am Spock” (1997). Specializing in black and white images, Nimoy has exhibited his photography.
As for his personal life, Nimoy has been married twice. He was married to first wife Sandra Zober from 1954 to 1987 and has two children with her. He is now the husband of actress Susan Bay, whom he married in 1989.
Childhood and Family:
Leonard Simon Nimoy was born on March 26, 1931, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Max Nimoy, a barbershop owner, and Dora Spinner, a housewife. Both of his parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. He has a brother named Marvin. Leonard majored in photography at UCLA, but never received his degree. He later received an MA in education and an honorary doctorate degree from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He also studied acting at Boston College in Massachusetts.
Leonard was in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955. It was while serving in the army that Leonard married first wife Sandra Zober on February 21, 1954. They welcomed a daughter named Julie Nimoy on March 21, 1955. Their son, Adam Nimoy, was born on August 9, 1956. Leonard and Sandra divorced in 1987 after having been together for 33 years. On January 1, 1989, Leonard married his current wife, actress Susan Bay (born on March 16, 1943). He has a stepson named Aaron.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
8 year-old Leonard Nimoy made his stage debut when he landed the role of Hansel in a production of “Hansel and Gretel.” He went on to perform with his local children’s theater company for the next eight years until he turned 16. Nimoy's first significant role arrived the following year when he was cast as Ralphie in “Awake and Sing,” by Clifford Odets. He also acted in such regional theater plays as “Camelot,” “My Fair Lady,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” and “The King and I.” The Boston native, however, did not burst into the Hollywood screen until age 20 when he had a bit part in the comedy “Queen for a Day” (1951). He followed it up with minor parts in such films as “Rhubarb” (1951), “Zombies of the Stratosphere” (1952), “Francis Goes to West Point” (1952) and “Them” (1954). He also portrayed a titular character in the small budget boxing flick “Kid Monk Baroni” (1952) and took various odd jobs to earn extra money.
During his 18-month-stint in the military, Nimoy worked with the Atlanta Theater Guild where he portrayed Stanley Kowalski in a stage production he directed, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and penned, narrated and emceed numerous GI shows. Upon returning to Hollywood, he trained with Jeff Corey at the Pasadena Playhouse and resumed his career by appearing as a guest star in a series of TV shows, including “Navy Log,” “West Point,” “Highway Patrol,” “26 Men,” “Dragnet” and “M Squad.” He had a recurring role as the wicked Indio in six episodes of “Sea Hunt” during 1958 to 1960 and joined the cast of the ABC soap “General Hospital” in 1963. Nimoy revisited the big screen to play the supporting role of Professor Cole in the sci-fi horror film “The Brain Eaters” (1958), directed by Bruno VeSota, and did not resurface until 1963's “The Balcony,” adapted from the Jean Genet play. Three years later, he was cast as Jules LaFranc in the revival of “Deathwatch,” again based on a play by Jean Genet.
Thanks in part to his impressive guest appearance in an episode of “The Lieutenant” (1964), Nimoy was recruited by creator Gene Roddenberry to star as Vulcan science officer Spock in the NBC science fiction series “Star Trek,” a role that soon became his signature role. During the show's run from 1966 to 1969, the actor became a hit among sci-fi fans and was singled out with three consecutive Emmy nominations (1967-1969) in the category of Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama. First noted for its intelligent scripts, the series was canceled after its third season, probably because of a dropping in ratings after experiencing a drastic budget cut.
Following the breakthrough TV series, Nimoy joined the cast of the CBS adventure series “Mission: Impossible” in it’s forth season in the regular role of the never-say-die Paris, replacing Martin Landau. He stayed with the hit show for two seasons from 1969 to 1971. While working on the series, Nimoy made his TV film debut in “Assault on the Wayne” (1971), an ABC movie of the week where he was cast as Commander Phil Kettenring. A directorial gig in an episode of “Rod Serling's Night Gallery” in the early 1970s marked the actor's first venture into his behind-the-camera career.
Leaving TV series because of fatigue, Nimoy could be seen touring the east coast in a production of the stage musical “Fiddler on the Roof” (1971), where he played Tevye, and two years later, he hit the Broadway stage for the first time with a performance in the 1973 production of “Full Circle.” He returned to the “Star Trek” franchise when he provided the voice of Mr. Spock for the animated children's series of the same name for a season in 1973/1974. He resumed his stage career by joining the national touring company of “Sherlock Holmes” and playing Dr. Dysart in the Broadway production of Peter Shaffer's “Equus” (1977). He gained praise for his one-man touring show, “Vincent” (1978), which he helmed, produced and starred in as the brother of the titular character.
It was also in 1978 that Nimoy scored his first screen breakthrough when he was cast as Dr. David Kibner in the Philip Kaufman-directed thriller “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” starring Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams. The role won the actor a Saturn nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The following year, he reprised his TV role of Mr. Spock for the first “Star Trek” film, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” helmed by Robert Wise. He again played the role in the second and third installments “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982) and “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984), respectively. He also directed the latter film and was nominated for a Saturn for Best Director. Also in 1982, he netted his next Emmy nomination for his scene-stealing role of Morris Meyerson in the TV film biopic “A Woman Called Golda” (1982).
In 1986, Nimoy returned to the director's chair and starred in the forth sequel “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” which was regarded the most financially successful of the series. He again received a Saturn nomination for his direction and continued to enjoy victory with his next directorial effort, “Three Men and a Baby” (1987), a comedy starring Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, Ted Danson and Nancy Travis. The film was a blockbuster hit and landed Nimoy subsequent directorial gigs in such movies as the solemn drama “The Good Mother” (1988), starring Diane Keaton and Liam Neeson, the short “Body Wars” (1989) and the minor comedies “Funny About Love” (1990) and “Holy Matrimony” (1994). Nimoy, who had previously hosted the telepathic documentary series “In Search Of” (1976-1982, also served as a narrator), also hosted the syndicated science documentary “Adventures in Space” (1989) and acted in “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (also 1989) with his co-star and friend William Shatner directing the movie.
1991 saw Nimoy earn his first credit as an executive producer for his work in the TNT film “Never Forget,” in which he also starred as a Holocaust survivor named Mel Mermelstein. Later that same year, he made his last performance in the “Star Trek” movies in the sixth installment “Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country,” directed by Nicholas Meyer. Nimoy next narrated the documentary “Greenhouse Gamble” (1992) and played the voices of Mr. Moundshroud and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the animated films “The Halloween Tree” (1993) and “The Pagemaster” (1994), respectively, before acting in the made-for-TV films “Bonanza: Under Attack” (1995) and “David” (1997). In between his work in the television movies, he made his Broadway directorial debut with “The Apple Doesn't Fall” (1996). The rest of the decade saw Nimoy narrate “Armageddon: Target Earth” (1998), play General Konrad in the TV series “Invasion America” (1998) and act in the TV films “The Lost World” and “Brave New World” (both 1998).
When the new millennium drew to a close, Nimoy gradually left acting in favor of pursuing other interests like photography and poetry. He maintained his presence as a celebrity by doing voice-overs for projects such as the animated films “Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists” (2000), “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001), in which he received an Annie nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Feature Production. He was also heard in the video game “Civilization IV” (2005), in which he served as a narrator.
Nimoy is set to appear in front of the camera as Spock for the highly anticipated “Star Trek” (2009), directed by J.J. Abrams.
Editor's Choice: Lifetime Achievement (from Sci-Fi Universe Magazine), 1995
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Film: Life Career Award, 1987
ShoWest Convention: Director of the Year, 1987