Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock for three seasons on TV in “Star Trek,” and who was on the top-rung of popularity of all-time TV stars, has died at age 83.
“His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” reports The New York Times.
The story says, “Mr. Nimoy announced that he had the disease last year, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.”
In an interview with Pier Morgan on CNN a year ago (see below), Nimoy said he was so hooked on smoking in his younger years that he was an “Olympic championship smoker” and “I could smoke in the shower,” given the opportunity. He said he used to smoke “a couple” of packs a day. After his diagnosis last year he urged young people not to take up smoking.
Nimoy would have been 84 next month.
The Times adds, “His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: ‘Live long and prosper’ (from the Vulcan ‘Dif-tor heh smusma’).”
Writes Entertainment Weekly (EW), “While the original ‘Star Trek’ series was cancelled in 1969 after just three seasons, it spawned a franchise that thrived through numerous TV spinoffs and films. Despite his initial ambivalence about being typecast as the pointy-eared Vulcan, Nimoy eventually came to embrace his screen alter ego, and reprised the role in the 2009 big-screen reboot Star Trek, passing the torch to a new Spock, Zachary Quinto. He reprised the role in his last film, 2013’s ‘Star Trek Into Darkness.’
In recent years Nimoy would use Twitter fairly regularly, almost always signing off with the well known blessing by Mr. Spock: Live Long and Prosper.
EW adds, “‘I went through a definite identity crisis,’ Nimoy reflected in his 1997 memoir, ‘I Am Not Spock.’ ‘The question was whether to embrace Mr. Spock or to fight the onslaught of public interest. I realize now that I really had no choice in the matter.’ As Spock himself would say, it was only logical.”
Upon hearing of Nimoy’s death today, his friend and colleague William Shatner, also 83, who played Captain Kirk on “Star Trek,” tweeted, “I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.” Shatner (on the right) also posted this picture on WhoSay:
Here’s Nimoy being interviewed by Piers Morgan on CNN a year ago on Feb. 11, 2014: