Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's 'Mr. Spock,' Passes Away at 83

Son of Yiddish-speaking, Orthodox Jewish immigrants will forever be remembered as one of the most beloved TV characters of the second half of the 20th century.

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Actor Leonard Nimoy speaks during an interview in New York, June 28, 1973.Credit: AP

Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for his role as Spock on “Star Trek,” died Friday morning at his home in Los Angeles.

The cause of death was end-stage chronic pulmonary disease, the New York Times reported. He was 83.

Nimoy’s Spock has proved to be one of the most famous television characters of the second half of the 20th century. Nimoy has said that he based the character’s split-finger salute, now a pop culture fixture, off of a Kohanic blessing which involves a manual approximation of the Hebrew letter shin.

Nimoy was born in Boston’s West End neighborhood in 1931 to Yiddish-speaking, Orthodox Jewish immigrant parents from then Soviet Ukraine.

After teaching method acting in his own studio and making several minor film and television appearances in the 1950s and early 1960s, Nimoy was cast as Spock, a pragmatic alien with trademark pointed ears, in 1965. “Star Trek” became a cult classic show in the 1970s and eventually spawned five subsequent TV series and 12 films.

Nimoy held the role of Spock for over four decades and sustained a successful Broadway theater career. His other notable acting roles include Paris in the spy series “Mission Impossible” and the psychiatrist David Kibner in a 1978 remake of “Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.” He also directed two of the “Star Trek” films and the comedy “Three Men and a Baby” in 1987.

Nimoy showcased his ambivalence about being closely identified with the Spock role through the titles of his two autobiographies, entitled “I Am Not Spock” (1975) and “I Am Spock” (1995).

In his later years, Nimoy rediscovered his Jewish roots. In 1991, he produced and starred in “Never Forget,” a TV movie based on the story of a Holocaust survivor who sues a group of neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers. In 2002, he published “Shekhina,” a book of photographs of semi-nude Jewish women, which angered Orthodox leaders.

Nimoy was also nominated for an Emmy Award for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in “A Woman Called Golda” in 1982.

Leonard Nimoy's last tweet:

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP