Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's Mr Spock, dies at 83

  • Published
Dr SpockImage source, NBC/BBC
Image caption,
Spock's famous pointy ears were suggested by Nimoy

US actor Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr Spock in the cult sci-fi series Star Trek, has died at the age of 83 in Los Angeles, his family has said.

His son, Adam, said he died of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on Friday morning.

Nimoy had a long career as both an actor and director.

However he was best known for his portrayal of the half-human, half-Vulcan character in both the TV franchise and series of films.

Last year, the actor revealed he was suffering chronic lung disease COPD, despite stopping smoking 30 years ago.

It was reported earlier this week he had been taken to hospital on 19 February after suffering from chest pains.

He later tweeted: "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory."

He signed off what was to be his final tweet with "LLAP" - a reference to his character's famous catchphrase, "Live long and prosper".

Image source, Twitter

The same Twitter account was used by his granddaughter to confirm that he died at home on Friday in Bel-Air, California.

Dani Nimoy said her grandfather was an "extraordinary man, husband, grandfather, brother, actor, author - the list goes on - and friend."

She added that special merchandise was being added to Nimoy's website, with all proceeds going to the COPD foundation.

George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek and was a friend of Nimoy's, paid tribute to the actor.

"The word extraordinary is often overused but I think it's really appropriate for Leonard", Mr Takei told US broadcaster MSNBC.

"He was an extraordinarily talented man but he was also a very decent human being."

Among the torrent of tributes on Twitter was a message from Nasa crediting Nimoy and Star Trek as an inspiration.

Image source, Twitter

Thousands took to Twitter to pay tribute after Nimoy's death was announced, including Star Trek actors past and present.

William Shatner, who as Captain Kirk acted alongside Nimoy for years in Star Trek, said he loved the actor "like a brother".

"We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love," Mr Shatner said on Twitter.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Leonard Nimoy often gave Spock's famous salute

Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation, said: "We stood on your shoulders, and wouldn't have had a galaxy to explore if you hadn't been there, first. Thank you, Leonard, Rest in peace."

More than a Vulcan

It was Nimoy's casting as Spock in 1966 that made him in a star and, in many ways, defined his acting career.

He played the character in all three of the original series of the programme and later in several big-screen spin offs.

Nimoy had an ambivalent relationship with Spock, seeming to both cherish and resent his close association with the role.

His two volumes of autobiography - "I Am Not Spock" in 1975 and "I Am Spock" two decades later - seemed to epitomise his mixed feelings.

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015


when he died

  • 1965 appeared in rejected Star Trek pilot The Cage

  • 1966-69 played Spock in original Star Trek series

  • 4 Emmy award nominations, 3 for his character Spock

  • 2013 appeared in Star Trek Into Darkness - his last film

Getty Images

Nimoy did have success outside of his Spock costume, in both acting and directing, and he pursued music, painting, and photography.

After the end of Star Trek's initial run, he played master of disguise Paris in the hit adventure series Mission Impossible.

Later he directed two of the Star Trek films, The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home, and in 1987 helmed the hit comedy Three Men and a Baby, one of the highest-grossing films of that year.

Nimoy announced that he was suffering from COPD last year, writing: "I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough. Grandpa says, quit now!!"

COPD is an umbrella term for several lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and some forms of bronchiectasis.

Sufferers experience increasing breathlessness during the advanced stages of the disease but it can be symptomless for a long time as it develops.

Leonard Nimoy: Biography

1931 Born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Jewish immigrants Dora (Spinner) and Max Nimoy

1951 Bit-part Hollywood debut in Queen for a Day

1954 Marries Sandra Zober. Two children, Julie and and Adam, follow.

1966 Cast as Spock in Star Trek, which turns Nimoy into a star

1969 Joins cast of Mission: Impossible and plays The Great Paris for two years

1979 Reprises role as Spock in the first big-screen version of Star Trek

1987 Directs the hugely successful comedy Three Men and a Baby

1989 Stars in Star Trek V and then Star Trek VI in 1991

2009 Comes out of retirement to play Spock in new Star Trek films directed by JJ Abrams

2014 Reveals diagnosis with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a progressive lung condition

2015 Passes away in Los Angeles