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Remembering Leonard Nimoy On His 88th Birthday

Leonard Nimoy as Spock

It was on this day in 1931 that Leonard Nimoy was born. While he would have a varied career across multiple forms of media, he will always be remembered worldwide for his portrayal of Spock.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock

Nimoy first played the character in the original pilot for The Original Series, “The Cage.” We recently saw him in footage from this episode in the “previously on” segment of a recent Discovery installment. He would go on to embody the role throughout TOS‘s three-season run, as well as six TOS movies (while directing two of them). He also voiced Spock in The Animated Series, and played him in two episodes of The Next Generation. Finally, he returned to the role for two of the more recent Star Trek movies.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock on Star Trek: The Original Series

Leonard Nimoy as Spock on Star Trek: The Original Series (CBS)

Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts in an Ukrainian-Jewish family. His upbringing actually ended up having an impact on his legendary character, as the Vulcan salute was based on a Jewish symbol. Nimoy himself also devised the Vulcan nerve pitch in an effort to peacefully incapacitate opponents instead of having his character resort to violence.

Before Star Trek, he served in the United States Army Reserve, where he served at Fort McPherson in Georgia and ultimately rose to the rank of sergeant.

In his later years, Nimoy would turn to photography as a creative outlet, and his work became known all over the world.

In 2014, Nimoy tweeted that he had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after years of smoking habitually. His final words to the public came in the form of a tweet on February 22, 2015:

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

After his death in 2015, members of Nimoy’s family, as well as other members of the Star Trek family, started a campaign to rise awareness of COPD. We talked to Wil Wheaton back then about the campaign.

Nimoy at the 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention

Nimoy at the 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention (

Four years after this death, and 53 years after he first played Spock, Nimoy’s legacy lives on in the form of Spock’s continued presence in Star Trek. Ethan Peck has taken the reins, and from what we can tell on Discovery thus far, he seems to be doing well by Nimoy’s legacy, channeling an appropriate amount of Spock’s signature pose, while offering new energy to the character when necessary.

For many people, they will probably always remember the place and time they heard about Leonard Nimoy’s passing on February 27, 2015 at 83 years old. Let us know where you were, and what Nimoy meant to you, in the comments below.

Written By

Kyle Hadyniak has been a lifelong Star Trek fan, and isn't ashamed to admit that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis are his favorite Star Trek movies. You can follow Kyle on Twitter @khady93.



  1. William Raymer

    August 22, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    I was at my local library. When I went to Yahoo to check my email, the announcement of Leonard’s death was the top story. I knew he was not long for the world, but the fact that he was gone still hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks.

  2. j callaghan

    August 22, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Was not long out of my bed, getting ready for work, checked my Facebook and saw the announcement. Was genuinely heart broken, star trek has been a huge part of my life, and to lose such a beloved character signalled the end of an era.

  3. Billy-bob

    August 22, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    When I heard on the radio that He had passed away, I was saddened because someone from my youth was now gone. Unlike many other stars, Leonard Nimoy was actually a very nice person. He was an easy person to talk with at the SF conventions. He would tell us funny stories about when he was doing Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and many other shows and movies. The world lost a great actor and director and a very nice human being.

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