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 legendary portrayal of Spock on Star Trek.
Nimoy first played the character in the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage.” He would go on to embody the role throughout three seasons of The Original Series and six feature films. He also voiced Spock in Star Trek: The Animated Series, and played him in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Finally, he returned to the role in 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts in a Ukrainian-Jewish family, his upbringing had a major impact on his legendary character, as the Vulcan salute was based on a Jewish hand 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.
In recent years, his children Adam Nimoy and Julie Nimoy have both released documentary films about their father’s life. For the Love of Spock in 2016 and Remembering Leonard Nimoy: His Life, Legacy and Battle with COPD in 2017.
Nimoy’s Star Trek co-star William Shatner released a book about their friendship Leonard: My Fifty Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man in 2016.
For many people, they will probably always remember the place and time they heard about Nimoy’s passing on February 27, 2015, at 83 years old.
Five years after this death, and more than half a decade since he first played Spock, Nimoy’s legacy, wisdom and caring nature lives on within all of us.
Let us know what Leonard Nimoy meant to you in the comments below.