Monday, March 9, 2015

R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy.

We are very saddened by the passing of actor and iconic presence in TV and movie science fiction Leonard Nimoy, on February 27, 2015, at the age of 83. 

Leonard Nimoy will always be associated with the role of Vulcan Science Officer Mr. Spock – not “DOCTOR Spock”, as some people incredibly continue to say to this day – on the original STAR TREK television series. 

Nimoy’s performance as Mr. Spock may very well have resulted in the single most significant continuing character ever to emerge from American Science Fiction! 

Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock boldy traveled well beyond the confines of the 1966-1969 television series, and into…

Comic Books


Feature Films

Later Television Series

And finally, franchise-rebooting contemporary feature films.

But, it is for the original STAR TREK TV series that he will always be best remembered.  And, not surprisingly, he was featured in the “best-of-the-best” of those, including “AmokTime” with Arlene Martel, and “Mirror Mirror”.   

Other series I enjoyed Leonard Nimoy in were…



Stepping into the shoes of the great Martin Landau, as the IMF's "Master of Disguise", Leonard Nimoy really got to stretch his acting abilities on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.   


And even THE SIMPSONS – in what is still one of my most favorite episodes, after 26 seasons and counting, 1993’s “Marge vs. the Monorail”.

The full list of Leonard Nimoy’s credits at IMDB can be found at THIS LINK

Rest in Peace, Leonard Nimoy, and thank you for a lifetime of great moments and memories.  ...You might even appreciate it if I don't say "Live Long and Prosper" - though I've no doubt you will... as long as imagination exists.   


joecab said...

Don't be too upset folks -- we know from Futurama that he'll end up as a head in, as he called it, "a gefilte fish jar."

Joe Torcivia said...

That’s RIGHT! I should have looked for an image of that, to go along with the Simpsons ones!

Though, I’m not quite sure if that’s really a “happy” ending, or not.

TC said...

Last summer, it was James Garner, Lauren Bacall, Robin Williams, Skye McCole Bartusiak, and Arlene Martel in what felt like one fell swoop. Now, it's Chris Barat and Leonard Nimoy at practically the same time. When it rains, it pours.

Interestingly, Martin Landau was briefly considered for the role of Mr. Spock, but ended up taking the part of the disguise artist on Mission Impossible instead. Then, when Landau left MI, his replacement was Leonard Nimoy.

Joe Torcivia said...


Death keeps coming. I would welcome a break from “R.I.P.” posts. And now we’ve also lost Sam Simon, a co-creator of THE SIMPSONS, at the unexpected (and uncomfortable for me) age of 59! I’ll have something up for him before long.

I didn’t know that about Martin Landau and Mr. Spock. Given Landau’s performance on THE OUTER LIMITS, I think he might have done well in the role.

Speaking of the reverse, I watched / re-watched the first six of Leonard Nimoy’s MISSION IMPOSSIBLE episodes over the past few days (along with a few Spock-centric STAR TREKs and his OUTER LIMITS “I Robot”), and feel he really should have gotten more credit than he did for his fine and very diverse work on MI. I guess Spock really did overshadow everything else he did.

And, in another one of those great coincidental ironies (…or would that be ironic coincidences?), as Leonard Nimoy departed “Space Travel / Sci-Fi” for the spy genre in MI, Martin Landau and Barbara Bain would leave spying behind and eventually end up “moon-lost” in Space, on SPACE 1999! Funny, how things work out…

Ryan Wynns said...


Though I'm woefully a latecomer, over the past few months, I've been slowly working my way through the original series -- currently about halfway through season three. I did see some episodes as a kid in syndication, but they didn't really stick. However, I've come to fully understand why Spock is so iconic and beloved -- his interplay with McCoy in particular is often delightful. (Of course, you already know this!) (Or when one of the medical staff -- not McCoy -- revives Spock with the repeated blows to the face that his Vulcan physiology demanded, and Nimoy deadpanning, as he suddenly and fully comes to, "Thank you, doctor. That will be quite enough." That had me joyfully cracking up!)

And there would be no Spock without Nimoy. I don't think any other actor would have taken what the writers had put on paper ("emotionless, calculating, logical") and come up with what Nimoy did. He was not just going against type, but he was playing a type that hadn't previously existed -- I don't think there was any precedent in American television for that kind of performance.

-- Ryan

Joe Torcivia said...


It may be PRECISELY BECAUSE you are seeing these episodes for the first time in 2014-2015 – and not coming to them with the sort of “Oh, that’s just been around all my life…” sort of way of taking things for granted – but you have PERFECTLY NAILED IT, as to why Spock is such an iconic creation, and Leonard Nimoy was the right talent to give that creation everlasting life.

Even though images of Spock are omnipresent anytime someone compiles a book or other type of feature on “sixties television” or the decade in general (…he’s even on the DVD box cover for the CNN documentary series “THE SIXTIES” and a hardcover book “Retro TV: Classic Shows We Used to Love” that Esther bought for my recent birthday – to name but two items that crossed my path in 2015 alone), the character of Spock WAS NOT RELEGATED TO the sixties in terms of his lasting place on the pop-cultural scale, as (say) Adam West’s wonderful version of Batman or Jonathan Harris’ also-wonderful creation of Doctor Zachary Smith.

As I note in the post, Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock transcended the sixties, appearing in theatrical films and television shows in every decade since – up to and including the 2013 film “Star Trek Into Darkness”!

And, expanding that into his other roles (some of which I mention in the post, like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and FRINGE, and guest-starring on other and later pop-cultural iconic series as THE SIMPSONS and THE BIG BANG THEORY), unlike many of the fine and unique character actors whose passings I mourn on this Blog, Leonard Nimoy simply “never went away”! He refused to remain in the sixties, the decade that “birthed him” into popular culture, but remained an unstoppable force until his death in 2015!

…And THAT’S something to celebrate!

Ryan Wynns said...


Wow, that's high praise, coming from a champion and authority of `60's television (particularly of the "fantastic" variety, as you've dubbed it). When I finally get around to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space, I guess that will be the real test!

In having to deal with forever being known as Spock, Nimoy seems to have achieved a good balance in his long, full, life -- he was Not Spock, he declared in the title of his autobiography, but it seemed he never became bitter about it, but embraced it and had fun with it, and found other ways to satisfy his artistic yearnings. My friend tells me that several years ago, she and her husband Jared -- also my friend -- happened to be walking by the art gallery in an old bank on Main Street in Northampton, MA and saw that it was at that moment hosting an exhibit of Nimoy's paintings. She said they were realistic in style -- it wasn't a case of a celebrity getting a gallery showing with his name and passing off his scribbles or as abstracts -- and were very rich and tasteful, and showed a lot of skill, practice, and discipline. ("Very accomplished" was the phrase she used, in fact.)

Joe Torcivia said...


Saddled with what was destined to be an “eternal typecasting” (…and all that implies – both good and bad), I feel Leonard Nimoy made the most of it, initially and temporarily rejecting – then later fully embracing – the character of Mr. Spock. He refused to let it stunt him, but appears to have nicely made it a part of him – literally to the very end.

“When I finally get around to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space, I guess that will be the real test! ”

You think you’re having fun NOW? …Just wait! That hissing sound you’ll hear will be Ryan’s brain… MELTING DOWN! I’m looking forward to THOSE exchanges!