Tomorrow, March 26th, would have been Leonard Nimoy's 84th birthday. You may know him as Spock from the original Star Trek series. You may know him from reprising his iconic role in the cinematic reboots. Or it could be from countless other appearances on the stage and screen.
Leonard Nimoy was more than a talented actor, writer, and performer: he was a pop culture icon and hero to many. When he passed away last year due to complications from COPD, the world lost a remarkable man. To celebrate his birthday, we take a look at some of the highlights from a long and rich career that boldly went where no man had gone before.
Leonard Nimoy provided his voice to numerous shows over the years, from the animated Star Trek series to The Big Bang Theory. But perhaps his greatest vocal performance was on this classic episode of The Simpsons, where he gleefully lampooned his public persona (and those poor confused people who confuse Star Trek with Star Wars). Not only was it a brilliant episode, it contained the recipe for the perfect celebrity cameo.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
While many celebrities have trouble with social media, regardless of their age, Nimoy took to Twitter with his traditional style and charisma. He even went so far as to tell people who didn't have grandfathers, whatever the reason behind it, that he would be their honorary grandfather. And like any proud grandpa, he celebrated his "grandchildren" and their various successes. His last few Tweets—posted right before his death—hint that he knew his time was growing short. But whatever he wrote, he signed with LLAP: shorthand for his famous line, "Live long, and prosper."
'Star Trek' Reboot
J.J. Abrams' first foray into the Star Trek universe was a fun and loving homage to the original series, with more than enough references and allusions to keep hardcore fans happy. But perhaps the greatest moment was when Leonard Nimoy appeared onscreen as Spock, resuming the role that had made his career. Older, wiser, but still the half-human Vulcan audiences had come to know and love, his appearance added a welcome depth to the movie and a wonderful connection to the classic series that started it all.
Before Tom Cruise accepted an impossible mission, there was a much-loved television series by the same name. Nimoy took a role on the show following the untimely cancellation of Star Trek, and starred for two years in the smart and fun spy thriller. It's an exciting chance to see him in a role wildly different from that of the coolly logical Spock, and a welcome reminder of his considerable acting chops.
It's virtually impossible to pick the best moment from Leonard Nimoy's career as Spock. The complex, understated character was (and remains) a fan favorite, with good reason—making narrowing down the list a real challenge. One of the most memorable episodes that springs to mind is "The Naked Time": when the crew is infected with a virus that makes them lose control of their emotions and inhibitions, we finally see a previously hidden side of the normally steely Spock. His breakdown (and struggle to regain control in light of a deadly situation) is almost painful to watch. It's a perfect example of why Star Trek will always be more than just a television show—and why Leonard Nimoy's work made such an impact on audiences around the world.