Leonard Nimoy, Spock of 'Star Trek' Series, Dies At 83

(FOX 11) - Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Spock in the original "Star Trek" series, died Friday morning at his home in Bel Air. He was 83.

Leonard Nimoy rushed to hospital with severe chest pains
RELATED | Obama mourns passing of Nimoy: 'I loved Spock'

From Hal Eisner:

I heard someone say that today he lost a little of his childhood. He was talking about the death of Leonard Nimoy. As an actor, Nimoy's 'Mr. Spock' was as iconic as Star Trek itself. The show promised to boldly go where no one has gone before and it did. He did too.

The television show only ran from 1966 to 1969, but it had a huge effect on the science fiction world and on Nimoy. As Spock, he would say things to Captain James T. Kirk like "I would say that was a logical assumption, Captain."

Spock was always the logical counterbalance to the more human and emotional Captain. William Shatner, who played Kirk, says he's saddened by the death of Leonard Nimoy. "I loved him like a brother" tweets Shatner, "We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love."

He was famous for saying "Live Long and Prosper" and he did both. At the time of his death from lung disease he was 83.

And, he had a prosperous career with acting, directing, photography and writing. He hosted a show called "In Search of..." and played Paris, a master of disguise, on "Mission: Impossible."

In 1996, at our sister station KCOP-My13, Nimoy was asked it was like to take on such a character as his pointy-eared, always logical, half-human and half-Vulcan Spock. He said, "If you're in the character 12 hours a day 5 days a week, which you often are, you're in the character a lot more than you're out of it. And, in my case it tends to absorb me and it would take Saturday, and sometimes Sunday, to relax and then say here I am again... and let him go!"

On hearing of his death Nichelle Nichols (Uhuru) said: "Leonard's integrity and passion as an actor and devotion to his craft helped transport STAR TREK into television history. His vision and heart are bigger than the universe."

And, that also showed up in his philanthropy. He and his wife gave a million dollars, for instance, to refurbish the Griffith Observatory where there's a theater named after him.

George Takei (Sulu) was also saddened by the news of Nimoy's death. He tweeted "Rest in peace with the stars, my dear friend."

Nimoy's wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Nimoy revealed in recent months he had the disease -- chronic bronchitis and emphysema also known COPD -- which he attributed to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades ago. He was briefly hospitalized last week.

Nimoy, an Army veteran and journeyman actor with a number of previous movie and television appearances, hit it big in 1966 when he landed the role of the pointy-eared half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock in the original "Star Trek'' television series created by Gene Roddenberry.

The last thing Leonard Nimoy tweeted, he ended with the acronym "LLAP" which is the phrase his character Spock used frequently on the show and in the Star Trek movies. Live Long And Prosper.

The show -- which ran through 1969 -- had modest success in its first run, but cultivated a faithful band of zealous followers dubbed "Trekkies,'' many of whom were accumulated through years of re-runs.

The iconic Spock, noted by his Vulcan salute in which he spread apart the middle and ring finger on his right hand and his salutation of "Live long and prosper,'' was voted by TV Guide one of the top 50 television characters of all-time.

TV executives originally considered dropping the role because they feared the dour character would frighten children away from watching.

He followed "Star Trek'' with two years on the drama "Mission Impossible'' and was the host on the long-running documentary series, "In Search of...''

He earned a new generation of fans when "Star Trek'' moved to the big screen. Nimoy directed two of the films: "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock'' and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.''

William Shatner, who played opposite Nimoy as Captain Kirk in the original television series and subsequent films, said, "I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent and his capacity to love.''

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