Family: Born March 26, 1931, in Boston, MA; son of Max and Dora (Spinner) Nimoy; married Sandra Zober, February 21, 1954 (divorced); married Susan Bay; children: (first marriage) Julie, Adam. Education: Boston College, B.A.; Antioch University, M.A.; studied drama at Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA, 1949-50. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Black-and-white photography. Memberships: American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, Actors' Equity Association, American Civil Liberties Union. Addresses: Home: Bel Air, CA. Agent: The Allen Agency, Inc., 23852 Pacific Coast Hwy., Suite 401, Malibu, CA 90265.
Actor, producer, and director in television, films, and theatre; photographer; and author. Television roles include Mr. Spock on series Star Trek, National Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (NBC), 1966-69, and Paris on series Mission Impossible, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), 1969-70; has also appeared in numerous other series, including Sea Hunt, Kraft Theatre, Perry Mason, Twilight Zone, Bonanza, and Profiles in Courage; host of television series In Search Of . . . , 1976-80; producer-host of documentary If the Mind Is Free. Actor in stage plays, including Full Circle, 1973, Dr. Faustus, Stalag 17, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Irma La Douce, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, My Fair Lady, Sherlock Holmes, and Equus. Actor in films, including Kid Monk Baroni, 1952, The Balcony, 1963, Deathwatch, 1966, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1978, Star Trek, 1979, and Atlantis, the Lost Empire. Producer of films, including Deathwatch, 1966, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1978, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, 1982, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, 1984, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; producer for theatre and television. Director of television shows Night Gallery, The Powers of Matthew Star, and T. J. Hooker; director of films, including Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, 1984, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, 1986, Three Men and a Baby, 1987, The Good Mother, Funny about Love, and Holy Matrimony. Narrator of television specials and radio shows, including Destiny in Space, 1994, Carpati: Fifty Miles, Fifty Years, 1996, and A Life Apart: Hasidism in America, 1997; narrator, The Illustrated Man (sound recording), Caedmon, 1976, The Martian Chronicles, War of the Worlds, The Green Hills of Earth, and Gentlemen, Be Seated. Operated drama studio in North Hollywood, CA, 1962-65; teacher, Synanon, Santa Monica, CA, 1964-65; owner, Adajul Music Publishing Co. Member of advisory board, Parents for Peace (Western Los Angeles chapter). Military service: U.S. Army, 1954-56.
Three Emmy Award nominations for portrayal of Mr. Spock on Star Trek; given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1985.
WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:
POETRY; SELF-ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS
- You and I, Celestial Arts (Millbrae, CA), 1973.
- Will I Think of You?, Celestial Arts (Millbrae, CA), 1974.
- We Are All Children Searching for Love: A Collection of Poems and Photographs, Blue Mountain Press (Boulder, CO), 1977.
- Come Be with Me, Blue Mountain Press (Boulder, CO), 1978.
- These Words Are for You, Blue Mountain Press (Boulder, CO), 1981.
- Warmed by Love, Blue Mountain Press (Boulder, CO), 1983.
- A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life, Blue Mountain Press (Boulder, CO), 2002.
- I Am Not Spock (autobiography), Celestial Arts (Millbrae, CA), 1975.
- (Coauthor) Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.
- I Am Spock, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1995.
- (Author of introduction and epilogue; and narrator) Jewish Stories from the Old World to the New (sound recording), KCRW-FM (Santa Monica, CA), 1999.
- (With John de Lancie) Star Trek: Spock vs. Q (sound recording), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
- Shekhina (collection of photographs), Umbrage Editions, 2002.
Contributor to Bio-Cosmos, by James Christian, 1975. Author of recordings, including Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space, Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, The Way I Feel, The Touch of Leonard Nimoy, and The New World of Leonard Nimoy, all for Dot.
I Am Spock was adapted as an audiobook, Brilliance (Grand Haven, MI), 1995.
Leonard Nimoy began his acting career at the age of nine and became world famous in 1966, when he created the role of Mr. Spock in the popular television series Star Trek. Spock, the science officer of the Starship Enterprise, is only half human; his father is of the unemotional, logical Vulcan race. The conflict between the two sides of Spock's nature intrigued many viewers, and Nimoy became strongly identified with the role. His 1975 autobiography was titled I Am Not Spock, but in a 1987 interview with Chicago Tribune contributor Philip Wuntch, Nimoy claimed, "I've made my peace with Spock. . . . I can't deny that Spock is an enormously important part of my life. At times I even find myself thinking . . . and talking like him. I can't deny what he has done for my career. I wouldn't even have a career if it weren't for Spock."
Born in Massachusetts, Nimoy took an early interest in acting and photography. At the age of eighteen he moved to California and began to study acting in earnest. After military service in 1956 he settled in Hollywood and began to appear in small roles in numerous television shows. When offered the role of Spock, he brought his own interpretation to the character, including his trademark Vulcan hand sign, which is actually a traditional Jewish greeting. When he created the role of Mr. Spock, Nimoy could hardly have foreseen that he would become so closely associated with the character. As the popularity of Star Trek skyrocketed, however, the actor discovered that being Spock was both blessing and curse. Although the exposure helped Nimoy win roles on Broadway and find venues for creative work as a poet, he was also prone to typecasting based on the emotionally reserved Spock.
It is perhaps not surprising, then, that Nimoy turned to directing films as one outlet for his creativity. After reprising the Spock character in the early installments of the successful "Star Trek" film series, he directed two of the films, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He is also given credit as producer of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. A Time film critic praised Nimoy's directorial work in Star Trek III, claiming that it has the effect of "beaming his film up onto a higher pictorial plane than either of its predecessors." David Denby also credited Nimoy, who began directing for television and theater in the 1950s, with upgrading the original "Star Trek." He wrote in a New York review of Star Trek IV that Nimoy "may be the first Star Trek director to provide the standard show-business virtue of pace, suspense, variety [to the series]. This Star Trek actually moves along smartly--an example of professionalism that some Trekkies will undoubtedly experience as a betrayal of the material's usual cardboard-and-mucilage approach to drama." Equally successful was Nimoy's directing of the box-office favorite Three Men and a Baby, starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg as bachelors who find a baby at their doorstep. Three Men and a Baby still ranks as one of the most successful comedy films of all time.
Nimoy's problematic relationship with his famous character is the subject of two autobiographies, I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock. Both books shed light on the experience of being a cast member in the original Star Trek television series, including the ways in which Nimoy influenced the character's evolution. Although I Am Spock, written twenty years after its predecessor, is meant to show how Nimoy has come to terms with the character, he still admits to having mixed feelings about this alien alter ego. A Publishers Weekly reviewer found I Am Spock to be "an intelligent and entertaining look at an actor's engagement with a character." Albert Kim in Entertainment Weekly noted that "the most compelling parts of I Am Spock are when Nimoy walks us through the vagaries of his own internalized angst. . . . During these moments of obsessive reflection, I Am Spock is genuinely absorbing."
In addition to his autobiographies, Nimoy is author of many volumes of poetry and a collection of art photographs titled Shekhina. The photographs are based on Nimoy's explorations of his Jewish heritage and the role of the divine feminine in Judaism. In a review of Shekhina for the Newark, New Jersey, Star-Ledger, Mitchell Seidel observed: "Even with his darkest images, Nimoy attempts to present an ethereal, other-worldly feel in his work. The prayer shawls, gauzy fabrics and longer exposures help to create a spiritual look of a being that is more light and imagination than flesh and blood."
Nimoy lives in Bel Air, California, and continues to be actively involved in film, photography, recording work, as well as motivational speaking.
FURTHER READINGS ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
- Gerrold, David, The World of Star Trek, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1973.
- Nimoy, Leonard, I Am Not Spock, Celestial Arts (Millbrae, CA), 1975.
- Nimoy, Leonard, I Am Spock, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1995.
- Whitefield, Stephen E., and Gene Roddenberry, The Making of Star Trek, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1973.
- American Photo, September-October, 2002, "Leonard Nimoy: In a Down-to-Earth Interview, the Man Best Known in Our Galaxy As Mr. Spock Tells about His Life As an Art Photographer--and His New Portfolio of Nudes Based on Ancient Mysticism, " p. 34.
- Booklist, September 15, 1995, Ray Olson, review of I Am Spock, p. 115; September 15, 2000, Leah Sparks, review of Star Trek: Spock vs. Q, p. 259.
- Chicago Tribune, December 13, 1987.
- Entertainment Weekly, September 29, 1995, Albert Kim, review of I Am Spock, p. 54.
- Library Journal, August, 1999, Meloday A. Moxley, review of Jewish Stories from the Old World to the New, p. 163.
- Newsweek, February 23, 1976, December 1, 1986.
- New York, June 11, 1984, December 8, 1986.
- New Yorker, July 9, 1984; September 4, 1995, "Oy, Spock, " p. 34.
- New York Times, October 15, 1967, August 25, 1968.
- New York Times Book Review, November 5, 1995, Anita Gates, review of I Am Spock, p. 22.
- People, June 18, 1984.
- Publishers Weekly, September 18, 1995, review of I Am Spock, p. 120.
- San Francisco Chronicle, March 17, 2001, John McMurtrie, "Leonard Nimoy's Personal Quest, " p. B3.
- Saturday Review, June 17, 1967.
- Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), November 30, 2002, Mitchell Seidel, "Orthodox Jews Object to Nimoy's Images, " p. 19.
- Time, June 11, 1984, December 8, 1986.
- Leonard Nimoy Fan Club Web site, http://www.nimoy.com/ (November 6, 2003).*