​Passage: Leonard Nimoy

It happened this past week . . . the final voyage of the actor who played a character truly out of this world.

Leonard Nimoy died Friday in Los Angeles, nearly half a century after he first played Mr. Spock on the NBC TV series, "Star Trek."


Half-human, half-Vulcan, Spock possessed a rigidly logical mind ... and distinctive ears.

Those ears upset some viewers at first. And in a "Sunday Morning" interview in 2005, Nimoy recalled what network executives had to say about those viewers' concerns: "They will not accept in their homes a character who looks devilish with these pointed ears. So get rid of the pointed ears, or get rid of the character."

Fortunately for Nimoy, fan mail in favor of Mr. Spock turned the tide ("Then the dictum came down from NBC, 'Oh, give us more of that guy, they love that guy!'"), assuring him a secure role on the show for its three-season run . . . as well as three Emmy nominations.

From the archives: Leonard Nimoy on "Star Trek"

"For 15 years the longest job I ever had was two weeks," Nimoy said in 2005. "And when I arrived on the 'Star Trek' set, and had a dressing room with my name on it in something other than chalk, I thought, 'Wow! Found a home!'"


Nimoy went on to play Spock again in a series of "Star Trek" films, two of which he directed.

And he carried the "Star Trek" banner at countless conventions of so-called Trekkies. The size of the first one, he said, caught him entirely off-guard: "There were 3,000 people waiting, screaming, yelling. You could hardly say a word."

Beloved though he was for Mr. Spock, there was much more to Leonard Nimoy, starting with a list of other TV and movie credits several pages long.

He won a fourth Emmy nomination for his role as the husband of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the 1982 TV film, "A Woman Called Golda."

He was also the long-time host of two series: "In Search Of ..." and "Ancient Mysteries."

Along the way, he portrayed Theo Van Gogh reminiscing about his brother, the painter Vincent Van Gogh, in the one-man play, "Vincent."

And he built a solid reputation as a photographer, art collector, and published poet.

The son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, Nimoy said he based Mr. Spock's trademark split-fingered salutation on a blessing he saw the rabbis give in the services of his youth.

Live long and prosper: Leonard Nimoy was 83.