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Leonard Nimoy

NIMOY, LEONARD (1931– ), U.S. actor and director. Born to Russian immigrant parents in Boston, Massachusetts, Nimoy starred as Hansel as an eight-year-old in a production of Hansel and Gretel. He studied drama at Boston College and Antioch University, and then moved to Southern California, where he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse with Jeff Corey. He took roles in low-budget films, like Zombies of the Stratosphere (1951) and Them! (1954). After an 18-month stint in the U.S. Army Reserve, Nimoy was discharged as a sergeant in 1956. Back in Hollywood, he turned to television roles, appearing on such shows as Sea Hunt, Twilight Zone, and Bonanza. In 1966, Nimoy helped create his Emmy-nominated role of Mr. Spock in the series Star Trek (1966–69). Drawing on his Jewish heritage for inspiration, he used a priestly (kohen) blessing as a Vulcan greeting in the series. After Star Trek ended, Nimoy went on to play the spy, Paris, in Mission: Impossible from 1969 to 1971, and narrated the documentary series In Search Of… (1976–82). His frustration at being typecast as Mr. Spock led him to write the autobiography I Am Not Spock (1977). Although Nimoy refused to play Spock for a new TV series, he agreed to star in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1978). In 1982, he received an Emmy nod for his supporting role in A Woman Called Golda. After directing Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Nimoy continued to direct such films as Three Men and a Baby (1987) and Funny About Love (1990). In 1991, Nimoy produced and acted in the made-for-television film Never Forget. He released his second autobiography, I Am Spock, in 1995. An avid poet and black-and-white photographer, Nimoy also published his Jewish-themed photo collection Shekhina in 2002. The annual Nimoy Concert Series at Temple Israel of Hollywood is sponsored by the Nimoys.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.