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Leonard Nimoy has been acting in film and on television for nearly sixty years. In that time he also directed seven movies including two of the best Star Trek films in The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home and the hit comedy 3 Men and a Baby. Most recently he returned to the character that made him famous, playing an elderly Spock in JJ Abrams reboot of the Star Trek franchise. And now after decades playing one of the most iconic characters in the history of science fiction, he’s done.
Talking to the Toronto Star Nimoy announced his retirement from Star Trek and from the tone of his discussion it sounds like he’s retiring from the entertainment industry altogether. These days he’s more interested in taking photos. Maybe he’ll be seduced into showing up in a cameo in something else, but you’ll never see him in Spock ears again. Says Nimoy, “I want to get off the stage. Also, I don’t think it would be fair to Zachary Quinto. He’s a terrific actor, he looks the part, and it’s time to give him some space. And I’m very flattered the character will continue.”
Leonard has always had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with Trek. In 1977 he published a book called “I Am Not Spock” and pissed off Trekkies. In it he revealed that he went through a definite identity crisis, unsure whether to embrace the character’s popularity of fight against typecasting. In the 80s, he refused to do Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan unless they agreed to kill off the Spock. The only got him back involved by agreeing to let him direct. In the end, those decisions resulted in not only some of the best work Nimoy has ever done, but some of the best films of the Trek series.
As he got older Nimoy relaxed into the role and seemed to embrace it. In 1995 he published another book called “I Am Spock”. In total he played the character in seven Star Trek films, 80 episodes of the original series. 22 episodes doing voice work on the animated Trek series, and a series of cameos in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now he’s 79 and ready to enjoy his gold years in peace.
Much as I’d love to see him in JJ Abrams upcoming Trek sequel, I think he’s earned the rest. Live long and prosper Leonard. We have been, and always shall be, your friends.