Name another acting role that 82-year-old Leonard Nimoy has played besides Spock.
Maybe Paris comes to mind, his character on the “Mission: Impossible” series. You’re forgiven if you forgot his turn as General Konrad in the 1998 TV series “Invasion America,” or his role in “Bonanza: Under Attack,” in 1995. It’s probably more likely you remember his offscreen voice in a 1997 “Simpsons” episode, when he narrated a supernatural tale, than any of his non-Spock, onscreen roles.
In fact, it’s difficult to think of any veteran actor who is more singularly identified with one role than Nimoy as the half-human/half-Vulcan Mr. Spock. But then, Nimoy hasn’t exactly tried to let us forget Spock, either.
Born in 1931 and raised in a Boston tenement in the West End neighborhood, where his Ukrainian Jewish immigrant father ran a barber shop, Nimoy first inhabited Spock’s role (and ears) in an episode of “Star Trek” in 1966 (the earlier picture here is from a 1967 episode). He went on to win Emmy nominations and become a writer, a director, and, after studying photography at UCLA, an accomplished photographer.
Almost 50 years after his first turn as Spock, Nimoy, who in 2009 said he was retiring from acting, is back as Spock Prime (to distinguish him from Zachary Quinto’s Spock) in the J.J. Abrams blowout “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
When Nimoy’s face first pops up on screen, it’s as if all is right in the world of the USS Starship Enterprise. Certain male actors lose their look over time, from the thinning of their hair to a few added pounds around the middle. Nimoy, on the other Vulcan hand, still looks and sounds exactly like the angular-faced, baritone-voiced Spock is supposed to look and sound. Deep wrinkles and all.