By Olivia B. Waxman
February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, known for his role as “Mr. Spock” on Star Trek, died Friday morning at 83, his family confirmed. Here, a few fun tidbits you might not have known about the actor and his role on the hit sci-fi show.

• During the filming of Star Trek, William Shatner would repeatedly steal Nimoy’s bicycle during lunch breaks to get to the front of the commissary line, he said in an interview.

• Spock’s Vulcan greeting, the three-pointed hand gesture, was inspired by the Hebrew letter “shin,” which he saw men use as a blessing during a synagogue service he attended with his father as a young man.

• The Boston native once said the worst job he ever had was selling newspapers in the city in the winter.

• On the subject of heroes, he once cited actor John Garfield (nominated for an Oscar for Body and Soul and Four Daughters). He also especially admired Meryl Streep for her performances in Sophie’s Choice and The Deer Hunter.

• His favorite artist was Vincent Van Gogh. Nimoy said he identified with the artist when he was a struggling actor because they both believed “they had something to offer” and “wanted to give it.” He did a one-man film play about the artist.

Read next: This Is How the New Spock Said Goodbye to the Old Spock

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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com.

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