Leonard Nimoy Was So Much More Than Mr. Spock

3 minute read

By the end of the 1960s, Leonard Nimoy’s name was so synonymous with his wildly popular Star Trek character that he titled his first autobiography I Am Not Spock. But the actor, musician and director did a lot more than just serve as the first officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise.


The Twilight Zone and Other Early Roles

Nimoy’s roles before Star Trek were mostly smaller parts in popular TV shows like Wagon Train and Dragnet. In 1961 he was featured in the Twilight Zone episode “A Quality of Mercy,” joining a long list of famous guests including his longtime friend and costar William Shatner.


Music Career

Nimoy had a colorful career as a recording artist that earned him a significant cult following. Banking on his success on Star Trek, he released his first album in character, 1967’s Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space. Four more folk albums followed until 1970. In 1997 he released a compilation album, Spaced Out, that featured performances from Shatner.

In Search of…

In 1977 Nimoy started hosting In Search of, a documentary television series that explored mysterious phenomena. He also wrote two episodes for the show, one of which investigated the life and death of Vincent Van Gogh.


Mission: Impossible

After Star Trek ended, Nimoy took a role as IMF Agent Paris, a former magician, in the spy show Mission: Impossible. He was with the show for two seasons, until 1971.


Nimoy’s career as a film director began with the Star Trek sequels. After directing the third installment, he made Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, in 1986, which remains one of the most popular films in the franchise. Other directing endeavors include the comedy film Three Men and a Baby, which was the highest-grossing film of 1987.


Invasion of the Body Snatchers

He starred with Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldbulm in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The film was a critical and box office success: It currently holds a 95% fresh rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and is widely considered one of the most successful remakes ever made.

The Simpsons

Nimoy appeared twice on the animated TV series the Simpsons as himself. In the 1993 episode “Marge and the Monorail” he spoofs his role on Star Trek, and the 1997 episode “The Springfield Files” references his time on In Search Of….


In the late 2000s he began a guest role on the science fiction TV show Fringe as the genius scientist William Bell. During a period of temporary retirement in 2011, Fringe’s creators animated an episode to accommodate Nimoy’s appearance as a voice actor.

The Big Bang Theory

Nimoy provided his voice for a 2012 episode of the geek-chic sitcom for a cameo scene in which the Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons, hallucinates that his Spock action figure is speaking to him.

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