Beyond Mr. Spock: The Other Works of Leonard Nimoy

It's nearly impossible to think of Leonard Nimoy without also thinking of his most famous character, Star Trek's Mr. Spock.

However, the character actor—who died on Friday at age 83 after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—was much more than a (half-)Vulcan. In fact, he boasted quite an extensive career both on-screen and off. Check out some of the many other ways the sci-fi icon lived long and prospered below.


Mission: Impossible

After Star Trek's TV run ended, Nimoy joined the '60s spy drama as the Great Paris, a retired magician-turned-secret-agent. He replaced Martin Landau's Rollin Hand as a "master of disguise" and recurred on the series for two seasons.


Voiceover work

Nimoy could've narrated the phone book and we would've been happy to listen. His many hosting and voiceover credits include the documentary series In Search Of..., which was dedicated to mysterious phenomena, as well as Ancient Mysteries, a long-running A&E series. He also lent his voice to video games, animated TV shows (see below) and, most recently, was heard as Spock on an episode of The Big Bang Theory.


The Simpsons

Nimoy appeared as himself in two episodes of the Fox animated comedy: "Marge vs. the Monorail" and the X-Files spoof "The Springfield Files." Both of his appearances referenced his Star Trek history, but also poked fun at his work in narration, as evidenced in the memorable "cosmic ballet" clip below.

.


Fringe

Nimoy made a surprise appearance in the Season 1 finale of the Fox sci-fi drama as the mysterious Dr. William Bell, the deceased former partner of John Noble's Walter Bishop. The introduction of Bell opened up the show's alternative universe, which was further explored during a Season 2 arc that featured Nimoy in a recurring role. Ultimately, the actor (or his voice) appeared in 11 episodes of Fringe throughout the show's five seasons.


Director, writer, poet and photographer

Nimoy directed a number of TV series and movies, most famously helming 1987's Three Men and a Baby. In addition to writing two autobiographies, I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (2005), Nimoy was a poet and photographer. He published seven collections of poetry and three books of photography. His series of photos called “Secret Selves,” an installation that encouraged his subjects to reveal their hidden natures any way they chose, was exhibited at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2010.


This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

Comments (50)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Mar 14, 2015
Did you catch him on Columbo? He stunk.
Reply
Flag
Mar 07, 2015
He was also highly involved in SciFi's "Seeing Ear Theatre" through his and John de Lancie's “Alien Voices” when SciFi had a great web presence. The production values of those audio shows were amazing. Well worth tracking down to give a listen.
1
Reply
Flag
Mar 05, 2015
Years ago Nimoy portrayed Mel Mermelstein in a TNT movie called "Never Forget." It was based on the true story of Mel Mermelstein. A holocaust survivor who confronted a holocaust denial organization's lies in court. I watched it with my father who is now 87. After we watched it he told me about the time he spent demolishing and burying a concentration camp while he was in the army. My father told me many stories about his army days in Western Europe. He was a combat engineer after WW II and much of the time his company went around France and West Germany fixing roads, bridges and buildings damaged during the war. His company even worked on the "Bridge at Remagen." The same one in the movie. But I had never heard him mention a concentration camp before. What he described was horrific and this was a few years after Germany surrendered. All the bodies were gone but the smells were still there and human bones were inside ovens and in pits. Old dried blood, urine and feces were everywhere. Because the area was still disease ridden, everything had to be burned and the ashes buried. Any buildings were demolished and deep pits were dug and bricks and concrete were buried, too. I guess Mel Mermelstein's story moved him enough to make sure I knew that the horrors of the concentration camps were real. He told me that story over 20 years ago. He still talks about some of the people and places he went to during his army days, but he's never mentioned that concentration camp story again and I don't think he ever will.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Mar 04, 2015
I always loved the character and feel Nimoy has mostly represented noble role models that encourage intellectual pursuit (even if he did turn down the Vulcan Academy of Science).
2
Reply
Flag
Mar 03, 2015
Last night, meTV showed episodes of shows Nimoy was in, including an episode of Man From U.N.C.L.E. and an episode of Get Smart. Awesome!
2
Reply
Flag
Mar 03, 2015
My list of Memorial Viewing highlights (appropriately hashtaged):

#TheTwilightZoneAQualityofMercy #outerlimitsIRobot #ThisSideofParadise #EdithKeelermustdie #Baffled #ColumboAStitchinCrime #InvasionoftheBodySnatchers #WrathofKahn #TransformersTheMovie #NeverForget #SpockandSamanthaJones #BraveNewWorld #Fringe
4
Reply
Flag
Mar 04, 2015
Just recently I watched Baffled and although it was cheesy as hell in all it's 1970's glory,Nimoy was,as always,great.Definitely a Nimoy cult classic.
2
Reply
Flag
Mar 04, 2015
I caught that on a Sunday afternoon movie rerun thing as a kid and thought it was great. For years I wasn't sure if it was even real, but when I discovered it again I found I still loved it... and YES its cheese-factor was one of the reason why!
1
Reply
Flag
Mar 04, 2015
This comment has been removed.
Reply
Flag
Mar 03, 2015
Just started #InSearchOf
3
Reply
Flag
Mar 02, 2015
Spock has to rank up in the top five, four, three, two or even one, of most memorable characters in TV. Spock was the character that made Star Trek something special, even if viewers and the network did not know it initially.
When I try to think of other classic characters all that comes to mind are Lucy Ricardo, Archie Bunker, Fonzie, Captain Kirk... I did not include animated characters like Bart Simpson or more recent characters.
1
Reply
Flag
Mar 04, 2015
Mr.Spock would definitely be my number one most memorable TV character.It's hard to imagine Star Trek without him or his influence.And I doubt that Star Trek would have survived all these decades if it didn't have our beloved Vulcan in it.Nimoy created something special with Spock and it connected with fans around the world.
1
Reply
Flag
Mar 01, 2015
Live long and prosper.
RIP Leonard Nimoy.
1
Reply
Flag
Mar 01, 2015
No one's going to mention Nimoy's greatest artistic achievement?


5
Reply
Flag
Mar 01, 2015
Leonard Nimoy also co-starred in the 1979 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. A very good movie which is just as good as the classic original. In Search of... was an excellent series. I enjoyed watching tremendously. Leonard Nimoy was an enormously talented person. He will be missed. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn he said "Remember". You bet we will. RIP.
4
Reply
Flag
Mar 01, 2015
RIP

Absolutely nailed Dr. William Bell in Fringe. An intricate and very memorable character, a key player in the mythology of the show.
As a huge Fringe fan, I feel blessed to have had Mr Nimoy on the show. Especially considering that Nimoy turned down dozens of roles in the last couple of decades. With Fringe however, he truly wanted to be a part of the show. He often expressed disappointment towards the many Fringe Emmy snubs via his Twitter.

Nimoy by will be celebrated and remembered as a true legend. LLAP
3
Reply
Flag
Mar 01, 2015
He was amazing doing the voice of Master Xehanort in the Kingdom Hearts series of games too. Sad to see he's not going to be able to finish that series as the next game is apparently going to be the last for the character.

Interesting fact for those that don't know, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep had Nimoy play the villain and Mark Hamill play Master Eraqus (a good guy!)
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
1
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Nimoy did several episodes of Futurama, including the TOS cast reunion episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", and the series pilot.

For someone my age, "In Search Of..." is also conjured by Nimoy's name.

And it was as an unethical doctor on Columbo that really let him go somewhere outrageous.
3
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
RIP to a TV and sci-fi legend.
1
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
As mentioned, the Futurama Star Trek episode was probably the best parody I've ever seen. Leonard was such a class act. So sorry we won't have a chance to him again. RIP to a great actor and greater man.
3
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Not a Trekkie, but yeah, have to admit that he lived and goes down as legend, and I have total respect for the man. RIP. Along with the genius above, though, he did some pretty goofy songs, like the Bilbo Baggins song.
1
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Syfy and Epix are going to be paying tribute to Leonard Nimoy this weekend - here are the details: http://www.comingsoon.net/movies/news/414757-epix-and-syfy-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimoy-this-weekend
1
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Don't forget his book Shekhina. Who knew?

Sheldon is going to be so upset.
2
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
I loved William Bell ! Until the timeline reboot turned him into a villain, at least ...
6
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
was so great to see him on the small screen one more time as William Bell.. fun to watch him and Walter bicker.. good times.. i miss Fringe.. and LOST.. and Leonard Nimoy.. sigh...
3
Reply
Flag
Mar 01, 2015
I'm with you 100%
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015

18
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Noooooo... :'(
1
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Nimoy didn't "recur" on Mission: Impossible, anymore than Peter Graves or Greg Morris. He was a full-fledged regular. By all accounts, he took over in a very tumultuous period of the show and handled it in a professional manner.



At the end of season 3, Martin Landau had left over a financial dispute, Barbara Bain was dismissed or quit in a contentious manner. Nimoy specifically wanted to move away from his Spock persona and took the role. He was also coming in right at the period when the Powers That Be were trying to make a complete break from series creator Bruce Geller. Geller didn't want the characters to have any specific background or personality. The new creative team wanted to give the characters more humanity. Nimoy was caught in the middle, since his Amazing Paris ended up as arguably the main character with the most backstory, but in storylines that really didn't give the actors much in the way of things to actually do with that backstory.

He also had to deal with coming in after the popular Martin Landau, and make the role his own while basically having the same character description. "Master of disguise, pickpocket, con artist."

Nimoy did exceedingly well, and gave some remarkable performances such as in "Robot", where he plays 3-4 different roles. His first season, the fourth, had a rotating roster of female agents, and Lee Meriwether was the only one who caught on.



Come the fifth season, there were even more upheavals and Nimoy bonded with the new "new kid" Lesley Ann Warren.



By the end of the fifth season, the writing was on the wall, and Nimoy and the producers had agreed that he would leave on amiable terms. Even in minor roles as his participation was reduced, he never skimped and developed detailed characters with minor quirks and specific mannerisms, even for two-minute tossaway disguises. Like Peter Graves, Greg Morris, Peter Lupus, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, and Lynda Day George, Nimoy managed to make the character interesting when the producers and writers and the series creator didn't want them to be distinct characters. And in a show where the main feature was incredibly complicated plots that didn't allow for much characterization.
More+
7
Reply
Flag
Mar 17, 2015
Martin Landau had a contract that stated that no-one on the show would be paid more than him - i.e, whoever they might employ, even the nominal 'star' of the show, his salary would have parity with that person. Then they brought in Peter Graves - and paid him more, claiming he was a much bigger name and therefore worth more. Landau stood on his contract, the network refused to honour it, so he walked out, taking his wife, Barbara Bain, with him. Next stop Space 1999 and all points south. So yes, it was a somewhat tricky period for the show, having a change of lead and the loss of two popular, well-established characters.
1
Reply
Flag
Mar 17, 2015
Actually, depending on who tells the story, it was Graves that had the "favored nations" contract. Landau didn't have a contract per se, because he had dealt with Geller personally. When Geller left (or was ousted) after the third season, Landau asked for more money and didn't get it because of Graves' contract, so he walked.

Or so claimed Mr. Graves in the Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier, when interviewed. I'm going by memory for the moment. As for Bain, she was contracted for the fourth season, but supposedly refused to show up for work. Whether she was trying to pressure the studio on behalf of her husband, or had some other legitimate beef, there seem to be differing stories.

That's based on author Patrick J. White's research and interviews. I don't doubt there are other versions of the blow-up out there somewhere.
Reply
Flag
Mar 17, 2015
"or had some other legitimate beef,"

...or Paramount was trying to pressure her to get at Mr. Landau. They terminated her abruptly rather than trying to work out the no-show.
Reply
Flag
Mar 17, 2015
@MaxPlankton: Then I'd look to the sources to determine the facts. Who are you referencing?

Peter Graves was on good terms with the Landaus before and afterward. He doesn't seem to have a reason to lie. Nor does Patrick White have a reason for misrepresenting a well-known actor's statements in published material.
Flag
Mar 17, 2015
This is another illustration of the difference between information and fact; Mr. A tells the story in such a way as Mr. A comes out better than Mr. B, whereas Mr. B's version... :) Perhaps Henry Ford was right when he said "History is bunk!"!
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
And yes, Paris really loved his cravats.
3
Reply
Flag
Mar 17, 2015
Well, at least someone did then
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Paris was always my favorite on MI before Barney and Phelps,mostly because of Nimoy's performance and charisma.And yes,Paris loved his cravats.

....but he also looked cool in a tie.
1
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
One of my favorite Nimoy performances outside Star Trek was when he played a villain(Dr.Barry Mayfield) opposite Peter Falk's Columbo in the episode 'A Stitch in Crime'.Great episode with two amazing legends together,you don't get better than this on TV.


13
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
I LOVED Columbo. We are really showing our ages now. This was a great episode.
1
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Yeah I'm a big Star Trek fan and Spock was always my favorate character in that show. Leonard you really did live long and prosper, which is why you'll be missed; farewell Leonard.
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Strange seeing him as a non nerdy ladies man secret agent. Had no idea.
2
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
And Futurama! The Star Trek episode of that show was fantastic.
3
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
I remember his guest star roles in the classic Twilight Zone and Outer Limits series...a great actor that will be missed.
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
He def had other memorable credits but I will always remember him as Spock, what an amazing character. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" RIP Leonard Nimoy.
1
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
He played a memorable role in the classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." A very good title to have in an actor's resume.
4
Reply
Flag
Feb 28, 2015
Missed him voicing Galvatron on Transformers: The Animated Movie back in the 80s.
4
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook