CBS via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Leonard Nimoy, the actor who made the Star Trek character of Mr. Spock an international pop culture phenomenon, has died. He was 83.
Nimoy’s granddaughter confirmed his passing to ABC News.
Nimoy was hospitalized last week after complaining of chest pain, though no information on his condition was released after that. He announced in late January, 2014 that he’d been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a progressive condition that decreases lung efficiency, making it difficult to breathe. “I’m doing OK. Just can’t walk distances. Love my life, family, friends and followers,” Nimoy later tweeted, followed by “LLAP,” shorthand for Mr. Spock’s customary benediction, “Live long and prosper.”
Born in Boston, MA, to Jewish immigrants from Russia, Nimoy began acting in local theater as a child and was appearing in films and television by age 20. After a two-year stint in the Army, he turned to acting full-time, with roles in classic TV series including Dragnet, Bonanza and Perry Mason, and the sci-fi series The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone.
In 1966, Nimoy took on the role with which he would be forever identified — the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer Spock, who served aboard the starship Enterprise on the TV series Star Trek. Though the original series was canceled after three seasons due to poor ratings, it found its audience in syndication, with Spock the show’s most recognizable and popular character. In his 1975 autobiography, titled I Am Not Spock, Nimoy explored his mixed feelings about being so closely identified with the character — initially resentful, but ultimately grateful.
In addition to the original Star Trek series, Nimoy appeared as Spock in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and played the character in eight Star Trek films, two of which he directed. His most recent appearance as Spock was in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness. He also occasionally parodied the character, and himself, in voiceovers on shows including The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.
After Star Trek ended its initial run, Nimoy co-starred on TV’s Mission: Impossible for two years and also hosted the reality show In Search of…, which explored paranormal and mysterious phenomena. His most recent television role was as the ruthless Dr. William Bell on the sci-fi series Fringe. In 2011, he appeared as a disheveled parody of himself, wandering through a supermarket in his bathrobe and ignoring fans, in the video for the Bruno Mars hit “The Lazy Song.”
In addition to acting, Nimoy was a published poet and an avid lifelong photographer, whose work was exhibited in numerous galleries. He’s survived by his wife, actress Susan Bay, two children and several grandchildren.
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