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Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy dead at 83

Leonard Nimoy, the actor known and loved by generations of Star Trek fans as the pointy-eared, purely logical science officer Mr. Spock, has died.

Nimoy died on Friday of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his Los Angeles home. He was 83.

Although Nimoy followed his 1966-69 Star Trek run with a notable career as both an actor and director, in the public's mind he would always be Spock.

His half-human, half-Vulcan character was the calm counterpoint to William Shatner's often-emotional Captain Kirk on one of TV and film's most revered cult series.

"He affected the lives of many," Adam Nimoy, his son, said.

"He was also a great guy and my best friend."

Asked if his father chafed at his fans' close identification of him with his character, Adam Nimoy said, "Not in the least. He loved Spock."

However, Leonard Nimoy displayed ambivalence to the role in the titles of his two autobiographies, I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock.

Nimoy also directed several films, including the hit comedy Three Men and a Baby and appeared in such plays as A Streetcar Named Desire.

He also published books of poems, children's stories and his own photographs.

But he could never really escape the role that took him overnight from bit-part actor status to TV star, and in a 1995 interview he sought to analyse the popularity of Spock, the green-blooded space traveller who aspired to live a life based on pure logic.

People identified with Spock because they "recognise in themselves this wish that they could be logical and avoid the pain of anger and confrontation," Nimoy concluded.

"How many times have we come away from an argument wishing we had said and done something different?" he asked.

In the years immediately after Star Trek left television, Nimoy tried to shun the role, but he eventually came to embrace it, lampooning himself on such TV shows as Futurama and The Simpsons and in commercials.

The US space agency NASA also joined Leonard Nimoy's Star Trek co-stars to bid adieu to the veteran actor.

"I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humour, his talent, and his capacity to love," William Shatner, who played Captain James Kirk against Nimoy's Mr Spock on Star Trek, said on Twitter and Facebook.

"RIP Leonard Nimoy. So many of us at NASA were inspired by Star Trek. Boldly go ..." echoed the space agency on Twitter, under a photo of the Star Trek cast visiting the space shuttle Enterprise in 1976.

"To boldly go where no man has gone before" was a catchphrase from the opening credits of the original Star Trek TV episodes.


George Takei, 77, who played the helmsman of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek, told CNN how he and Nimoy had been good friends for half a century.

"When discussing a scene, he had a remarkable talent for analysing the scene very quickly, in terms of its point, its drive," Takei recalled.

"But he was also able to guide other actors. He was really a company actor ... A real leader and a brilliant actor."

Zachary Quinto, who played Spock in the two most recent Star Trek films, said he was heartbroken by the actor's passing.

"I love you profoundly, my dear friend, and I will miss you everyday," he said on Instagram, alongside a portrait of Nimoy.

"May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest," added the 37-year-old actor.

"Leonard, you lived long and prospered, and were an inspiration to me and to millions. Rest in peace," tweeted Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

With AAP

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