Leonard Nimoy, the iconic actor who thrilled audiences in his role as Spock on Star Trek, died today. He was 83.
Nimoy was taken to UCLA Medical Center by ambulance last week, according to reports, after suffering chest pains. An active social media user, he made no mention of his health emergency online, but he took to Twitter late last Sunday and shared a philosophical post with fans, writing, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.”
Best known for his character Mr. Spock in the “Star Trek” television show and movies, most recently in his cameo as Spock Prime in the blockbuster “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Nimoy’s Vulcan hand gesture comes from an experience he had at synagogue when he was 8 years old.
Nimoy’s father told him not to look as worshippers averted their eyes during blessings recited by the kohanim.
“The men were chanting, shouting and praying in an Orthodox service,” Nimoy, 82, said in a past interview with JNS.org. “It was very passionate, very theatrical. I was chilled by the whole thing.”
Years later, while on the set of the “Star Trek” television show, Nimoy suggested to the director that Vulcans like Spock should offer some gesture in greeting other Vulcans.
“The director asked me what I had in mind and I suggested the gesture used by the kohanim,” Nimoy said. The gesture went on to be accompanied by the expression “live long and prosper.”
Nimoy, born in Boston, recalled once that he grew up “in a very Jewish environment and was bar mitzvahed appropriately when I was 13.”
Born to Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jews from Ukraine, Nimoy narrated the documentary “A Life Apart: Hasidism in America” in 1997, about the various sects of Hasidic Jews. In October 2002, Nimoy published “The Shekhina Project,” a photographic study inspired by Kabbalah. exploring the feminine aspect of God’s presence.
Nimoy passed in his Bel Air home. He is survived by his wife Susan and his two children.