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, in full Leonard Simon Nimoy, (born March 26, 1931, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.—died February 27, 2015, Los Angeles, California), American actor known for his portrayal of the stoic, cerebral Mr. Spock in the science fiction television and film franchise Star Trek.
Nimoy, the second son of Jewish immigrants from Izyaslav, Russian Empire (now in Ukraine), grew up in a tenement in Boston’s West End neighbourhood. As a child, he began acting in community theatre productions. Nimoy briefly attended Boston College before heading to California in 1949, where he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse. He began auditioning for film and television parts and was cast in bit roles in such movies as Queen for a Day (1951) and the serial Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952). He assumed the starring role in the boxing melodrama Kid Monk Baroni (1952) before enlisting in the army reserve in 1953; he continued to appear in productions during his free time. Nimoy eventually convinced his superiors to transfer him to Atlanta, where, as an entertainment specialist, he wrote and directed television and radio variety programs for the troops. Following the completion of his service in 1955, he returned to California. In 1958 he began taking acting lessons from blacklisted actor Jeff Corey and, later, teaching at his own studio.
Gene Roddenberry, Robert Wise, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and William Shatner
Nimoy then spent more than a decade making the rounds as a television guest actor on various programs, including Dragnet, Sea Hunt, Bonanza, Rawhide, Perry Mason, The Outer Limits, and Gunsmoke. One of these minor performances, a spot on the Gene Roddenberry-produced series The Lieutenant (1964), led to the role with which he became synonymous: Mr. Spock. Roddenberry was developing a new science fiction series and thought Nimoy would be perfect for the role of the half-human, half-alien Spock, the pointy-eared science officer (and later commander) of the spacecraft USS Enterprise. The vessel, staffed by a diverse crew, was on a voyage “to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Spock’s attempts to reconcile his resolute alien (“Vulcan”) rationality with his human emotions struck a chord with viewers, and the character’s popularity rivaled that of the ostensible main protagonist, Capt. James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner). Though Star Trek ran only from 1966 to 1969, the show developed an extraordinarily devoted following.
Vulcan hand salute
Following the cancellation of the series, Nimoy joined the cast of Mission: Impossible for two seasons (1969–71) as Paris, an undercover operative and former magician, and later lent his voice to an animated version of Star Trek (1973–74). In 1978 he was cast in a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Star Trek, in the meantime, maintained its hold on the public imagination. Nimoy reprised the role of Spock in the big-screen Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and appeared in a string of sequels, including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). He also directed The Search for Spock (in which he appeared only briefly) and The Voyage Home. Another directorial effort—the comedy Three Men and a Baby—was the most lucrative film released in 1987. Known for his engagement with aficionados of Star Trek, Nimoy made frequent appearances at science fiction conventions and was convinced by director J.J. Abrams to make an appearance in his 2009 Star Trek remake.
Nimoy deployed his sonorous voice to memorable effect as Galvatron in Transformers: The Movie (1986) and as Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). He narrated numerous documentaries, among them Titanica (1992) and A Life Apart: Hasidism in America (1997). In later years he turned increasingly toward photography (which he had studied at the University of California, Los Angeles, decades earlier). Collections of his photos included Shekhina (2002), a series of images of nude women draped in Jewish religious accoutrements, and The Full Body Project (2007), which featured portraits of nude obese women. He wrote the autobiographies I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (1995).
American lawyer and politician
Recent NewsFeb. 7, 2023, 12:44 PM ET (AP)
Newspapers dying? Ralph Nader's giving birth to one
At a time when community newspapers across the United States are dying at alarming rates, longtime activist Ralph Nader is giving birth to one
Ralph Nader, (born February 27, 1934, Winsted, Connecticut, U.S.), American lawyer and consumer advocate who was a four-time candidate for the U.S. presidency (1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008). For coverage of the 2008 election, see United States Presidential Election of 2008.
The son of Lebanese immigrants, Nader graduated from Princeton University in 1955 and received a law degree from Harvard University in 1958. Nader soon became interested in unsafe vehicle designs that led to high rates of automobile accidents and fatalities. He became a consultant to the U.S. Department of Labor in 1964, and in 1965 he published Unsafe at Any Speed, which criticized the American auto industry in general for its unsafe products and attacked General Motors’ (GM’s) Corvair automobile in particular. The book became a best seller and led directly to the passage of the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which gave the government the power to enact safety standards for all automobiles sold in the United States.
GM went to exceptional lengths to discredit Nader, including hiring a private detective to follow him. Nader sued for invasion of privacy, and the case was settled after GM admitted wrongdoing before a U.S. Senate committee. With the funds he received from the lawsuit and aided by impassioned activists, who became known as Nader’s Raiders, he helped establish a number of advocacy organizations, most notably Public Citizen. Nader’s Raiders became involved in such issues as nuclear safety, international trade, regulation of insecticides, meat processing, pension reform, land use, and banking.
Although Nader and his associates did not invent the idea of consumer advocacy, they did radically transform its meaning, focusing on fact-finding research, analysis, and governmental lobbying for new laws on key consumer issues. Nader was also instrumental in the passage in 1988 of California’s Proposition 103, which provided for a rollback of auto insurance rates.
Nader ran for president of the United States in 1996 but collected less than 1 percent of the vote. In 2000 he was nominated by the Green Party as its U.S. presidential candidate. His campaign focused on universal health care, environmental and consumer protections, campaign finance reform, and strengthened labour rights. Realizing that he had little hope of winning the election, Nader concentrated on obtaining 5 percent of the national vote, the minimum necessary to secure federal matching funds for the Green Party for future presidential campaigns. Nader eventually fell well short of this goal, receiving only 2.7 percent of the national vote, but he may have aided Republican candidate George W. Bush—who narrowly won the presidency over Democrat Al Gore—by attracting votes that otherwise might have gone to Gore, especially in the key state of Florida. In 2004, despite pleas by many Democrats that he not run, Nader campaigned for the presidency as an independent. Although he received only 0.3 percent of the vote in that election and his petition signatures were challenged because of the alleged use of state resources in their proceedings, he again ran for president in 2008 and won about 0.5 percent of the popular vote.
In addition to his political campaigns, Nader continued his consumer activism. In the late 1990s he became a vocal critic of Microsoft, which he claimed was a monopoly. In 2014 he launched the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, a weekly news and interview show. The following year he realized a longtime dream, as the American Museum of Tort Law opened in Winsted, Connecticut; it was the first law museum in the United States. The documentary An Unreasonable Man (2006) chronicles Nader’s career.