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Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for playing the emotionless, pointy-eared Spock on the “Star Trek” television series, died on Friday. He was 83.
His granddaughter, Dani, confirmed the death on Twitter. She called him “an extraordinary man.” Nimoy revealed a year ago that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
As the half-human, half-alien chief science officer for the Starship Enterprise, Spock gave the world the indelible blessing “Live long and prosper” and his familiar split-fingered Vulcan salute. He was second in command to William Shatner’s Captain James T. Kirk, his stoicism the perfect counter to Kirk’s fiery personality.
“I loved him like a brother,” Shatner said in a statement. “We will all miss his humor, his talent and his capacity to love.”
Word of his death inspired expressions of respect not just from his fellow actors and from “Star Trek” fans but from NASA.
“Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.”
“I loved Spock,” he said.
Nimoy’s career boldly went beyond television. He was also a poet, a photographer, a director and a singer. And a decade after the series went off the air, he breathed new life into the brand by appearing in a series of blockbuster movies.
“The word extraordinary is often overused, but I think it’s really appropriate for Leonard,” the actor George Takei, who played Sulu on the series, told MSNBC. “He was an extraordinarily talented man, but he was also a very decent human being.”
Nimoy invoked his best-known line in his last tweet, posted Monday: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.”
When the original “Star Trek” series ended in 1969, after three season, Nimoy moved to the adventure series “Mission: Impossible.” He also hosted the mystery-probing television series “In Search Of … ” More recently, he played Dr. William Bell on the Fox series “Fringe.”
He credits as a movie director included “Three Men and a Baby.” But he was by far most famous for giving life to the green-blooded Spock.
In a 1995 interview with the AP, he ventured that people “recognize in themselves this wish that they could be logical and avoid the pain of anger and confrontation.”
“How many times have we come away from an argument wishing we had said and done something different?” he said.