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Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Leonard Nimoy, who once wrote the autobiographical I Am Not Spock but later came to embrace and even gently make fun of the iconic Star Trek character he portrayed for five decades, is dead at the age of 83.

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Spock and Kirk, 1968, via Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times reports that Nimoy’s wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death this morning at his home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nimoy had been open about discussing the disease, which he blamed on years of smoking.

Nimoy was not just an actor, but had a broad range and set of interests from poetry to directing.

Yet he is likely best known, globally (and throughout the United Federation of Planets) as the pointy-eared Vulcan in both the original Star Trek television series, a later animated Saturday morning series, and many movies set in the Star Trek universe. Those culminated with his appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013, opposite a younger Spock played by Zachary Quinto.

As a teenager, I was a volunteer on the committee of Equicon ’73, the first West Coast Star Trek fan convention, held in Los Angeles. I had a chance to meet Nimoy at a subsequent Equicon and during other events. He truly was Spock in his gracious and polite responses to a hyperactive fan, but also not Spock in his warm sense of humor.

Live long and prosper? Indeed he did, as we all did as viewers and fans who followed and appreciated him.

[UPDATE 4:51pm: Among tributes, Seattle’s EMP Museum will display the tunic worn by Nimoy as Spock on the TV series this weekend for free in its South Lobby.]

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