No character in the “Star Trek” franchise is as recognized or loved by fans as the half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock, as portrayed by Leonard Nimoy. Cooly unemotional and highly logical, Spock is second-in-command of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the right hand of Captain James T. Kirk, and a friendly foil to Dr. McCoy.
As detailed in Nimoy’s autobiography, “I Am Spock,” the actor found his runaway fame difficult early on. “I was overwhelmed by all the attention. Overwhelmed, flattered, excited — and terrified,” Nimoy wrote. Seeking to draw a line between himself and the character, Nimoy wrote his first autobiography, “I Am Not Spock” in 1975. That title caused an uproar among Star Trek fans, leading many to believe he hated the character. Two decades later, Nimoy explained his true feelings about his complicated relationship with Spock writing, “I don’t hate the Vulcan. … If someone came up to me and said, ‘You can’t be Leonard Nimoy anymore. But you can be anyone else you want,’ I wouldn’t hesitate a beat with my answer. I’d want to be Spock.”
Nimoy, died at the age of 83 in his Bel Air home on February 27, 2015, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diagnosed with the condition a year prior, Nimoy cited his smoking habit, which he had kicked 30 years before, as the cause. Nimoy is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California, a Jewish cemetery that is also the final resting place of Lorne Greene, Jack Benny, and Michael Landon.