- Deseret News - Friday, March 6, 2015

The passing of Leonard Nimoy on Feb. 27 has left a hole in the world of pop culture, judging from the outpouring of appreciation coming from fans everywhere, including as high up as the White House.

Nimoy is best remembered for his role as the Starship Enterprise’s half-Vulcan, half-human science officer Mr. Spock — something that took him years to come to terms with. His first autobiography, notably titled “I Am Not Spock,” was followed up two decades later with a sequel titled “I Am Spock.”

However, the native Bostonian was anything but a one-trick pony. Nimoy was a multihyphenate that would put most other multihyphenates to shame. Outside of acting, he directed about a dozen movies. He was a writer and a poet, having published several volumes of his poems. He was a talented photographer. He recorded multiple albums of original music, including the infamous “Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.” And in his 40s, he earned a master’s degree in Spanish.

As large a part of his life as Spock proved to be, Nimoy left behind a body of work in film and TV that speaks to his range as both an actor and filmmaker. Here are a few things outside of “Star Trek” to remember him.

“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (1964) — Nimoy appeared in just a single episode of the Cold War-era spy series, one called “The Project Strigas Affair” directed by Joseph Sargent (“The Taking of Pelham One Two Three”). As was frequently the case pre-“Star Trek,” Nimoy played the villain. Starring opposite him as a recruit for U.N.C.L.E. was none other than a young William Shatner.

“Mission: Impossible”(1970-1971) — After the cancellation of “Star Trek” in 1969, Nimoy joined the cast of another popular spy series, this time as a main cast member, playing a magician/master of disguise-turned-IMF agent known as “The Great Paris.”

As an odd bit of trivia, Paris was written into the series to fill in for original cast member Martin Landau when he left the show after the third season. Landau had been Gene Roddenberry’s first choice to play Spock, and he was even offered the role but turned it down in favor of the “Mission: Impossible” gig, reportedly saying (via Starlog), “I can’t play wooden. It’s the antithesis of why I became an actor.”

“In Search Of…” (1977-1982) — Nimoy was a host on this precursor to all the “infotainment” shows that are the bread and butter of things like the History Channel nowadays. “In Search Of…” is still pretty well-regarded decades later for its novel, pseudo-scientific approach to pulp sci-fi subjects like aliens and Bigfoot. For the time being, at least, the entire series is available on YouTube.

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”(1978) — Arguably the best version of the oft revisited body-snatcher storyline to date, this one was directed by Philip Kaufman (“The Right Stuff”) and stars Donald Sutherland (President Snow from “The Hunger Games”). Playing a self-help guru/pop psychologist, Nimoy’s role is memorably against-type.

“A Woman Named Golda”(1982) — Nimoy earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in this TV movie about the life of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (one of four he received during his lifetime; the others were all for “Star Trek”). Speaking with Geoff Boucher of “Hero Complex,” Nimoy said it was a role he was hesitant to accept because the character lacked the “cerebral aura” he was used to playing — that is, until producer Harve Bennett told him he would be starring opposite Ingrid Bergman. “A Woman Named Golda” turned out to be her final role. She died four months after it premiered.

“The Transformers: The Movie” (1986) — Nimoy lent his voice to a number of animated projects over the years, including the unforgettable Star Trek cartoon that aired from 1973 to 1974. Outside of Star Trek-related stuff, this is probably his most beloved voice performance. Once again, he gets to play the bad guy, Galvatron (a rebuilt version of perennial Transformers baddie Megatron). Nimoy returned to the Transformers universe as Sentinel Prime in 2011’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

“3 Men and a Baby”(1987) — Nimoy stayed behind the camera for this one, a light comedy that’s about as far from what one would expect Mr. Spock to make as anything could be. As a director, Nimoy is probably more famous for the two Star Trek movies he did, 1984’s “The Search for Spock” and 1986’s “The Voyage Home,” the latter of which was, up until the 2009 reboot, the highest-grossing Star Trek film in history. The film “3 Men and a Baby” was an even bigger hit, though, earning $167 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

“Fringe” — Over the course of his career, Nimoy appeared in TV shows as varied as “Gunsmoke,” “The Silent Service,” “Twilight Zone” and “Columbo,” to name just a few. It was only fitting, though, that his last TV role was a sci-fi series. “Fringe” reunited Nimoy with his “Star Trek” director J.J. Abrams and saw him in the pivotal role of Dr. William Bell.

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