While Leonard Nimoy was an American actor, Nimoy was Born on 26 March 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts but raised by Ukrainian immigrant parents. He was actively involved in his Jewish faith; this active involvement continued throughout his life.
After participating in local plays and radio programs as a child (further developing his interest in acting in the process), Nimoy took classes at Boston College and, upon moving to Los Angeles, Pasadena Playhouse. Nimoy quickly became disillusioned with the nature and cost of these programs, and he set off on his own to pursue additional acting work besides the few small credits he’d accumulated.
For about a decade, Nimoy received only bit roles and minor parts. However, his big break came in 1966, in the form of Star Trek, which ignited his career and made him a household figure. Nimoy went on to portray Spock for the next half century, including roles in the original television series, Star Trek: Next Generation, and multiple Star Trek movies.
Besides Star Trek, Nimoy lent his voice to numerous films, video games, and television shows, including Star Trek Online, Kingdom Hearts, and Civilization IV. Nimoy also appeared on Ancient Mysteries, Futurama, The Simpsons, and Saturday Night Live. To the benefit of science fiction and television fans everywhere, Nimoy also acted in The Twilight Zone, a cult-classic anthology series that aired on CBS from 1959 to 1964.
Although Nimoy and Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling enjoyed a positive (if distant) relationship, Nimoy appeared on the program just once, and in a relatively minor role. This once-off appearance probably resulted from the extensive effort Nimoy put towards seeking consistent employment; what’s more is that he was far from a well-known actor in 1961.
Nimoy’s single Twilight Zone appearance came in the episode entitled “A Quality of Mercy.” Written by show creator Rod Serling (and based on a short story by Sam Rolfe), the episode follows an unnecessarily aggressive American military commander who, not long before the end of the conflict with Japan during World War 2, orders his men to attack a cave full of tired, weary, and sick Japanese soldiers. When a vision forces this commander to consider the other side of the coin—if his men were in the position of the Japanese soldiers—he quickly regrets his orders and realizes that they would only bring about additional suffering and death.
Nimoy played the part of Hansen, and interestingly, Quantum Leap‘s Dean Stockwell, who played Al Calavicci, starred in the episode. A modern-day interpretation of “A Quality of Mercy” would later be featured in 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie. The segment was however marred in tragedy, as two child actors and Vic Morrow, who played the lead role, were killed in an on-set helicopter accident.
On 27 February 2015, at the age of 83, Nimoy passed away as a result of complications from COPD. He was remembered by the many actors, directors, and industry professionals he worked with, in addition to being recognized by his millions of fans around the world.