Leonard Nimoy, most famous for his portrayal of “Spock” in the Star Trek series and movies passed away today at 83. A little known fact about Nimoy, is he was also a U.S. Army Veteran. He joined the Army Reserves in 1953 attaining the rank of SSG, in the above photo he is wearing the rank of staff sergeant with a “T” that in the 1950s would indicate a technician, before getting out and pursuing his acting career in 1955. Nimoy was in charge of a platoon that happened to include actor Ken Berry. Berry confided in Nimoy his ambitions to dance and perform, and Nimoy encouraged him to pursue his goals once he left the military. The Army took him to Fort Ord, Calif., Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort McPherson, Georgia.
Part of Nimoy’s time in the military was spent putting on shows for the Army Special Services branch which he wrote and narrated. He even found time to direct and play Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production A Streetcar Named Desire. He also played a soldier with PTSD in a film produced by the United States Marine Corps.
Below as an excerpt of a video produced by the USMC that included Nimoy.
Nimoy had many acting credits before and after his Army days. It was in the mid-1960s that he decided to take on the role of Spock, the half-Vulcan, half-human science officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise on Gene Roddenberry’s fledgling science fiction show Star Trek. Nimoy flourished in the role, and even helped create and establish Vulcan culture, such as the iconic Vulcan salute and Vulcan neck pinch. Nimoy said his inspiration for the Vulcan hand sign was his memory of Jewish priests and how they held their hands while delivering a blessing.
Nimoy has been playing Spock since then, including a cameo appearance in the most recent movie, “Star Trek Into Darkness” as Spock Prime while actor Zachary Quinto reprised the role of younger Spock.
As we all remember him saying “Live long and prosper”, rest easy Mr. Nimoy.