Spock Retires?

Leonard Nimoy says he's officially giving up acting to focus on photography

By Joal Ryan Dec 12, 2002 8:15 PMTags

Is Leonard Nimoy hanging up the ears, tricorder and all other assorted accoutrements?

Per an Associated Press article, the Star Trek icon is "through with acting" after a 51-year career in film, TV and Mr. Spockdom.

It's worth noting that the red-flag words "through with acting" and "quit" are paraphrases by the wire service, not direct quotes from the pointy-eared portrayer himself.

On the other hand, the direct quotes--as well as the word from Nimoy's own rep--do not offer encouragement to the 71-year-old star's fans.

"I won't take a job that takes me away [from my Los Angeles home] for any length of time--my life is too good," Nimoy tells the AP. "I've spent too many weeks in trailers on cold locations, hot locations, away from family and home."

On Thursday, Nimoy's assistant, Simone Rodman, said the AP story sounded accurate: "He's not actively seeking acting work," she said.

In lieu of on-camera gigs, Nimoy, who branched out into film directing in the 1980s (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Three Men and a Baby), is keeping busy behind the camera--the still camera.

"Photography fulfills my creative needs," Nimoy tells the AP.

Nimoy published a photo essay, Shekhina, in October. The title, a Talmudic term referring to the manifestation of God, proved controversial among some Jewish groups, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, which nixed a Nimoy promotional appearance this fall because, well, the book has naked women in it.

"Ninety-five percent of the people who have seen it have been supportive," Nimoy said in the Miami Herald while on a stop in the Sunshine State in October. Nimoy said his photos were merely trying to "elevate women in the hierarchy of Judaism."

With such matters on his mind, Nimoy no longer sounds like a man with the patience to sit in the makeup chair while he's (half-) Vulcanized.

Still, Nimoy is also a man who penned two autobiographies, 1977's I Am Not Spock, in which he sought to distance himself from his Trek alter ego, and 1995's I Am Spock, in which he said the heck with it.

Even in retirement talk, Nimoy is definite--to a point. He said he's told his agent not to bring him offers--"unless it's something I can do in a day or two."

While Nimoy last donned the Spock ears for 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, he has continued to rack up the credits, an appearance on Becker here, a Futurama bit there. He also lent his famed voice to Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and most recently hosted a doc on Night Gallery, the spooky 1970s Rod Serling anthology series, which aired in September on Starz Encore's Mystery channel.

The latest Trek big-screen adventure, Star Trek: Nemesis, opens Friday, sans Nimoy.

To hear the actor tell it, the Enterprise's logical first officer is even more removed from the action than his retiring portrayer. As Nimoy tells the AP: "Spock is somewhere deep in the Klingon empire on a spy mission."