Born to Russian Jewish immigrants in Boston, Nimoy attended Boston College on a drama scholarship but eventually dropped out to move to California to pursue acting. He took acting lessons, hired an agent and began landing small roles in television series and movies such as a baseball player in “Rhubarb” and a small role in “Old Overland Trail.” He then joined the Army and returned to Hollywood after his service where he worked as a taxi driver, vacuum cleaner salesman, movie theater usher while he looked for acting roles.
After "Star Trek" ended, the actor immediately joined the hit adventure series "Mission Impossible" as Paris, the mission team's master of disguises. He played Israeli leader Golda Meir's husband opposite Ingrid Bergman in the TV drama "A Woman Called Golda" and Vincent van Gogh in "Vincent," a one-man stage show on the life of the troubled painter. He continued to work well into his 70s, playing gazillionaire genius William Bell in the Fox series "Fringe."
He also directed several films, including the hit comedy "Three Men and a Baby" and appeared in such plays as "A Streetcar Named Desire," ''Cat on a Hot Tim Roof," ''Fiddler on the Roof," ''The King and I," ''My Fair Lady" and "Equus." He also published books of poems, children's stories and his own photographs.
The pointy-eared, purely logical science officer Mr. Spock was beloved by generations of "Star Trek" fans. Trekkies often greet one another with the Vulcan salute and the Vulcan motto, "Live Long and Prosper," both of which Nimoy was credited with bringing to the character. He pointed out the hand gesture was actually derived from one used in a Jewish ritual. "Of course the role changed my career— or rather, gave me one," Nimoy once said. "It made me wealthy by most standards and opened up vast opportunities. It also affected me personally, socially, psychologically, emotionally...What started out as a welcome job to a hungry actor has become a constant and ongoing influence in my thinking and lifestyle."
Although Nimoy followed his 1966-69 "Star Trek" run with a notable career as both an actor and director, in the public's mind he would always be Spock. His half-human, half-Vulcan character was the calm counterpoint to William Shatner's often-emotional Captain Kirk on one of TV and film's most revered cult series. "I loved him like a brother," Shatner told FOX411 in a statement. "We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love."
When the cast finally was reassembled for "Star Trek — The Motion Picture," in 1979, the film was a huge hit and five sequels followed. Nimoy appeared in all of them and directed two. He also guest starred as an older version of himself in some of the episodes of the show's spinoff TV series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
He married Sandra Zober in 1954 and had two children, Julie and Adam. Zober and Nimoy divorced in 1988 and he married film producer Susan Bay.
A look back at the man who brought "Star Trek's" Mr. Spock to life.