Leonard Nimoy, beloved by millions for generations for his iconic Mr. Spock in the Star Trek franchise, has died in his Bel Air home in Los Angeles. Susan Bay Nimoy, his wife, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the New York Times.
As Virginia Heffernan notes in the Times obituary, he had wide-ranging talents (including photographer, that was exhibited at major museums), but he had become a "folk hero" due to his role as Mr. Spock. His role as an unflappable Vulcan -- with the motto "Live long and prosper" -- influenced generations of gay men and women as well, including Zachary Quinto (who posted a photo of Nimoy on his Instagram today with this note: "my heart is broken. i love you profoundly my dear friend. and i will miss you everyday. may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."
As he told Aaron Hicklin in the Out in a 2012 profile for the magazine, how profound Nimoy had been to him:
"The thing I see when I look at how my career has unfolded is this string of little miracles in a way. For example, I met Leonard Nimoy the night before my Star Trek audition at an Awards Ceremony, but completely out of context--he had no idea who I was and I was going to meet J.J. the next day."
"Leonard's involvement in my life has been profound and we've become incredibly close and I have such a deep admiration and love for him. He's an incredible man, and I'm so grateful that no only did I have this incredible creative experience, and professional experience, but the absolute cherry for me on top of that whole experience is my relationship to Leonard and his wife Susan--I just love them--we go to dinner, we hang out, we go to the theater, we spend time together, and I seek that out."
An active supporter of the arts, Nimoy has been recognized for his contributions as when Symphony Space renamed the Thalia movie theater located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in 2002. That same year Nimoy published Shekhina, a book of black-and-white photographs of nude and seminude women. Despite his many other activities and interests, Nimoy never shied away from his love for Spock.
"Given the choice," he wrote, "if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock."