From westerns to sci-fi: Leonard Nimoy's varied career

Actor Leonard Nimoy and his wife, actress Susan Bay, arrive for the premiere of the movie Star Trek in Los Angeles in this April 30, 2009, file photo. -- PHOTO: AFP
Actor Leonard Nimoy and his wife, actress Susan Bay, arrive for the premiere of the movie Star Trek in Los Angeles in this April 30, 2009, file photo. -- PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Leonard Nimoy, who died Friday at the age of 83, will be remembered best for playing Mr Spock in the film and TV versions of Star Trek.

But his talents as an actor and director saw him involved in a raft of productions on the big and small screens in a career that stretched back to the early 1950s.

In his first two decades as a professional actor, he took roles in a raft of classic TV shows including Dragnet, Perry Mason and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Between 1969 and 1971, he appeared in 49 episodes of the spy drama Mission: Impossible, playing a magician named Paris.

Many of Nimoy's journeyman TV gigs were on westerns like The Virginian and Wagon Train - but appearances in sci-fi series such as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits foretold his success on the Starship Enterprise.

As Spock, Nimoy appeared in some 80 episodes of the original Star Trek series from 1966 to 1969.

He then reprised his role in the Star Trek movies - both the first six films, and then in recent years as an older version of Spock in the franchise reboot and sequel directed by JJ Abrams.

In 1991, he brought Spock to two episodes of the TV sequel Star Trek: The Next Generation.

More recently, from 2009 to 2012, the Boston-born thespian featured in 11 episodes of the sci-fi police drama series Fringe.

In the director's chair, Nimoy helmed Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in 1984 and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in 1986 - but he dabbled in comedy and drama, too.

In 1987, he directed Tom Selleck in the Hollywood remake of the hit French comedy 3 Men and a Baby, followed in 1988 by the romance drama The Good Mother, starring Diane Keaton.

The 1990s found Nimoy tickling funny bones anew as director of Funny About Love, starring Gene Wilder, and then Holy Matrimony with Patricia Arquette.

Nimoy also lent his unmistakable voice to many documentaries, the 1998 sci-fi series Invasion America, two episodes of The Simpsons and a 1970s cartoon version of Star Trek.