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Happy Birthday, Leonard Nimoy!

Happy Birthday, Leonard Nimoy!

Leonard Nimoy, one of Star Trek’s most memorable actors, turns 83 years old today. Nimoy is best known for his role as Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer on Star Trek: The Original Series.

Aside from his well-known portrayal of Captain Kirk’s Number One, he has been involved in many projects of his own creation, some of which, to this day, remain underrated and under-celebrated. Throughout his life, for example, Nimoy immersed himself in a diverse array of acting roles on stage and screen; recorded and performed several musical albums, and produced photographic works of art showcased in exhibits throughout Massachusetts. He was also the director of successful motion pictures and authored two autobiographies and even penned a collection of poetry; such creative resourcefulness is the trademark of an exceptionally talented and brilliant artist.

Nimoy on Mission: Impossible

Nimoy on Mission: Impossible

His acting career in science fiction started with his role as Narab, a Martian invader in the 1952 sci-fi classic Zombies of the Stratosphere. He has since played minor roles in various TV series, such as Dragnet, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone, but it was not until the year 1966 that Leonard Nimoy would star as a lead character in Star Trek, one that created a new breed of scientific personalities in popular science fiction and completely reshaped the genre. He is also known for his screen depiction of the ex-magician, Paris, in the spy drama television series Mission: Impossible and for his minor role as Dr. Kibner in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Nimoy as Spock from "The Wrath of Khan"

Nimoy as Spock from “The Wrath of Khan”

In appreciation of fantasy and science fiction genres, Mr. Nimoy wrote and recorded musical albums under a contract with Dot Records in the late 1960’s while simultaneously fulfilling acting roles in Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. His musical career, though short lived in comparison to his dedication to acting, included songs like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Earth and Spock Thoughts. Nimoy even sang the popular The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins, in dedication of J.R.R. Tolkein’s adventure novel The Hobbit; a music video of Leonard Nimoy’s The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins was produced and can be found on YouTube with viewer counts as high as 1.6 million.

In 1999, Mr. Nimoy participated with John de Lancie, the actor who played the all-powerful Q in three Star Trek television series, to record their stage performance Spock vs. Q, a comedic dramatization of a philosophical and a hilariously frustrating conversation between the characters Spock and Q. It was followed with a sequel in 2000 in which Spock and Q would once again battle each other with wit, logic, and sheer godhood (on account of Q’s omnipotence). In addition to his on-stage performances, Mr. Nimoy also lent his voice for a role as King Nedakh in Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire and for narrations in computer games like the turn-based strategy Civilization IV and the epic MMORPG Star Trek Online.

In 2011, Nimoy appeared at what he has said were his final convention appearances. He gave a heartfelt account of his life and career at Creation’s Las Vegas Star Trek Convention in August and Chicago in October. He also starred in the Bruno Mars music video, “The Lazy Song.”

In 2012, Nimoy gave an emotional convocation speech at Boston University and welcomed the Space Shuttle Enterprise to New York City.

Earlier this year, Nimoy addressed concerns regarding his health, after being seen in a wheelchair at a New York airport — saying that he had been diagnosed with COPD.

In May, he will host two special space-themed performances with the Boston Pops.

Leonard Nimoy, actor, director, poet, musician and narrator, is a wonderfully talented individual whose many accomplishments are our treasures. He continues to pursue his love of photography.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Nimoy. And as always: live long and prosper.

Photo: Brian Wilkins

Leonard Nimoy to Host “Out of This World” With the Boston Pops

Leonard Nimoy to Host "Out of This World" With the Boston Pops

Star Trek’s original Spock, Leonard Nimoy is set to host two special space-themed performances with the Boston Pops.

The “Out of This World” engagements will take place May 23 and 24 Symphony Hall in downtown Boston. According to a press release, they will be “led by guest conductor Sarah Hicks – in her Boston Pops spring season debut – features music inspired by outer space, with onstage commentary from the celebrated actor.”

Highlights are set to include Holst’s The Planets–which will be performed alongside a NASA film, the theme from Star Trek, the Also Sprach Zarathustra theme popularized in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams’s intergalactic music from Star Wars, E.T., and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.


LLAP

For ticket information, visit Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Happy Birthday, William Shatner!

Happy Birthday, William Shatner!

Today, William Shatner, the actor who played the legendary Captain James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series and seven Star Trek motion pictures, turned 83 years old.

The Montreal-born actor started his career as a Shakespearean stage performer in Stratford, Canada and on Broadway in New York City in the early 1950’s. Though his first appearance in cinema was that of a minor role in the 1951 Canadian film The Butler’s Night Off, Shatner’s prominence in film did not arrive until his second debut in 1958 as Alexey Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov, a film adaptation of one of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s literary works. During that time, he played a major role as Jim Whitely in The Glass Eye, an episode form the third season of the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1959, William Shatner performed on stage in Broadway once again as Lomax in The World of Suzie Wong; his outstanding performance was received very well by critics, which earned him greater repute in the theatrical and film community. In fact, his initial stardom was a precursor to greater achievements in film and television for the next several years before he took on more exploratory, original roles: where no man has gone before.

Shatner in The Twilight Zone

Shatner in The Twilight Zone

His more prominent contributions on-screen during the early 1960’s, though not highly recognized by today’s standards, included an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, in which Shatner played a paranoid airline passenger who is seemingly the only person aboard aware of a gremlin sabotaging the propeller engines on the wing of the plane (and yes, this WAS the original screenplay that was remade in the fourth segment of the 1983 film Twilight Zone: The Movie, starring 3rd Rock from the Sun’s John Lithgow sitting in Shatner’s seat on the plane (and quite possibly terrified by the same gremlin). In 1964, Shatner guest-starred in The Man from U.N.C.L.E, in which he played as Michael Donfield, an ex-businessman employed by the main character, Napoleon Solo, to expose a plot that would bring the United States and the Soviet Union on the brink of war. In the episode, Solo and Donfield discover co-conspirators Madame Kurasov and her assistant, Vladeck. Interestingly, Vladeck was played by Leonard Nimoy, who would later fill the shoes of Spock from the classic Star Trek: The Original Series. Though these two actors played the roles of enemies in a single episode, fate would unite them in the roles of close friends for an entire series, both on- and off-screen.

Shatner as Kirk in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

Shatner as Kirk in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

In 1966, William Shatner was cast as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek’s second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” a role in a series that lasted until its abrupt cancellation in 1969. His exceptional performance impacted science fiction for years to come. Despite the low financial status of the show’s budget and its poor reception of the audience at the time, Shatner’s portrayal of Kirk set the standard for many leadership roles in films and shows, from Battlestar Galactica to Star Wars.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

By 1979, Gene Roddenberry and Paramount Pictures resurrected Star Trek and brought Shatner and his old crew back to work in another round of space-faring adventures; this time, William Shatner would not star in a TV series, but in a full-fledged film saga, beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture and ending with the sad, though heroic death of James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations.

After his film career as Captain Kirk ended (though his acting career was no where near finished), William Shatner refused to let the spirit of Kirk end at just one movie. He continued the Kirk legacy in a series of Star Trek novels wherein Captain Kirk was resurrected to continue his adventures to explore and save the galaxy once again, this time in the 24th century. He also authored the science fiction series TekWar, which was adapted into a video game, a made-for-TV movie, and a comic book series.

He is scheduled to appear at multiple conventions this year, including Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Chicago (June 6-8) and Las Vegas (July 31-August 3).

Ever-busy, he is also scheduled to star in a new home-improvement show The Shatner Project, which is set to premiere on the DIY Network in October.

William Shatner, writer, actor, stage performer, and science fiction enthusiast, is a man of many talents. His popularity as the legendary Captain Kirk earned him a reputation that not only lasted for half a century, but will endure for centuries to come. Look anywhere, Star Trek or not, one can still see the mark of Captain Kirk in everything, from television series and movies to music and art. Today, we shall celebrate Mr. Shatner’s turning of age as well as the great fortunes he has laid out for us.

Captain, today we at TrekNews.net wish you a very happy and healthy 83rd birthday.

You can follow William Shatner on Twitter at @WilliamShatner.

William Shatner To Star In New DIY Network Home-Renovation Series ‘The Shatner Project’

William Shatner To Star In New DIY Network Home-Renovation Series 'The Shatner Project'

Star Trek’s original Captain Kirk, William Shatner is set to star in a new home-renovation show, The Shatner Project.

Produced by Scott Sternberg Productions, The Shatner Project, will be a five (possibly six)-episode series on the DIY Network.

Each episode of the series will follow Shatner and his wife, as they “gut their 1970s-style California home, including the kitchen, living room and dining room. The couple also will renovate the front patio area in order to create the perfect place for big family parties, as well as remodel Shatner’s favorite hangout spot, the media room.”

“I am embracing change,” said Shatner. “Our home will be unfamiliar territory for a while but I am excited by all of it.”

The Shatner Project is slated to debut on the DIY Network in October.

via Variety

WATCH: Leonard Nimoy Talks COPD Diagnosis On ‘Piers Morgan Live’

WATCH: Leonard Nimoy Talks COPD Diagnosis On 'Piers Morgan Live'

Leonard Nimoy, who recently disclosed his COPD diagnosis, appeared on Piers Morgan Live on Monday to discuss the disease and the years of smoking that caused it.

“People were being told smoking is terrific,” Nimoy recalled, discussing the cigarette industry’s old marketing campaigns.

“You have to treat it as an addiction and understand that it’s not too early to quit,” Nimoy warned. “Young people think, ‘Maybe in 10 years I’ll quit,’ you know?’ “The damage is being done right now. Every day you light a cigarette, you’re losing cells in your lungs.”

Watch a segment of the interview below.

Nimoy commented on Twitter, prior to the appearance.

via CNN

Star Trek: The Original Series Stars: Then And Now [PHOTOS]

Star Trek: The Original Series Stars: Then And Now [PHOTOS]

Star Trek: The Original Series hit television airwaves back in September of 1966 and changed television forever. Now, nearly fifty years later, the show, the stars, and the future universe its creators depicted, are arguably more popular than ever.

Many of the TOS stars, now in their 70s and 80s, are prominent fixtures in pop culture and the Star Trek convention circuit. While DeForest Kelley and James Doohan have sadly passed on, William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Grace Lee Whitney are all regular fixtures at the annual Las Vegas Star Trek convention and several others across the country and around the world each year. Leonard Nimoy, who reprised the role of Spock (Prime) in Star Trek Into Darkness, retired from convention appearances in 2011.

Take a look at the crew of the USS Enterprise, then and now, in the gallery below.

William Shatner

William Shatner

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

George Takei

George Takei


CHARMS

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

Grace Lee Whitney

Grace Lee Whitney

photos: CBS and TrekNews.net

Leonard Nimoy Addresses Health Concerns

Leonard Nimoy Addresses Health Concerns

On Wednesday, Leonard Nimoy addressed rumors regarding his health, after being seen in a wheelchair at a New York airport, earlier this week.

In a tweet, Nimoy, now 82, said:

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) disease, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. “Progressive” means the disease gets worse over time.

COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants—such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust—also may contribute to COPD.

Since retiring from convention appearances in 2011, Nimoy appeared in an Audi commercial with Zachary Quinto, Star Trek Into Darkness, as Spock (Prime), and gave the convocation speech to BU graduates, in 2012.

We here at TrekNews.net wish Mr. Nimoy all the best. LLAP, sir.

WATCH: George Takei Talks “To Be Takei” At Sundance

WATCH: George Takei Talks "To Be Takei" At Sundance

George Takei has been busy this week promoting his new documentary, To Be Takei, at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, which we discussed late last year, has been screened multiple times during this year’s event.

To Be Takei was directed by Jennifer Kroot. It chronicles the life of Star Trek’s original Hikaru Sulu and explores his childhood, growing up in a World War II internment camp, his time on Star Trek, his LGBT activism and his recent resurgence as an internet celebrity.

To promote the movie, Takei has been on-hand in Park City, Utah all week to sit down with multiple news outlets. Below is a collection of some of those interviews with the Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, and CNN’s News Room.



Photo: The Hollywood Reporter

Remembering DeForest Kelley… On His 94th Birthday

Remembering DeForest Kelley... On His 94th Birthday

On what would have been his 94th birthday, we here at TrekNews.net would like to acknowledge DeForest Kelley. His iconic portrayal of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in Star Trek, made him household name and propelled the Georgia-native from a supporting character in the first season of the series to the main cast in the following seasons and feature films.

Born Jackson DeForest Kelley on January 20, 1920, his acting career began in 1947, with the low-budget feature film Fear in the Night. Kelley’s career would go on to span five decades, as he would have roles in films such as Variety Girl, Taxi (1953), The View from Pompey’s Head, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Warlock, and in television with The Lone Ranger, Science Fiction Theatre, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The Fugitive, and Bonanza.

In 1964, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry offered the role of Spock to Kelley, which he refused. Of course, Kelley later accept the role of the cantankerous Dr. “Bones” McCoy, on the show. Opposite William Shatner as Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Spock, he and his castmates would create one of televisions most-memorable on-screen trios.

He would play the character of “Bones” in all three seasons of TOS, in Star Trek: The Animated Series, and in six feature films.

Nimoy, Shatner, and Kelley in 1979 pose for a Star Trek: The Motion Picture publicity shot

Nimoy, Shatner, and Kelley in 1979 pose for a Star Trek: The Motion Picture publicity shot

Kelley appeared as the 137-year-old Admiral Leonard McCoy, Starfleet Surgeon General Emeritus, in a cameo role, in the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Encounter at Farpoint” in 1987.

Kelley as the 137-year-old bones in TNG, opposite Brent Spiner as Data

Kelley as the 137-year-old bones in TNG, opposite Brent Spiner as Data

In 1998, he lent his voice to the children’s series The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, as the satellite, Viking 1.

Sadly, Kelley would succumb stomach cancer in June of 1999. He was 79.

While gone, DeForest Kelley’s contributions to the Star Trek universe will never be forgotten. Karl Urban, a self-professed Star Trek fan, paid tribute to Kelley with his portrayal of the character, in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness.

DeForest Kelley talks about his favorite fan letter, from the film Trekkies, in the video below.

Have a great “Bones” memory? Share it with us in the comments below.

WATCH: The Surprising Musical Origins of Star Trek’s Theme Song

WATCH: The Surprising Musical Origins of Star Trek's Theme Song

Beginning with the now-famous monologue by William Shatner, “Space: the final frontier”, the opening notes of Star Trek’s theme song have become ingrained in the minds of fans around the world.

The iconic song, written by Alexander Courage in 1964, is played at the opening and closing credits of every episode of the original series and has been reinterpreted in some form for each Star Trek feature film.

In a new video released by Canada’s CBC Music, host Tom Allen explores the connection between the song and some of history’s greatest classical music composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, and Mahler.

Check out the video below.

WATCH: Leonard Nimoy Talks The Creation Of Spock, Vulcan Salute, More With Pharrell Williams

WATCH: Leonard Nimoy Talks The Creation Of Spock, Vulcan Salute, More With Pharrell Williams

Leonard Nimoy, actor, director and photographer, recently sat down with musician , producer and admitted fan, Pharrell Williams on ARTST TLK to discuss the creation of his iconic Spock character, the Vulcan salute, and the controversy behind some of his photography projects, and more.

“I had mixed feelings about it” Nimoy said about being presented with the role of Spock. “I was excited about some steady work, because I hadn’t had some steady work in a long time. I was a freelance actor. On the other hand, I was concerned about what the make-up was going to look like.”

“The fact that Shatner was overt, was broad, and theatrical, made it more interesting for me to be able to lay back and comment on what was happening, rather than act out on what was happening. So, it took a little while, but I found a way.” he said of his on-screen dynamic with William Shatner.

On the topic of the Vulcan salute and it’s Orthodox origins, Nimoy said “I didn’t think of it in religious terms, but I was looking for some magic.”

Check out the entire interview in the video below.


NIMBUS

‘To Be Takei’ To Premiere at Sundance

'To Be Takei' To Premiere at Sundance

To Be Takei, a new documentary chronicling the life of Star Trek’s original Hikaru Sulu, George Takei, will premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Directed by Jennifer Kroot, the film will explore Takei’s childhood, growing up in a World War II internment camp, his time on Star Trek, his LGBT activism and his recent resurgence as an internet celebrity.

Official description:

Over seven decades, actor and activist George Takei journeyed from a World War II internment camp to the helm of the Starship Enterprise, and then to the daily news feeds of five million Facebook fans. Join George and his husband, Brad, on a wacky and profound trek for life, liberty, and love.

The Sundance Film Festival will take place January 16-24, in Park City, Utah.

via Advocate

Photo: Brian Wilkins