Late Obituaries

Category: 2015

Leonard Nimoy

March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015

American actor and director, known for his legendary performance as Spock, the half-Vulcan, half-human First Officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise in the Star Trek franchise. After initially limited acting success and character roles on series like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Nimoy struck big with “The Cage”, the pilot for ambitious science fiction series Star Trek. The only actor to survive to the series proper, appearing in 79 episodes, Nimoy gave life to cool, logical alien, conceiving the characters iconic Vulcan salute gesture, garnering three Emmy nominations. The iconic role defined him, something he initially struggled with, but later came to embrace. He returned as Spock in all the Star Trek films, being killed off in Wrath of Khan, one of film’s greatest death scenes, returning in Search for Spock which he directed with Voyage Home, and reprised the role in Next Generation and the rebooted Star Trek. Outside Trek he continued the nerd-pleasing fare: he sang about “The Legend of Bilbo Baggins”, directed Three Men and a Baby, starred in the Mission: Impossible series, appeared twice as himself on The Simpsons in classic episodes and played the mysterious William Bell in Fringe. He died in 2015, aged 83, from COPD.

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Sam Simon

June 6, 1955 – March 8, 2015

American writer and producer who, with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, co-created The Simpsons. Initially an animator, Simon wrote for Taxi and Cheers. He served as The Simpsons’ first showrunner and was the true creative force behind the world, characters and humour of arguably the greatest show in history. He hired the show’s first team of writers, and designed characters like Mr. Burns, but left in 1993 over creative disputes (mainly that Groening got too much credit), negotiating a pay-off to the tune of tens of millions annually. He created The George Carlin Show and directed for The Drew Carey Show, but largely retired from TV work after The Simpsons. He won 9 Emmys throughout his career. Instead, he played poker to a professional standard, managed Lamon Brewster to the Heavyweight Championship, worked on Howard Stern’s radio show and was twice married, to Jennifer Tilly and Playboy’s Jami Ferrell. But for a man described by Groening and Carlin as unpleasant and mentally unstable, Simon spent much of life and fortune vociferously helping to free and care for animals, particularly dogs. After a long, public battle way beyond his original diagnosis, Simon died from colorectal cancer aged 59.