Say It Ain't So, Spock! Leonard Nimoy Retires from 'Star Trek' Conventions

Leonard Nimoy Cried Watching New Star Trek Movie
Leonard Nimoy said that he shed some tears while watching the new "Star Trek" movie, where he reprises his role as an older Spock who enlightens his younger self. (Image credit: John Siuntres)

After a long and prosperous career, Leonard Nimoy, the actor who famously portrayed the alien Mr. Spock in the original "Star Trek" television show, has attended his last convention for fans of the iconic science fiction franchise, according to media reports.

Nimoy, 80, said the most recent "Star Trek" convention in suburban Chicago, honoring the show's 45th anniversary, would be his last, according to an Associated Press report

The actor, director and photographer is best known for his role as the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock in the original "Star Trek" series, films and spinoffs. He made famous the character's four-fingered Vulcan "V" salute, the phrase "live long and prosper" and, of course, the Vulcan neck pinch and mind melds.

At the Chicago convention, Nimoy spoke to an audience for over an hour, reminiscing about his life and career, and thanking the show's devoted fans — who affectionately call themselves "Trekkies," — for all their support, according to the AP. [Infographic: The Evolution of 'Star Trek' ]

The conventions are organized by Creation Entertainment, and the company's CEO Adam Malin said that the firm has worked with Nimoy for almost three decades, and that the actor's role in the convention circuit "will be missed," reported the AP.

Last year, Nimoy announced his intention to retire from show business and the "Star Trek" conventions. Before then, the actor made guest appearances on the television show "Fringe," which is produced by J.J. Abrams, director of the 2009 "Star Trek" film.

Nimoy reprised his role in the Abrams reboot as the older Spock, and shares some wisdom with his younger self, who is played by actor Zachary Quinto. Nimoy agreed to be involved in the film after Abrams and his writers won him over with their dedication to the original "Star Trek" series.

"I was struck by the intensity of their feelings about the classic Star Trek material that we did," Nimoy said at the time. "I was very touched by it."

Seeing the completed film was also an emotional experience for the veteran actor.

"I gotta tell ya, I cried a lot," Nimoy said. "I did, I sat there and cried a lot watching it."

"Star Trek" premiered on television on Sept. 8, 1966 and quickly became a cultural sensation. Thanks to Abrams' Hollywood re-launch of the franchise and wide television syndication, sci-fi fans around the world continue to enjoy the show some 45 years after its debut.

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Denise Chow
NBC News science writer

Denise Chow is a former staff writer who then worked as assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. She spent two years with, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions, before joining the Live Science team in 2013. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University. At NBC News, Denise covers general science and climate change.