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The Hollywood Reporter‘s first take on NBC’s Star Trek was “there’s quite a bit of suspense and tricks with gadgets that will please the sci-fi buffs no end.” From this, THR concluded that the 1966 show “should be a winner.” It certainly was for co-star Leonard Nimoy. Playing Spock, the half-human/half-Vulcan who served as science officer on the Starship Enterprise, the method actor, then 34, had landed a part that would come to define his career. “I am not Spock,” Nimoy, who died in 2015, once said, “but if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.”
Before doing Trek, Nimoy’s résumé included dozens of appearances on such ‘50s TV staples as Perry Mason and Dragnet. He had an early brush with sci-fi playing a Martian in 1952’s Zombies of the Stratosphere. But it was for Trek in 1967 that he received his first Emmy nomination as a supporting actor (and got noms during each of the show’s three seasons).
If there was a downside to Trek‘s popularity, it was the brutal (but successful) contract renegotiation Nimoy went through after season one. The dispute was over star William Shatner receiving $5,000 per week ($38,000 today) and 20 percent profit participation, while the fan-favorite Nimoy got $1,250 weekly ($9,500 now) and no cut of the profits. Emmy has not favored sci-fi much since Star Trek — until 2016’s Westworld, that is, which boasts 22 noms.
This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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