20 fun facts to help celebrate Leonard Nimoy's birthday

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Leonard Nimoy, who in 1966 debuted on the original Star Trek as the highly logical Mr. Spock, was born 78 years ago today in Boston, Mass.

To celebrate his birthday, we offer 20 fun facts you might not know about the man behind the half-Vulcan, half-human TV icon.

♦ Like his character of Spock, Nimoy is a vegetarian.

♦ Nimoy directed the most financially successful film in the franchise to date, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).

♦ Two years before before Nimoy played William Shatner's friend in Star Trek, the two were enemies in a 1964 episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

♦ Nimoy took acting lessons from Jeff Corey at the Pasadena Playhouse. Corey later played Plasus in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Cloud Minders."

♦ Nimoy's follow-up role after Spock was to join Mission Impossible as a replacement for Martin Landau, who was one of the early choices to play Spock.

♦ He and William Shatner were the only actors to appear in every episode of the original Star Trek.

♦ Nimoy was nominated three times for an Emmy for his role on Star Trek.

♦ Nimoy's son, also a director, has helmed episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Babylon 5.

♦ Nimoy created the Vulcan salute, first seen in the second-season premiere of the original series.

♦ He voiced the character Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie.

♦ The Griffith Observatory renamed its lecture hall the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon to honor him.

♦ Nimoy's initial Star Trek salary? $1,250 per episode.

♦ Nimoy was the only principal cast member to be carried over from the first to the second Star Trek pilot.

♦ Nimoy directed an episode of William Shatner's series T.J. Hooker.

♦ He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987.

♦ In 1970, after Star Trek was canceled, Nimoy opened a pet store dealing in exotic animals.

♦ In 1996, Nimoy co-founded Alien Voices with John de Lancie and writer-producer Nat Segaloff that produced several science fiction audio productions (including the two "Spock vs. Q" audios) and a few televised specials for the SCI FI Channel: The First Men in the Moon in 1997 and The Lost World in 1998.

♦ Nimoy is also an accomplished photographer, and is perhaps best known for his nude studies of the female form, some of which are for sale.

♦ Nimoy is a new though infrequent twitterer.

♦ Despite his retirement from acting in 2002, Nimoy made appearances with William Shatner in several commercials for Priceline.com in 2005 and 2006, and will appear in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek.