Before he became Spock, Nimoy got his start in films. He garnered his first lead with his third feature, Kid Monk Baroni, in 1952 and went on to star in roles big and small in a number of legendary B-movies such as Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952), Them!(1954), and The Brain Eaters (1958).
Nimoy also logged a number of guest appearances in television shows such as Dragnet, Sea Hunt, and Gunsmoke. However, his life would change forever in the mid-1960s when faced with a choice between a role in the soap opera Peyton Place or a role on a science-fiction start up from producer Gene Roddenberry, he chose the latter.
The latter was, of course, Star Trek, and although the show only ran for three years, it became a cult sensation in syndication. Star Trek became a blockbuster franchise in both films and televisions. Spock became a pop culture icon and Nimoy would reprise the character numerous times throughout the years in various spin-offs and sequels. He played the role for the last time in 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness.
After Star Trek went off the air, Nimoy moved on to a career behind the camera to complement the one he had in front of it (Which continued with role in TV series such as Mission Impossible and as the host of the documentary series, In Search of…). His first directorial experience took place on episodes of televisions series, including his former co-star William Shatner’s post-Star Trek series, T.J. Hooker. Nimoy would move over to film directing by helming the 1984 Star Trek sequel, The Search for Spock. He would also direct the next installment of the series in 1986, The Voyage Home.
Nimoy would then direct one of the most successful films of the 1980s–1987’s Three Men and a Baby. The film, a remake of the 1985 French film, Trois Hommes et Un Couffin , starred Ted Danson, Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg as three bachelors whose lives are shaken up when a former paramour leaves a baby on their doorstep. The film was the highest grossing film of 1987, beating out films like Fatal Attraction and Beverly Hills Cop II.
Nimoy’s film directing career would continue into the 1990s and include the Diane Keaton drama, The Good Mother (1988) and the Gene Wilder comedy, Funny About Love (1990). Nimoy’s final film he directed was 1994’s Holy Matrimony.