We probably know a lot more about Leonard than many people, but Variety published a great article about some obscure talents and experiences that even die-hard fans may not know. Here is an excerpt from that article:
- The first reference of “Leonard Nemoy,” as he was billed in some of his earliest appearances, came in the Oct. 17, 1950, edition noting that he had joined the cast of the C-grade indie film “Queen for a Day.” It was stitched together from three segments featured on the radio program of the same name that later transferred to TV.
- Nimoy scored in his first mention in a Variety review in the April 17, 1952, edition, for his work in the C-grade indie “Kid Monk Baroni,” in which he plays a hoodlum from Little Italy who turns himself around by becoming a boxer. The reviewer found the pic mostly forgettable except that it “serves to introduce a young actor named Leonard Nimoy in the title role. He is a capable juve who merits attention.” Roles in “The Brain Eaters,” “Zombies of the Stratosphere” and “Them!” would follow.
- Nimoy’s tour of duty in TV Westerns and dramatic anthology series of the late 1950s and early 1960s is well-documented in Variety’s casting notices. In the March 22, 1961, edition, Nimoy’s talent agency took out a small ad to tout his guest shot in a “Wagon Train” episode — a precursor of things to come, as Gene Roddenberry would later pitch “Star Trek” to NBC as “‘Wagon Train’ to the stars.”
- By 1962, Nimoy and Vic Morrow, star of ABC’s “Combat,” teamed to option the film rights to Jean Genet’s “Deathwatch,” according to an item in the Sept. 24, 1962, edition. The pair plan “independent filmization” of the project about two male prisoners fighting over the affections of a third inmate. The project becomes a six-year, $125,000-odyssey for Nimoy and Morrow, who directed. Paul Mazursky and Michael Forrest co-starred with Nimoy, with Gavin MacLeod in a small role. Nimoy and Morrow faced IATSE picketing during their non-union shoot in 1964 and indifference from distributors. The pair finally decided to book it into select theaters themselves, starting in San Francisco in 1966. It was picked up for limited distribution by Beverly Pictures in 1968.