The Fringe Exploits of Leonard Nimoy: What You Never Knew

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Most people look forward to retirement, but there are certain spheres within which it becomes really hard to stick to. How many times have we heard that a musician or actor is retiring from their field, only to see them pop back up as if they never said a word? As he approaches 80, we wouldn’t have been surprised if Leonard Nimoy really kept to his 2002 pronouncement that he was done with the acting world. Yet, following the news that he’ll be back on screen for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot next month, word has also leaked that the man best-known for playing the all-too-logical Mr. Spock has also teamed with Abrams for a recurring role on the Lost creator’s other show, Fringe. It may be an unexpected career move on Nimoy’s part, but then, the man has made plenty of them. After the jump, five ways you probably never knew Leonard Nimoy, from poetry to Hobbits.

1. Recording artist

Like fellow Trek king William Shatner, Nimoy explored a side career in music, initially using his success as Spock to gain attention, then moving on to albums that featured him free of Vulcan accoutrements and affectation. He released five albums on Dot Records, including Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space and The Touch of Leonard Nimoy. 2. Photographer

For the past decade, Nimoy has been working behind the lens, mostly in black-and-white. He has released two books of his work, Shekhina and The Full Body Project, and shown in a number of galleries. When announcing his retirement, Nimoy cited his photography as his new main focus. 3. Video Director

While it’s pretty common knowledge that Nimoy was responsible for writing and/or directing a number of the original Star Trek films, his excursion into music videos is less well-known. Strangely enough, he was behind the Bangles‘ 1985 video for “Going Down to Liverpool.” Better yet, he co-starred in the clip, too. 4. Poet

Nimoy has been slinging verse throughout his career, and it’s in this incarnation that he comes off as least like the man of science he portrayed onscreen. Perhaps this is best embodied by the title of his 2002 collection, A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life. It could also explain the apparent contradiction in the titles of Nimoy’s two autobiographies: I Am Spock and I Am Not Spock . 5. Hobbit-Loving Loon

OK, so you’ve probably seen this one before, but we just had to bring it up again. Nimoy’s musical take on “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” appeared on his album The Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, but was much more bizarrely captured in this video clip. Just in case you haven’t actually witnessed this yet, be forewarned: it will most likely melt your brain.