Leonard Nimoy in the 1950s & early ’60s

Leonard Nimoy was living hand-to-mouth in the 1950s and early 60s, as a struggling actor in TV and movies, before his stardom on Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. He landed the leading role in the feature film Kid Monk Baroni (1952) (photo, left), but spent most of his early career in TV in small roles, in such series as Dragnet (photo, center) and The Twilight Zone (photo, right).

“The work that I was useful for when I was hired– which was rare in those days– were always offbeat nasty guys. Ethnic characters of one kind or another. Guys who beat up people and that sort of thing. They were always in trouble. The good guys were guys that looked like Tab Hunter. The look at that time was a look that wasn’t me. They say, you have small eyes, or you have a crooked nose, or, you know, ‘No, no, no, no, no! Next. Next.’”

Several of Nimoy’s early parts are now viewable on his Archive of American Television Interview page (see Featured Content)— watch these early roles and hear Leonard Nimoy discuss his early career here.

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