Image of The Crest Theater with a billboard for 'Three Men and a Baby' - photo courtesy of the Ronald W. Mahan Collection

Leonard Nimoy’s Los Angeles Legacy

Let’s embark on a cosmic journey through the star-studded legacy of actor and philanthropist Leonard Nimoy. From his iconic role as Spock in Star Trek to his numerous charitable projects, Nimoy's impact stretches far across the galaxy– including right here in Los Angeles. 

Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater at Griffith Observatory

First stop: Griffith Observatory. Inside the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater, you can embark on a virtual journey through time and space. The theater offers free public events and daily film screenings, including showings of the short film The Once and Future Griffith Observatory, narrated by Leonard Nimoy himself. This Los Angeles landmark serves as a celestial sanctuary, inspiring wonder and contemplation among patrons of all ages.

“By observing the sky and pondering our place in the universe, people gain a new perspective on their daily lives.” — Leonard Nimoy

UCLA’s Nimoy Theater

Next up: let’s explore the newly renovated Nimoy Theater, CAP UCLA’s tribute to Leonard Nimoy and home for the exploration and the expression of live performance.

Situated in the vibrant Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, The Nimoy is a 299-seat flexible performing arts venue with a distinct art deco style. The theater originally opened in 1940 as the UCLAN Theater. The space was intended for live performances and movie screenings, but this vision was quickly abandoned during the upheaval of World War II. During the war, the theater was used as a community hub where citizens would gather for newsreel screenings and neighborhood camaraderie.

Black and white photo the UCLAN Theater - from the collections of the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Photo from the collections of Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

In the decades that followed, The Nimoy changed ownership many times– it has been operated under several names including the Crest Theatre, Loew’s Crest, and Metro Theatre. During this time the space was largely used for film screenings and premieres. Fun fact: The Crest was one of the first venues in the US to show Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic Dr. Strangelove.

In the late 1980s, theater designer Joseph Musil restored the Crest with an Art Deco-inspired renovation. Musil added several stylized murals of Hollywood and Westwood landmarks that are still visible today.

Image of the 1985 Crest Theater marquee being worked on
Photo courtesy of the Ronald W. Mahan Collection

Fast forward to October 2018, a pivotal moment for The Nimoy. Thanks to the generosity of Leonard Nimoy’s wife, Susan Nimoy, UCLA assumed ownership of the venue after it had been closed for several years, marking a new chapter in its storied history. 

Following an extensive refurbishment, The Nimoy proudly reopened its doors in September 2023, rechristened in honor of Leonard Nimoy’s legacy. The Nimoy’s transformation not only pays homage to a cultural luminary, but also reaffirms the theater's commitment to providing an exceptional artistic experience for patrons, blending tradition with modernity in a beautifully designed Art Deco-inspired space.

Interested in visiting this LA landmark? You can learn more about The Nimoy or explore our calendar of upcoming events.

Leonard Nimoy’s Lasting Legacy

The Nimoy Theater at UCLA and the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater are just two examples of recent cultural tributes to Leonard Nimoy. The next time you find yourself in the City of Angels, be sure to pay homage to one of sci-fi's greatest legends. Here's to Leonard Nimoy— may his memory continue to inspire us to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Photo of The Nimoy lobby's interior front entrance, including the 'Live Long And Prosper' sign above the doors