- Press Release
- September 24, 2022
Leonard and Susan Nimoy Donate $1 Million to Griffith Observatory Renovation
Friends Of The Observatory
(FOTO) is honored to announce a gift of $1 million toward the
renovation and expansion of Griffith Observatory by actor Leonard
Nimoy and his wife Susan Bay Nimoy. The first major donation
from individuals to the Observatory’s capital campaign, the Nimoy’s
contribution adds to the nearly $42 million in funds raised to
date for the project. At a cost of $63 million, the 2002 ?
2004 renovation and expansion project will be partially funded
by voter-approved city and county bond measures, as well as contributions
from other individuals, corporations, foundations, and the State
Nimoy is best known for his Emmy-nominated role as Mr. Spock
in the television and film versions of “Star Trek”,
though he is also a highly regarded director, photographer, and
poet. Susan Bay Nimoy has had a career as an actress, director,
producer, and community activist, and serves on the Board of the
Museum of Contemporary Art.
They both share a rare commitment to public astronomy and education,
which led FOTO and the City to name the new lecture hall in the
renovated and expanded Observatory the “Leonard Nimoy
Event Horizon” in honor of their contributions. Located
in the new lower level, this 200-seat, 2700 square foot auditorium
will provide a modern venue for lectures, demonstrations and a
variety of other activities, and will compliment the programming
offered in the Planetarium Theater upstairs.
“By observing the sky and pondering our place in the universe,
people gain a new perspective on their daily lives,” said
Leonard Nimoy. “Griffith Observatory gives its visitors
that opportunity. It is a Los Angeles icon, one which we need
to ensure will be here for generations to come.”
“Like so many people in this area, we recognize what a
powerful resource the Observatory is for the community,”
added Susan Nimoy. “When we learned of the plans for renovation
and expansion, Leonard and I agreed that we wanted to make a substantial
commitment, both personally and financially, to the project.
I hope that our participation will encourage others to become
“We are so appreciative of the Nimoy’s generous donation
to our capital campaign,” commented FOTO President, Joy Picus.
“Leonard and Susan appreciate what Griffith Observatory has
meant to the public since 1935 and why this renovation and expansion
are so badly needed.” Added Griffith Observatory Director
Dr. Edwin C. Krupp, “As they have done before, the Nimoys
are providing leadership for an important civic institution.
We are overwhelmed by their incredible generosity and sense of
Hardy, Holzman, Pfeiffer Associates (HHPA) in association with
Levin and Associates, are the architects for the renovation, restoration
and expansion of the building, working together with the City
and FOTO to help renew one of Los Angeles’s most beloved landmarks.
By excavating under a portion of the front lawn, Griffith Observatory
will more than double its size, without affecting the classic
exterior. In addition to the new “Leonard Nimoy Event
Horizon” theater, project plans include extensive new
exhibit areas, renovation of existing exhibit halls, an expanded
bookstore, a new on-site food service, and an improved, state-of-the-art
planetarium theater. Construction is set to begin in May 2002
and should be complete in late 2004.
Opened in 1935, Griffith Observatory is one of the best known
and most visited public observatories in the world. Operated
by the City of Los Angeles’s Department of Recreation and Parks,
the Observatory has welcomed over 67 million visitors into the
Hall of Science in its nearly 66 years of operation. Access to
the Hall of Science and the rooftop telescope is free until 10
p.m. each night the Observatory is open, while high-quality planetarium
shows are offered for a minimal fee.
FRIENDS OF THE OBSERVATORY (FOTO)
Friends Of The Observatory (FOTO) is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3)
membership organization established to support and promote Griffith
Observatory. FOTO members value the Observatory for its contributions
to education, science, and public astronomy. As a community support
group, FOTO offers numerous benefits to members and assists in
the development of the Observatory. Currently, one of FOTO’s
primary goals is to support the renovation and expansion of the
Observatory, so that it continues to provide the nearly 2 million
visitors and 50,000 schoolchildren annually with high quality
astronomical and scientific information and programs, and remains
an internationally recognizable icon of Los Angeles.