Pioneering ‘Star Trek’ actor Nichelle Nichols dies at 89

“Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. However, her light, like this ancient galaxy, was now seen for the first time. will remain for us and for generations to come. Go to enjoy, learn from, and get inspired. Johnson said in a statement shared with Nichols’ official website on Sunday. “She’s living a good life and being a role model for all of us.”

Nichols died of natural causes, he said.

Nichols portrayed communications officer Lt. Lt. Nyota Uhura in the TV series “Star Trek” and several other feature films.

When “Star Trek” began in 1966, Nichols was a rare television: a black woman who featured prominent roles in prime-time television series. There have been African-American women on TV before. But they tend to tackle housework and minor roles. Nichols’ Uhura is a key part of the multicultural “Star Trek” crew.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s earnings call it “the first non-traditional role played by a black woman in television history.”

Nichols is widely known for participating in the first interracial kiss on US television. When her character kisses James T. Kirk, played by white Canadian actor William Shatner, in an interview with CNN in 2014, Nichols said the kissing scene “Change television forever. It also changes the way people see each other.”

After running three seasons of “Trek’s,” Nichols devoted herself to the space program. She helped NASA to make the agency more diverse. by helping recruit astronauts Sally Ride, Judith Resnik and Guion Bluford, among others.

George Takei, who plays Hikaru Zulu, the warship captain of the USS Enterprise, posted an impressive message praising his co-star.

“I will say more about the unrivaled pioneer Nichelle Nichols, who joined us on the bridge as Lieutenant Uhura of the USS Enterprise and who died today at the age of 89.” Write Takei on Twitter. “For today my heart is heavy My eyes sparkle like the stars that you now rest. my dear friend.”

“We have lived long and prospered together,” he added, along with a photo of the newlyweds paying their respects to the iconic Vulcan.

The National Air and Space Museum called Nichols “inspiring to many, not only for her groundbreaking work on Star Trek, but also for her work with NASA to recruit women and people to have skin color to apply to become an astronaut.” on Twitter.
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic governor’s nominee in Georgia, also posted a tribute to the actress. “God bless Nichelle Nichols, a great champion, warrior and performer,” Abrams wrote. On Twitter with a picture of himself and Nichols.“Her kindness and courage have been a guiding light for many people. May you always be among the stars.”

Nichols was born Grace Dell Nichols near Chicago in 1932 (not happy with Grace, she took the name Nichelle as a teenager). Her grandfather was a white Southerner who married a black woman, causing a rift in his family.

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Nichols performed in a local club at the age of 14 with a four-octave sound range. Among the performers she met was Duke Ellington, who later took her on tour. She has also worked extensively in Chicago clubs and in the theater.

She moved to Los Angeles in the early 60s and landed a role in the Gene Roddenberry series “The Lieutenant.” A number of “Star Trek” veterans, including Leonard Nimoy, Walter Koenig and Majel Barrett, worked. in this list as well

When Roddenberry was making “Trek,” he remembered Nichols. She was in Europe when she got the call.

“(My rep said) ‘They’re doing ‘Star Trek’ and I don’t know what ‘Star Trek’ is,” she said in an interview with the Institute of Television.

Uhura was not in the original script and Nichols was responsible for the title. She is reading a book called “Uhuru” or “Freedom” in Swahili. and suggesting that her character go by that name, Roddenberry thought it was too harsh.

“I said, ‘Well, why don’t you fix it? Soften the ending with ‘A’ and it will be Uhura? “She remembered. “He said, ‘That’s your name! you name it It’s yours.’ ”

Nichols is survived by her son Kyle Johnson.

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