Leading ‘Star Trek’ actress Nickel Nichols has died at the age of 89.
Her role as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on the bridge of the show’s starship was seen as an unprecedented representation of black Americans in Hollywood.
He died Saturday (30.07.22), his son Kyle Johnson confirmed via Instagram on Sunday (31.07.22): “Last night, my mother, Nickel Nichols, died of natural causes and passed away .
“Their light however, like the ancient galaxies now being observed for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and inspire.
“His life was well lived and as such a model for all of us.”
Nickel rose to prominence when he was cast as the ship’s communications officer for 1966’s ‘Star Trek’.
It was one of the first major roles of a black woman in an American television series and one of the first depictions of a black woman in a military-style command role in any format.
This later resulted in one of the first on-screen kisses between a white actor, William Shatner, and a black co-star.
Nickel was reportedly persuaded by the legendary civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to remain in the role.
He reprized the role of Lieutenant Uhura in several “Star Trek” films, including “The Search for Spock”.
The actress partnered with NASA to recruit more women and candidates of color to its astronaut and science programs.
This campaign led to the recruitment of the first American female astronaut, Sally Ride.
In her later years, she met fans and appeared at Los Angeles Comic Con in 2021.