‘Star Trek’ lead actress Nichelle Nichols passes away at 89. died at the age of

“Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, died of natural causes and passed away. Her light, however, like ancient galaxies is now being seen for the first time, for us and future generations to enjoy, learn, and enjoy. The inspiration will remain to be taken. “Her life was well lived and as such a model to all of us,” Johnson said in a statement shared on Nichols’ official site on Sunday.

Nichols died of natural causes, he said.

Nichols portrayed communications officer Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the “Star Trek” TV series and several of its film branches.

When “Star Trek” debuted in 1966, Nichols was a television rarity: a black woman in a notable role in a prime-time television series. The first were African-American women on TV, but they often played domestic workers and had minor roles; Nichols’ Uhura was an integral part of the multicultural “Star Trek” crew.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called it “the first non-stereotypical role portrayed by a black woman in television history”.

Nichols is widely known for participating in one of the first interracial kisses on American television, when her character kissed James T. Kirk, portrayed by White Canadian actor William Shatner. In an interview with CNN in 2014, Nichols said that the kiss scene “changed television forever, and it changed the way people saw each other.”

After three seasons of “Trek” running, Nichols devoted himself to the space program. She helped NASA make the agency more diverse, recruiting astronauts Sally Ride, Judith Resnick and Gionn Bluford.

George Takei, who portrayed Hikaru Sulu, helm of the USS Enterprise, posted a touching tribute to his co-star.

“I must say more about the trailblazing, incomparable Nickel Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lieutenant Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed away today at the age of 89,” Takei wrote on Twitter. “For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes are shining like the stars in the midst of which you are now resting, my dear friend.”

“Long live and prosper together,” he saluted the iconic Vulcan, alongside a photo of the pair.

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The National Air and Space Museum called Nichols “an inspiration to many, not only for her phenomenal work on Star Trek but also through her work with NASA for applying to women and people of color to become astronauts.” ” on Twitter.
Stacy Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, also paid tribute to the actress. “Godspeed to Nickel Nichols, champion, warrior and tremendous actor,” wrote Abrams With a picture of himself with Nichols on Twitter, “His kindness and bravery paved the way for many. May he always reside among the stars.”

Nichols was born Grace Dale Nichols near Chicago in 1932. (Unhappy with Grace, he took the name Nickel when he was a teenager.) His grandfather was a White Southerner who married a black woman, causing a rift in their family.

Blessed with a four-octave vocal range, Nichols was performing in local clubs by the age of 14. Among the artists she met was Duke Ellington, who later took her on tour. He also worked extensively in Chicago clubs and theatre.

She moved to Los Angeles in the early 60s and landed a role in the Gene Roddenberry series, “The Lieutenant.” Several “Star Trek” veterans also starred on the show, including Leonard Nimoy, Walter Koenig, and Majel Barrett.

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

“(My agent said), ‘They’re doing ‘Star Trek,’ and I didn’t know what ‘Star Trek’ was,” she said in an interview with the Television Academy.

Uhura was not in the original script, and Nicholas was responsible for the name. She was reading a book called “Uhuru” – “Freedom” in Swahili – and suggested she name her character. Roddenberry thought it was too harsh.

“I said, ‘Well, why don’t you make a variation of that, soften the ending with ‘a,’ and it’ll be Uhura?’ “He remembered. “They said, ‘That’s it, that’s your name! You named it, it’s yours.’ ,

Nichols is survived by his son Kyle Johnson.