Nichelle Nichols, who starred in the original Star Trek as Lt. Nyota Uhura, has died at the age of 89, according to The Wrap. Nichols’ death was reported by her son Kyle Johnson. Johnson wrote on her official Facebook page, “Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away.” Johnson continued by saying that those who knew Nichols must continue to draw from the inspiration she gave to those around her.
Once Nichols’ death was announced, her co-workers began tweeting their condolences for Nichols. George Takei (Mulan), Nichols’ co-star on Star Trek, tweeted, “Today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend,” according to The Wrap. Later followed tweets by those inspired by Nichols, such as the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia, Stacey Abrams, “Godspeed to Nichelle Nichols, champion, warrior and a tremendous actor.”
I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89. For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 31, 2022
Nichols was beloved by many as she made her mark on society with her role as Uhura on Star Trek. Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura was the first black woman to play a leading cast role in a television series, according to The Warp. After Nichols met with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at an NAACP event in 1966, she decided to continue her role as Uhura in Star Trek for the upcoming second season. Nichols made history with her decision to continue with the series as Star Trek influenced those mindsets in the ongoing civil rights movement. Nichols’ role was a significant accomplishment for the civil rights activist community.
One of my most treasured photos – Godspeed to Nichelle Nichols, champion, warrior and tremendous actor. Her kindness and bravery lit the path for many. May she forever dwell among the stars. #RIPNichelle #Uhura pic.twitter.com/nFXHif8HEC
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) July 31, 2022
Once the Star Trek series was put to rest after the third season, Nichols Starred as Uhura again on Star Trek: The Animated Series in 1973 and 1974, according to The Wrap. Nichols made Uhura a notable character in Star Trek and its sequels as a black woman who is brave and composed, as actress Nichols was herself.
After her acting career Nichols used her fame to assist NASA’s astronaut program for women and people of color, which created a partnership with NASA and Nichols’ science foundation and Women in Motion, according to The Wrap.
Nichols’s goal was to bring about diversity to the world around her, which she accomplished until she last appeared publicly in December during Los Angeles Comic Con, according to The Wrap.