Rest in the Stars, Nichelle Nichols

Reply Sun 31 Jul, 2022 02:14 pm
The actress was 89 and passed away yesterday.

Nichols was iconic (in an era when people abuse the term iconic all the time) for a lot of reasons.

Beyond being a woman of color on television who was not a maid, the character of Uhura was so important and so beloved that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a fan. When Nichols considered quitting, he personally convinced her to stay on, telling her that it was important for people to see her there—competent, smart, creative, loyal, and trustworthy.

And, of course, there's that kiss with Shatner in the Plato's Stepchildren episode, one of the first-ever interracial kisses on television.


The character has recently been reinterpreted by Zoe Saldana in the Kelvin timeline reboot films, and by Celia Rose Gooding in the new streaming show, Strange New Worlds.


Fly high, at any warp speed you want.
Reply Sun 31 Jul, 2022 02:30 pm
I didn't watch that many Star Trek episodes but I remember her. I agree with MLK; they need people like her in the public eye. RIP
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Region Philbis
Reply Sun 31 Jul, 2022 02:34 pm

one to beam up, Scotty... Sad
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Reply Sun 31 Jul, 2022 06:36 pm
She was also a recruiter and a champion of diversity for NASA.

Long after that "Star Trek" show concluded, Nichols pivoted to advocating for a more diverse astronaut corps that included women and other races, culminating in a NASA-funded campaign to recruit the first women and Black astronauts in the 1970s.

0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2022 05:19 am
on FB, George Takei wrote:
I have been truly moved by the tributes and messages honoring the life and work of Nichelle Nichols, our very own Lieutenant and later Commander Uhura on Star Trek. Although our original series ran only three seasons, we became bonded as the fans of our show organized, convened and ultimately pressed for movies and spin-offs of the groundbreaking show. Nichelle and I spent the following decades together as not only colleagues from the bridge of the Enterprise, but as lifelong friends.

Much has been said about what a trailblazer and role model Nichelle was for so many young Black women, who saw in her hope and promise for their own future. I wanted to take a moment to share some stories about Nichelle that aren’t as well known, and which highlight her lively spirit, her incredible kindness, and her warm generosity.

Our friendship began six decades ago, before Star Trek, when she came backstage after a performance of a civil rights musical I was doing called “Fly Blackbird” in Los Angeles. I will never forget that first meeting. She was stunningly beautiful. But beyond her beauty, she stood out. It was a time when many African American women “conked” their hair, which meant straightening it, as was the current fashion. Instead, Nichelle wore an enormous natural “Afro” sphere on her head. It was natural, it was proud, and it was glorious. I knew right then that she was a singular individual.

Back in the 1970s, after our series ended on television, I became active in local politics and even ran for city council in Los Ángeles. That required a lot of fundraising dinners and political campaigning, and I knew that I could always ask Nichelle to be our featured performer. She always donated her talent and made every event feel special and glamorous. Indeed, Nichelle made a point of being at every important milestone of mine that she could, including the opening of Allegiance just a few years ago on Broadway and later in Los Ángeles. As a trained stage actress, Nichelle knew how special such occasions were to us.

When my husband Brad and I got married, we asked Walter Koenig, who played ensign Chekov on the show, to be our best man at the wedding. We asked Nichelle to be our matron of honor. In her characteristic fashion, Nichelle declared, “I am not a matron! If Walter can be best man, why can’t I be best lady?” Noting that Walter’s “best man” title implied the awkward title of “best woman,” she was determined to be known as the “best lady” to the guests. I told her, “Of course you are.” I’m sharing a picture here of Nichelle, with us, as “best lady” on our happy day.

When my father passed away, Nichelle came to the funeral and she saw many Japanese Americans with envelopes. They were handing them over to a receptionist in the lobby. She was always a curious soul, so she asked me, “George, what are they bringing to the funeral?” I said it was friends and relatives making financial contributions to support the funeral costs. Nichelle had never heard of the Japanese tradition called koden. A few days later, an envelope arrived in the mail from her. Inside was a check for $500, a very generous koden.

So while fans will miss and honor the famous actress who opened so many paths with her presence on the screen, I will also miss the dear friend who always let you know she was there to support you, to love you, and to go through this strange and wonderful life alongside you. Nichelle Nichols, you were one in a million in so many, many ways.
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2022 06:59 am
@Region Philbis,

Very touching! Thanks for finding that and sharing it.
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2022 09:30 pm
I'm beginning to feel like an orphan, Rest In Peace Nichelle
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Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2022 11:48 am
@Region Philbis,
George Takei wrote:
Although our original series ran only three seasons. . .

It's hard to believe that the show lasted only three seasons given its popularity and influence.
Region Philbis
Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2022 12:25 pm

the movies, which started ten years after TOS ended, really helped to rekindle the franchise.

as did all the spinoff series on TV.

thirteen movies, eleven TV series, and counting...
Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2022 03:49 pm
@Region Philbis,
Yeah, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, fantastic follow-up to the series episode.

"'Admiral?' 'Admiral!' 'Admiral'. . ."
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