Trailblazing ‘Star Trek’ star Nichelle Nichols, who was the first black woman to be cast in a main role on television, has died at 89.
“Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away,” her son Kyle Johnson said in a statement on Sunday. “Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration. Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”
According to Fox News, the elderly actress had a stroke in 2015 and suffered from dementia in recent years. Nichol’s declining health didn’t do much to slow down her career, she shot three titles in 2020 and has three films still slated for release posthumously.
Nichols broke boundaries as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura during the original William Shatner starrer’s three season run from 1966 to 1969. She reprised the role in each of the six follow-up movies that spanned from 1979 to 1991.
The extended ‘Star Trek’ universe mourned the loss of their groundbreaking co-star. Captain Kirk actor William Shatner posted that “She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world. I will certainly miss her.”
Fellow original ‘Star Trek’ castmate George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu, wrote that he and Nichols “lived long and prospered together.”
“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,” he captioned a photo of them both giving a Vulcan Salute at a fan convention. “For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.”
We lived long and prospered together. pic.twitter.com/MgLjOeZ98X
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 31, 2022
“Nichelle Nichols was The First. She was a trailblazer who navigated a very challenging trail with grit, grace, and a gorgeous fire we are not likely to see again. May she Rest In Peace,” added “Star Trek: Voyager” captain Kate Mulgrew.