Nichelle Nichols, the iconic and legendary actress most known for playing Uhura in the Star Trek franchise, has died at the age of 89.
Her death was confirmed by Gilbert Bell, her talent manager and business partner of 15 years, Variety reports.
Initially debuting as Uhura on the original Star Trek series, she was one of the first Black actresses to play character on television that was not in a maid or in a service role.
Her son, Kyle Johnson, also confirmed her death on Facebook.
“I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years,” he wrote in part. Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. 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. I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.”
Initially debuting as Uhura on the original Star Trek series, she was one of the first Black actresses to play a character on television that was not in a maid or in a service role.
She reprised the character in tons of ‘Star Trek’ properties over the years.
These projects include Star Trek: The Motion Picture and six other films. She also appeared as Uhura in many television projects, including Star Trek: The Animated Series.
Nichols almost left 'Star Trek'
The actress pondered moving on from Star Trek and to head to Broadway, but she was famously convinced by Martin Luther King Jr. to stay on the show because of representation.
As a groundbreaking on-screen representation of Black people in science and space, she promoted NASA's programs and initiatives to people of color for years.
Outside of Star Trek, Nichols’ notable roles include Snow Dogs, Heroes and The Young and the Restless. The last time she appeared on film was in the Star Trek parody film Unbelievable!!!!! and on the television front, she was in an episode of ABC’s Downward Dog.
In 2021, she appeared at Star Trek events at San Diego Comic-Con.
Our thoughts are with Nichols’ family and all her loved ones at this time.