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Nichelle Nichols: ‘Repeater’ actress who played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek dies | Ents & Arts News

Actor Nichelle Nichols, who found worldwide fame and led the way for black women in television with her role on the original Star Trek television series, has died.

Her son, Kyle Johnson, said she died Saturday in Silver City, New Mexico. She was 89.

Her role in the 1966-69 series as Lt. Nyota Uhura earned Nichols much respect from the show’s hardcore fans, known as Trekkers and Trekkies.

It also won her accolades for breaking racial stereotypes and featured an interracial on-screen kiss with co-star William Shatner that was unheard of at the time.

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Photo: AP

“Last night my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away,” Kyle wrote on his Facebook page.

“However, its light, 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 from.”

“Her life was well lived and such a model for us all.”

Star Trek co-star George Takei tweeted: “I’ll have more to say about the pioneering, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who died today at the age of 89.

“For today my heart is heavy, my eyes shine like the stars among which you now rest, my dearest friend.”

Die Crew des Raumschiff Enterprise Walter Koenig (lr), George Takei, Deforest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, William Shatner, James Doohan and Leonard Nimoy in einer Szene des Films "Star Trek VI", Enterprise (Archivfoto aus dem Jahr 1992). Der «Mr. Spock»-Darsteller Leonard Nimoy has been handed over to the New York Times for transfer. Photo by: Paramount/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
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Nichols pictured with George Takei, DeForest Kelly, William Shatner, James Doohan and Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek VI Enterprise. Photo: Associated Press

NASA employee

Like other members of the original cast, Nichols also appeared in six big-screen spinoffs, beginning in 1979 with Star Trek: The Movie, and attended Star Trek fan conventions.

She also served for many years as a NASA recruitment specialist, helping to attract minorities and women to the astronaut corps.

The main message of the original Star Trek to viewers was that in the distant future – the 23rd century – human diversity would be fully accepted.

“I think a lot of people took it to heart … that what was being said on television at the time was cause for celebration,” Nichols said in 1992.

She often recalled how Martin Luther King Jr. was a fan of the series and praised her role. She met him at a civil rights rally in 1967, at a time when she had decided not to return for the show’s second season.

“When I told him I was going to miss my co-stars and was leaving the show, he got very serious and said, ‘You can’t do this,'” she told a newspaper in 2008.

“You changed the face of television forever, and therefore you changed people’s minds,” she said the civil rights leader told her.

“That foresight of Dr. King was a lightning bolt in my life,” Nichols said.

Nichelle Nichols: ‘Repeater’ actress who played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek dies | Ents & Arts News

Source link Nichelle Nichols: ‘Repeater’ actress who played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek dies | Ents & Arts News

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