CAST members of the original Star Trek series have come forth to pay tribute to Nichelle Nichols, who became a cultural icon for her role as communications officer Uhura on the Star Trek original series and film franchise from 1966 to 1991.
Co-star George Takei who portrayed Hikaru Sulu on the Trek series was among the first to voice out his adoration. “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,” tweeted Takei.
“For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.”
William Shatner, who shared one of the first interracial kisses on screen with Nichols, also paid tribute to her.
“She was a beautiful woman and played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US and throughout the world,” Shatner wrote. “I will certainly miss her. Sending my love and condolences to her family.”
In addition to the original cast, the new actress who plays Uhura in the new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds television series also thanked her for paving the way.
Celia Rose Gooding wrote on social media: “She made room for so many of us. She was the reminder that not only can we reach the stars, but our influence is essential to their survival. Forget shaking the table, she built it! #RIPNichelleNichols.”
The most heartfelt tribute came from her son, Kyle Johnson. In an official statement, he wrote: “Her 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. Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”
Apart from playing Uhura, Nichols also worked on recruiting diverse astronauts (women and ethnic minorities) into NASA’s space programmes.