Death of Nichelle Nichols sparks tributes from Star Trek stars

George Takei and JJ Abrams joined the main characters of the “Star Trek” franchise to pay tribute to Nichelle Nichols. The actress, who portrayed the able and commanding Enterprise crewman Nyota Uhura, died Saturday night at the age of 89. Nichols portrayed Uhura in the original series and the first six “Trek” films. She also voiced the character in Star Trek: The Animated Series.

“Last night my mother, Nichelle Nichols, died of natural causes,” Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, wrote in a statement on the actress’ official Facebook page. “However, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, their light will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from and be inspired by. Her life was well lived and as such a role model for all of us.”

Nichols’ “Star Trek” co-star George Takei, who portrayed Hikaru Sulu in the original series and films, was one of the first voices to pay tribute to the actress.

“I’ll have more to say about the groundbreaking, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who served as Lt. Uhura from the USS Enterprise shared the bridge with us,” Takei wrote. “For today my heart is heavy, my eyes shine like the stars under which you now rest, my dearest friend.”

Celia Rose Gooding, who plays Uhura in the new Paramount+ series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, paid tribute to the actress who created the role.

Georgian politician and die-hard “Trek” fan Stacey Abrams shared a photo of her and Nichols, praising the star as a “champion, warrior and great actor.”

“Star Trek: Voyager” star Kate Mulgrew called Nichols a “pioneer who walked a very challenging path with courage, grace and a beautiful fire that we’re unlikely to see again.”

JJ Abrams, who directed the 2009 reboot of Star Trek and the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, called Nichols “a remarkable woman in a remarkable role.”

Marina Sirtis, who portrayed Counselor Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its four feature film adaptations, explained that Nichols “opened the door for the rest of us.”

Lynda Carter, who portrayed Wonder Woman in the 1970s DC Comics television series, shared that Nichols “showed us the extraordinary power of black women and paved the way for a brighter future for all women in media.”

Alex Kurtzman, who serves as senior executive producer on the ongoing “Star Trek” shows for Paramount+, called Nichols a “unique inspiration” and spoke of the countless people he’s met who see the actress as inspiration for a career in science, writing, education and entertainment.

See more tributes to Nichols below: Death of Nichelle Nichols sparks tributes from Star Trek stars

Charles Jones

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