The pioneering actress who played Lt. Nyota Uhura for over three decades is being mourned around the planet.
On Sunday, her son Kyle Johnson said Nichelle Nichols, well known for her role as Nyota Uhura in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” has died at the age of 89 Saturday in Silver City, New Mexico.
Here’s what Kyle Johnson wrote in a post shared on social media Sunday afternoon:
“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,” he continued. “Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.”
Nichols was the first black woman to ever play a major role in a television series. She planned to leave after the show’s first season ended in 1966 but ultimately stayed after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. helped change her mind.
Nichols recalled telling King in an interview published decades later:
“‘You cannot, you cannot…for the first time on television, we will be seen as we should be seen every day, as intelligent, quality, beautiful, people who can sing dance, and can go to space, who are professors, lawyers. If you leave, that door can be closed because your role is not a black role, and is not a female role, he can fill it with anybody even an alien.’”
2. A statement from Nichelle Nichols’s son Kyle. pic.twitter.com/upx7S48cVn
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) July 31, 2022
Nichols was remembered by numerous high-profile fans in posts on social media.
George Takei tweeted:
We lived long and prospered together. pic.twitter.com/MgLjOeZ98X
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 31, 2022
One of my most treasured photos – Godspeed to Nichelle Nichols, champion, warrior and tremendous actor. Her kindness and bravery lit the path for many. May she forever dwell among the stars. #RIPNichelle #Uhura pic.twitter.com/nFXHif8HEC
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) July 31, 2022
Many actors become stars, but few stars can move a nation. Nichelle Nichols showed us the extraordinary power of Black women and paved the way for a better future for all women in media. Thank you, Nichelle. We will miss you. pic.twitter.com/KhUf4YM6pX
— Lynda Carter (@RealLyndaCarter) July 31, 2022
Nichols’ voice work included the animated series, Gargoyles and a gig in Spider-Man. She also voiced herself on Futurama.
The actress played the mother of Cuba Gooding Jr.’s lead character in 2002’s Snow Dogs and Miss Mable in the 2005 Ice Cube comedy Are We There Yet?
Nichols was married and divorced twice. She is survived by her son, Kyle Johnson.