The Illinois native was one of the first Black actors to play a major role on TV. RIP.
The Star Trek community is mourning the loss of a hero today (July 31) – 89-year-old Nichelle Nichols, who passed away this weekend due to natural causes, according to her son.
In a statement shared on Sunday, Kyle Johnson wrote, “I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.”
Nichelle Nichols in 2021 — Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images
“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.”
Concluding his message, Kyle said to readers, “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.”
Nichols was best known for playing the role of Lt. Uhura, and she made history in doing so by becoming one of the first Black actors to play a major role on television.
On top of that, she and co-star William Shatner broke boundaries as the first Black female and white male Americans to share a kiss on TV.
Aside from her time spent filming beyond the Galactic Barrier, Nichols contributed her voice acting skills to titles like The Simpsons, Futurama, and Batman: The Animated Series. She also appeared in The Young and the Restless, Heroes, Are We There Yet? and Snow Dogs, among other projects.
RIP Nichelle Nichols.