Nichelle Nichols, who played communications officer Lt Nyota Uhura on the original
Star Trek series which helped to create a new era for television in the 1960s, has died
in New Mexico at the age of 89.
Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, announced her death on Sunday via Facebook, saying: “I
regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it
has for so many years.” Nichols’s death, on Saturday night in Silver City, was later
confirmed by her agent.
Johnson said his mother had succumbed to natural causes, seven years after suffered
“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.”
Nichols will be remembered chiefly for her role in the sci-fi adventure series, but she
began her career as a dancer and nightclub singer.
US president Joe Biden paid tribute to Nichols, saying she “shattered stereotypes”.
“Our nation has lost a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible
for Black Americans and women”.
“Our nation is forever indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who show us
a future where unity, dignity, and respect are cornerstones of every society.”
Co-star George Takei tweeted that his heart was heavy, “my eyes shining like the
stars you now rest among, my dearest friend” and he would have more to say soon on
the “incomparable” trailblazer.