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  1. #1
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    Nichelle Nichols, Trailblazing ‘Star Trek’ Actress, Dead at 89

    From RollingStone.com-
    Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played the groundbreaking role of Nyota Uhura on the original Star Trek series, has died at the age of 89.
    Nichols’ son Kyle Johnson announced his mother’s death Sunday on her official website, writing that she died Saturday night from natural causes.
    “I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years,” Johnson wrote. “The light, however, like the ancient galaxies 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.”

    Nichols was one of the first African-American actresses to appear in a major primetime television role when she was cast to play the USS Enterprise’s chief communications officer Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on the original Star Trek series in 1966; two years earlier, Nichols appeared in a guest role on The Lieutenant, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s first TV series.

    “Lt. Uhura set the bar pretty high, and has the distinction of being a significant, integral black character at a time when that was virtually unheard in on television, let alone in sci-fi,” Rolling Stone wrote of Nichols’ character.

    Nichols’ presence on television was so trailblazing and important that Martin Luther King, Jr. dissuaded the actress, who wanted to go back to musical theater, from quitting the show after its first season. “He said that Star Trek was the only show that he, and his wife Coretta, would allow their three little children to stay up and watch,” Nichols said of her meeting with King, adding that he told her “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.”

    Nichols remained a passenger on the USS Enterprise for the pioneering series’ entire three-season run, including an episode where her character kissed William Shatner’s Capt. James Kirk, a moment that marked one of the first interracial kisses on television.
    After the show’s cancellation in 1969, Nichols remained in Star Trek’s orbit, appearing in the first six big-screen spinoffs of the franchise and voicing the Uhura character in a mid-Seventies animated series; the Uhura character was also featured in Star Trek‘s reboot, played by Zoe Saldana.
    Fittingly, Nichols also became an ambassador for NASA, spearheading an effort to bring more women and minorities into the space program. “That legacy continues into the modern astronaut corps, where sex and color no longer matter… as it should be,” Nichols told StarTrek.com in 2012. “I continue to be proud to have been chosen to make those first women [[including Dr. Sally Ride and Dr. Ronald McNair) and minorities a reality.”
    In 2012, Nichols was invited to meet President Barack Obama at the White House. “Obama was quoted as saying that he’d had a crush on me when he was younger,” Nichols wrote after the meeting. “I asked about that & he proudly confirmed it! President Obama also confirmed for me that he was definitely a Trekker! How wonderful is that?!”


    With Nichols’ death, William Shatner and George Takei are the only surviving members of the USS Enterprise’s original crew; actor Walter Koenig joined the cast in Star Trek‘s second season.
    “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, and who passed today at age 89,” Takai tweeted Sunday. “For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.”


    “People keep saying, ‘You’ve inspired women of color.’ ” Nichols told StarTrek.com in 2010. “And I say, ‘Yes, Black, white, yellow, brown, red and probably some with green blood and pointy ears!’ Gene’s brilliance was in casting people from all over the Earth, and an alien. It made everyone feel like they belonged. I wasn’t a Black communications officer. I was a communications officer who happened to be from Africa, who happened to have brown skin. So I have had women of all stripes tell me how Uhura inspired them to reach for the stars. I’ve had women who’ve named their children after Uhura, and even after Nichelle.”





  2. #2
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    As I posted on IG, she boldly went where no sister had gone before. Representation matters. Well done, Nichelle...sleep in peace.

  3. #3
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    What a sad day. Nichelle Nichols AND Bill Russell both passing? Two icons gone at a time when they're needed more than ever. May her family take comfort in the fact that she was loved by many. A great example for fans of the show, space science aficionados, and those who will remember her for breaking barriers. She will be missed.

  4. #4
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    Actor, activist, role model, singer . . . on and on.
    The lady did it all and with style. Smart, beautiful and talented she was literally one of a kind. Rest In Peace Nichelle Nichols. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

  5. #5
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    For levity: The woman slew as the madam Dorinda in Truck Turner! A foul-mouthed Uhura in a Blaxploitation flick?!?!!? NOBODY saw this coming. One word: range.


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    For levity: The woman slew as the madam Dorinda in Truck Turner! A foul-mouthed Uhura in a Blaxploitation flick?!?!!? NOBODY saw this coming. One word: range.

    That was breathtaking.

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