Stars react to Nichelle Nichols' death: 'Trailblazing, incomparable'

A number of Hollywood stars and public figures have paid tribute to "Star Trek" actress Nichelle Nichols after she passed away at the age of 89. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI
1 of 5 | A number of Hollywood stars and public figures have paid tribute to "Star Trek" actress Nichelle Nichols after she passed away at the age of 89. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Hollywood stars and public figures have penned tributes to Nichelle Nichols following the death of the trailblazing Star Trek actress.

Nichols passed away Sunday in Silver City, N.M., at the age of 89, according to her son Kyle Johnson.


"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 said in a statement on Nichols' website. "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."

The Robbins, Ill., native was best known for her starring role as Lt. Nyota Uhura on the original Star Trek: The Original Series.


The role would propel Nichols to fame and make her one of the first Black women to star in a TV series.

After her death was announced, numerous actors from Star Trek paid tribute on social media.

"I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle," tweeted co-star William Shatner, who played the lead role of Captain James T. Kirk on the show. "She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world. I will certainly miss her."

Nichols and Shatner would share one of the first interracial kisses on television in 1968, at a time when societal changes and the civil rights movement were at their peak.


Another Star Trek co-star, George Takei -- himself a trailblazer for Asian-American actors -- also put out a short statement on Twitter. He added that he would have more to say at a later date.

"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," Takei tweeted. "For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend."

Takei also shared a picture of him with Nichols saying that they "lived long and prospered together," referencing the famous catchphrase from Star Trek.

Adam Nimoy, whose father, the late Leonard Nimoy, starred as the U.S.S. Enterprise's officer Spock, shared a photo of his dad with Nichols on the Star Trek set.

"My favorite photo of Dad and Nichelle Nichols on set," Nimoy tweeted. "The importance of Nichelle's legacy cannot be over-emphasized. She was much loved and will be missed."

Others beyond the Star Trek world paid tribute to Nichols as well.

Lynda Carter, best known for her portrayal of superhero Wonder Woman in the 1970s TV show of the same name, tweeted of Nichols, "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," Carter said.

President Joe Biden called Nichols "a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women."


"With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries," the president said in a statement. "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."

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