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Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: December 28, 1932 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Robbins, Illinois, USA Profession: actor, singer, consultant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An accomplished singer, dancer and actress, Nichelle Nichols was irrevocably associated with Starfleet communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura, the character she created on the seminal science fiction series "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69). Having toured with the likes of Count Basie and performed on the stages of Chicago and New York, Nichols became a cultural icon when she took on the role of Uhura in the racially charged atmosphere of 1960s America. Unhappy with her status on "Star Trek," she had been ready to leave the show until Martin Luther King, Jr. convinced Nichols that her role was breaking important new ground and served as an inspiration to millions. His intuition was correct, as years later, people as diverse as Dr. Mae Jemison - the first African-American woman in space - and comedienne Whoopi Goldberg would cite Nichols as a major influence on their lives. In the mid-to-late 1970s, the multi-talented actress began providing consulting services for NASA as a recruiter of more diverse candidates for the space program. More visible to fans, Nichols reprised the role of Uhura in a series of hit feature films that continued the franchise a full decade after the original series had been canceled....

An accomplished singer, dancer and actress, Nichelle Nichols was irrevocably associated with Starfleet communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura, the character she created on the seminal science fiction series "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69). Having toured with the likes of Count Basie and performed on the stages of Chicago and New York, Nichols became a cultural icon when she took on the role of Uhura in the racially charged atmosphere of 1960s America. Unhappy with her status on "Star Trek," she had been ready to leave the show until Martin Luther King, Jr. convinced Nichols that her role was breaking important new ground and served as an inspiration to millions. His intuition was correct, as years later, people as diverse as Dr. Mae Jemison - the first African-American woman in space - and comedienne Whoopi Goldberg would cite Nichols as a major influence on their lives. In the mid-to-late 1970s, the multi-talented actress began providing consulting services for NASA as a recruiter of more diverse candidates for the space program. More visible to fans, Nichols reprised the role of Uhura in a series of hit feature films that continued the franchise a full decade after the original series had been canceled. "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979), "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (1982) and four more entries, completed the adventures of the original crew, much to the delight of "Trekkies" the world over. An example to her former co-stars, Nichols gracefully managed to both embrace her "Star Trek" fame and move beyond it, eternally grateful to her loyal fans, while constantly looking forward to new creative horizons.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Tru Loved (2008)
3.
 Surge of Power (2006)
4.
 Are We There Yet? (2005) Cast
5.
 Snow Dogs (2002) Amelia Brooks
6.
 Trekkies (1997)
8.
10.
 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) Nytoba Uhura
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began her singing career at age 16 with Duke Ellington in a ballet she created for one of his musical suites; later sang with his band
:
Toured as a singer through the United States, Canada and Europe; worked for Lionel Hampton's band
1964:
Met Gene Roddenberry when she acted on a series he was producing, "The Lieutenant" (date approximate)
1965:
First notable feature film role, in "Mr. Buddwing"
1967:
Played featured role of Lt. Uhura on NBC science-fiction series, "Star Trek"
1979:
First reprised the role of Lt. Uhura in features with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and five subsequent sequels through "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (1991)
1986:
Portrayed a leading role in the feature film, "The Supernaturals"
2002:
Had supporting role as the mother of a dogsled racer (played by Cuba Gooding Jr) in "Snow Dogs"
2005:
Appeared in the comedy "Are We There Yet?" which starred Ice Cube
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Nichols's ancestry is a blend of African, Spanish, Welsh and Cherokee Indian heritages.

Nichols has twice been nominated for the Sarah Siddons Award as Best Actress for her stage performances in "Kicks and Company" and Jean Genet's "The Blacks".

Nichols has her own consulting firm, Women in Motion, Inc. and has produced and starred in a promotional film for the Smithsonian Institute's National Air and Space Museum entitled "What's in It for Me?"

Lt. Uhura's first name is Nytoba.

An episode of "Star Trek" in which powerful, will-controlling aliens forced members of the Enterprise crew to perform romantic and clowning skits for them caused a controversy and was banned in several parts of the U.S. because it featured what was perhaps primetime TV's first sensual interracial kiss (between Nichols and co-star William Shatner).

Nichols has recorded an album of songs entitled "Uhura Sings" and a video album entitled "Futuretrekkin' with Nichelle Nichols".

Nicholas is a board of directors member to the National Space Institute.

Nicholas is also a board of directors member to the National Space Society.

She is a recipient of the NASA's Distinguished Public Service Award, for her efforts in helping bring women and minorities into the astronaut corps (1984)

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Gene Roddenberry. TV series creator.
husband:
Foster Johnson. Dancer. Abandoned Nichols.

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Thomas Alva Nichols. Committed suicide with 38 other members of the Heaven's Gate in March 1997.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Beyond Uhura"

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