Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura on ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 89


Another icon who greatly contributed to the success of Star Trek has left this world. Nichelle Nichols, best known for her role as Nyota Uhura on the original Trek series, died at 89. News of Nichols’s passing came via social media, and fans across the web are mourning the loss of the actress who broke barriers with her portrayal.

Nichelle Nichols’ death was confirmed through her Facebook page via a message from her son, Kyle Johnson. Johnson shared a heartfelt note about his mother’s passing and asked that fans respect their privacy during this time:

I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.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. 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. Live Long and Prosper.

As Uhura on Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols notably became one of the first Black women to be featured in a major television series. After the series’ cancellation, she reprised her role in the animated series and co-starred alongside William Shatner and others in six Trek movies (Paramount+ subscribers can check out most of her work as Uhura there).

Nichelle Nichols had many recurring roles in television as both a live-action and voice actor for shows like Futurama and The Young and the Restless. Nichols also served as a part of the Women In Motion project, which helped NASA recruit more women and minorities like Dr. Sally Ride into careers involving space.