Popular black actress, Nichelle Nichols who played communications officer Lt. Uhura on the original “Star Trek” television series, has died at the age of 89.
She led the way for black women in TV by starring in the original Star Trek TV series.
Her role in the 1966-69 series as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura earned Nichols great respect from the show’s hardcore fans, known as Trekkers and Trekkies.
It also earned her accolades for breaking racial stereotypes and included an interracial onscreen kiss with co-star William Shatner that was unheard of at the time.
Her son Kyle Johnson said Nichols died Saturday in Silver City, New Mexico.
“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,” Johnson wrote on her official Facebook page Sunday.
“Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”
Nichols made history with one of the first interracial kisses on US television — a 1968 embrace shared with Shatner (a kiss deemed worthy of a separate entry in Wikipedia).
Martin Luther King Jr. himself once praised Nichols, who broke ground with her powerful performance at a time when Black actors more often were cast as servants or criminals.