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Nichelle Nichols: An undefeated journey of greatness

The ‘Star Trek’ star went where no black actress had gone before

It was just over a year ago when a message appeared on legendary Star Trek star Nichelle Nichols’ Facebook page, alerting her fans that she’d suffered a mild stroke in her home.

Less than two weeks after the incident, the now 83-year-old actress appeared on Entertainment Tonight with host Nischelle Turner for an interview in the star’s home, where she assured the public she was OK.

“I’ve always felt from a little girl, if you deny it, it will go away,” she said of recovering from her stroke. “I am as wild and woolly as I have ever been.”

Best known for playing Lt. Uhura, the communications officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise on the original 1960s television series, Nichols is still making her rounds and stays relevant. She has not missed a beat since her stroke. She’s been on the scene working and still showing love to her fans and friends.

Actors Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols attend the premiere of"Star Trek: Renegades" held at Crest Westwood on August 1, 2015 in Westwood, California.

Actors Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols attend the premiere of the Star Trek: Renegades web series, held at Crest Westwood on August 1, 2015, in Westwood, California.

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

On June 22, Nichols suited up in Trekkie gear and made an appearance on the Star Trek: Renegades web series. After leaving the set, she was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 42nd annual Saturn Awards. The Saturn Awards organization is the official awards group of The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. The academy was founded in 1972 and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

“I’m getting into a familiar looking costume here on the set of Star Trek: Renegades. Stay tuned for some more from the shoot,” she said.

Nichelle Nichols Renegade

On June 24, the star posted on her Facebook page and her Starpower page that she met up with her friend and actress, Barbara Eden.

“I’m at Fanboy Expo in Knoxville, Tennessee, this weekend! I met up with actress and dear friend Barbara Eden of I Dream of Genie. I haven’t seen her in ages,” she posted. “I’ve got so many pictures to share from these past few days once I get the time to go through them.”

Nichelle Nichols and Barbara Eden

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., Nichols played “the first non-stereotypical role portrayed by a black woman in television history.” She performed the first interracial kiss on national television, and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992. She published her autobiography Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories in 1994.

Nichols still volunteers some of her time with a NASA campaign that recruits minority and female personnel. She has continued to appear in various television and film roles.


Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.