Friends and colleagues remember ''trailblazing, incomparable'' Nichelle Nichols

By: H&I Staff     Posted: August 1, 2022, 3:35PM

We recently lost Nichelle Nichols at the age of 89. The Lt. Uhura actress was an icon both on and off-screen, using her fame to advocate for civil rights and to encourage a more diverse group of astronauts at NASA. That's only the tip of the iceberg of her incredible life — that included visiting space herself, getting encouragement from Martin Luther King, Jr. and singing with Duke Ellington.

Yesterday, fans and friends alike took to the internet to share their memories and sentiments about the singer, actress and NASA employee.

"I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols," George Takei, who shared the bridge of the Enterprise with her as Hikaru Sulu, wrote on twitter. "For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend. We lived long and prospered together."

He isn't the only Sulu to voice his respect — John Cho, who played Sulu in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek said "Nichelle Nichols was a huge part of why Star Trek mattered so much to me."

William Shatner, who shared a history-making kiss with Nichols on Star Trek, said "I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle. 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."

Kate Mulgrew, Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager, wrote "Nichelle Nichols was The First. She was a trailblazer who navigated a very challenging trail with grit, grace, and a gorgeous fire we are not likely to see again."

"Nichelle was a singular inspiration. She’s the one who really opened my eyes to what Star Trek is and can be," said Alex Kurtzman. Kurtzman co-wrote the 2009 Trek movie and co-created Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. "I can’t tell you how many people have told me she’s the reason they became… an astronaut, a scientist, a writer, a linguist, an engineer… it goes on and on. We stand in her light and honor her today and every day. Thank you, dear Nichelle, for leading the way."

Perhaps the best way to end this is on the words of Celia Rose Gooding, who is the latest person to play Uhura (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds): "She made room for so many of us. She was the reminder that not only can we reach the stars, but our influence is essential to their survival. Forget shaking the table, she built it!"