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George Takei says Nichelle Nichols wanted to be “best lady” at his wedding.
The ‘Star Trek’ actor reminisced about the time he asked his co-star – who died aged 89 on Sunday (31.07.22) – to be the matron of honour at his 2008 wedding to his husband, Brad Altman but the actress had other ideas.
In a Facebook post, a follow up to his original tribute to the trailblazing television star, the 85-year-old actor wrote: “When my husband Brad and I got married, we asked Walter Koenig, who played ensign Chekov on the show, to be our best man at the wedding. We asked Nichelle to be our matron of honour. In her characteristic fashion, Nichelle declared, ‘I am not a matron! If Walter can be best man, why can’t I be best lady?’ Noting that Walter’s “best man” title implied the awkward title of “best woman,” she was determined to be known as the “best lady” to the guests. I told her, ‘Of course you are’.”
George also remarked how “truly moved” he was by the outpouring of love and tributes to Nichelle, a “lifelong” pal of his.
He also wrote: “I have been truly moved by the tributes and messages honouring the life and work of Nichelle Nichols, our very own Lieutenant and later Commander Uhura on Star Trek. Although our original series ran only three seasons, we became bonded as the fans of our show organised, convened and ultimately pressed for movies and spin-offs of the groundbreaking show. Nichelle and I spent the following decades together as not only colleagues from the bridge of the Enterprise, but as lifelong friends.”
He continued, noting what she meant to “so many young Black women” for her work on the 60s sci-fi series.
George added: “Much has been said about what a trailblazer and role model Nichelle was for so many young Black women, who saw in her hope and promise for their own future. I wanted to take a moment to share some stories about Nichelle that aren’t as well known, and which highlight her lively spirit, her incredible kindness, and her warm generosity.”
He admitted he would “never forget” their first encounter, which predated ‘Star Trek’.
George said: “Our friendship began six decades ago, before Star Trek, when she came backstage after a performance of a civil rights musical I was doing called ‘Fly Blackbird’ in Los Angeles. I will never forget that first meeting. She was stunningly beautiful. But beyond her beauty, she stood out. It was a time when many African American women “conked” their hair, which meant straightening it, as was the current fashion. Instead, Nichelle wore an enormous natural “Afro” sphere on her head. It was natural, it was proud, and it was glorious. I knew right then that she was a singular individual.”