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George Takei and William Shatner are among the ‘Star Trek’ stars to have paid tribute to Nichelle Nichols.
The pioneering actress – whose portrayal of Nyota Uhura in the original 1960s TV series and six movies was seen as groundbreaking representation for black Americans – died on Saturday (30.07.22) aged 89 and her former co-stars have been left devastated by her passing.
George, who played Hikaru Sulu, tweeted: “I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89. For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.”
The 85-year-old star went on to post a photo of himself and Nichelle – who was best lady when he married Brad Altman in 2008 – giving the Vulcan salute.
He added: “We lived long and prospered together.”
William shared one of TV’s first interracial screen kisses with Nichelle in their roles as Uhura and Captain James T. Kirk, and the 91-year-old actor recognised his friend for her work on and off screen.
He wrote: “I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle. She was a beautiful woman and played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US and throughout the world. I will certainly miss her. Sending my love and condolences to her family. Bill (sic)”
Adam Nimoy, the son of late Spock actor Leonard Nimoy, shared a photo of his dad with the late actress.
He wrote: “My favorite photo of Dad and Nichelle Nichols on set. The importance of Nichelle’s legacy cannot be over-emphasized. She was much loved and will be missed.”
Celia Rose Gooding, who plays Uhura on Paramount+ series ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’, paid tribute to Michelle and her legacy.
She wrote: “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! #RIPNichelleNichols (sic)”
Her co-star, Melissa C. Navia – who portrays Erica Ortegas – added: “Nichelle Nichols…Her light will keep shining. Brighter stronger than ever. All the rest to her now and peace to her family. Cannot wait for the celebration of her life that is to come and all the stories that those who knew her best will share.”
Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Kathryn Janeway, the franchise’s first female captain, on ‘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. May she Rest In Peace. #NichelleNichols”
‘Star Trek’s official Twitter account also shared a tribute to the actress, who they described as an “inspiration”.
They posted: “We’re deeply saddened to report the passing of Nichelle Nichols – a trailblazer, an inspiration, and so much more. She will be deeply missed.”