George Takei and J.J. Abrams were among the major figures of the “Star Trek” franchise to pay tribute to Nichelle Nichols. The actress, who portrayed the capable and commanding Enterprise crew member Nyota Uhura, died Saturday night at the age of 89. Nichols portrayed Uhura across the original series and the first six “Trek” films. She also voiced the character in “Star Trek: The Animated Series.”
“Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away,” Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, wrote in a statement on the actress’ official Facebook page. “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. Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”
Nichols’ “Star Trek” costar George Takei, who portrayed Hikaru Sulu across the original series and films, was one of the first voices to pay tribute to the actress.
“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,” Takei wrote. “For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.”
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.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 31, 2022
“Star Trek” star William Shatner, who Nichols shared one of the first interracial kisses on television with, also voiced his condolences.
“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,” Shatner wrote.
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. I will certainly miss her. Sending my love and condolences to her family. Bill
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 31, 2022
Celia Rose Gooding, who portrays Uhura in the new Paramount+ series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” paid tribute to the actress who originated the role.
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 🕊✨🖖🏾 pic.twitter.com/k1aVw15w3d
— ALIEN SUPERSTAR CRG (@celiargooding) July 31, 2022
Georgia politician and diehard “Trek” fan Stacey Abrams shared a photograph of her and Nichols, hailing the star as a “champion, warrior and tremendous actor.”
One of my most treasured photos – Godspeed to Nichelle Nichols, champion, warrior and tremendous actor. Her kindness and bravery lit the path for many. May she forever dwell among the stars. #RIPNichelle #Uhura pic.twitter.com/nFXHif8HEC
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) July 31, 2022
“Star Trek: Voyager” star Kate Mulgrew called Nichols a “trailblazer who navigated a very challenging trail with grit, grace and a gorgeous fire we are not likely to see again.”
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.
— Kate Mulgrew (@TheKateMulgrew) July 31, 2022
J.J. Abrams, who helmed the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot and its 2013 follow-up “Star Trek Into Darkness,” called Nichols “a remarkable woman in a remarkable role.”
A remarkable woman in a remarkable role. Nichelle, you will be deeply missed. Sending much love and respect. pic.twitter.com/ZRnMblXx0Z
— JJ Abrams (@jjabrams) July 31, 2022
Marina Sirtis, who portrayed Counselor Deanna Troi in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and its four feature film adaptations, stated that Nichols “opened the door for the rest of us.”
RIP @NichelleIsUhura. You led the way and opened the door for the rest of us who followed in your wake. We will be forever grateful. My heart is broken💔😢
— Marina Sirtis (@Marina_Sirtis) July 31, 2022
Lynda Carter, who portrayed Wonder Woman in the 1970s DC Comics television series, shared that Nichols “showed us the extraordinary power of Black women and paved the way for a better future for all women in media.”
Many actors become stars, but few stars can move a nation. Nichelle Nichols showed us the extraordinary power of Black women and paved the way for a better future for all women in media. Thank you, Nichelle. We will miss you. pic.twitter.com/KhUf4YM6pX
— Lynda Carter (@RealLyndaCarter) July 31, 2022
Alex Kurtzman, who serves as lead executive producer on the ongoing “Star Trek” shows for Paramount+, called Nichols a “singular inspiration” and recounted the innumerable people he’s encountered that have cited the actress as an inspiration to pursue careers in science, writing, education and entertainment.
Nichelle was a singular inspiration. She’s the one who really opened my eyes to what Star Trek is and can be. 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. 1/2
— Alex Kurtzman (@Alex_Kurtzman) July 31, 2022
See more tributes to Nichols below:
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. pic.twitter.com/1zlTd4F9BD
— Adam Nimoy (@adam_nimoy) July 31, 2022
My love for the original Star Trek is profound. Nichelle Nichols was a ground-breaker and a glorious ambassador for her show, her role and science all her life. And a truly lovely person. May she have a wonderful adventure to the final frontier.#ripnichellenichols
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) July 31, 2022
My heart goes out to her family and friends
God speed Nichelle 🌺 pic.twitter.com/L6y0aRaRs1
— Karl Urban (@KarlUrban) July 31, 2022
— Kim Cattrall (@KimCattrall) July 31, 2022
— Tawny “My Name is Tawny” Newsome (@TrondyNewman) July 31, 2022
We celebrate the life of Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek actor, trailblazer, and role model, who symbolized to so many what was possible. She partnered with us to recruit some of the first women and minority astronauts, and inspired generations to reach for the stars. pic.twitter.com/pmQaKDb5zw
— NASA (@NASA) July 31, 2022
Nichelle Nichols told us that we belonged in outer space. We are limitless. The heavens have gained an Uhura today.
— Colman Domingo (@colmandomingo) July 31, 2022