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Nichelle Nichols Transitions At 89, Twitter Remembers The Iconic Actress

Source: Michael Tran / Getty

She lived long and prospered. Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols passed away at the age of 89. 

Nichelle Nichols, best known for her groundbreaking role as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series, passed away on Saturday night (Jul.30). Her son, Kyle Johnson, revealed the iconic actress died of natural causes in an Instagram post shared on Nichol’s official IG page.

Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World

I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.

Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. 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.

I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.

Live Long and Prosper,

Kyle Johnson.

She Was A Trailblazer

As Lieutenant Uhura, Nichelle Nichols broke many barriers for Black women on television, being one of the first Black actresses to be featured in a major television series. She received praise from Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King and also inspired Black actresses and astronauts to pursue careers in both fields.

Nichelle Nichols starred in the original Star Trek series from 1966 to 1969, reprising her role in several Star Trek movies and the 2020’s Star Trek First Frontier.

Nichols even worked for NASA as a recruiter in the 1970s after publicly criticizing the agency for failing to consider women and other minorities for jobs in the agency.

“At the end of the recruitment, NASA had so many highly qualified people. They took six women. They took three African-American men … it was a very fulfilling accomplishment for me,” Nichols said.

Her legendary on-screen kiss with Captain Kirk (William Shatner) in a 1966 episode of Star Trek is regarded by some to be the first interracial kiss on television. 

Speaking on the historic kiss in her 1994 book Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories, she wrote:

 “Finally, the guys in charge relented: “To hell with it. Let’s go with the kiss”.

“I guess they figured we were going to be canceled in a few months anyway. And so the kiss stayed.”

Rest in power, Nichelle Nichols.

Photo: Michael Tran / Getty