Nichelle Nichols


  1. Juanita Moore. The Singing Nun, 1965.      Three of Hollywood’s then rare black female stars – Pearl Bailey, Dorothy Dandridge and Star Trek’s Nichols – were in the wimple mix for Sister Mary in the typically Hollywood-mawkish version of the life of the Belgian nun-cum-pop star. Just not about her death – suicide while the balance of her life was disturbed.
  2. Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek, TV, 1966-1969.     It only took her 45 years…. but finally in 2011, Nichelle, the iconic Lieutenant Nyota Uhura of the starship Enterprise, admitted she first read for the role of Spock “They gave me a three-page script to read from that had three characters named Bones, Kirk, and somebody called Spock,” she recalled in the US TV special, Trek Nation. “They asked me if I would read for the role of Spock. I said to myself: I’ll take any one of these roles… but I found the Spock character to be very interesting.”  When she thought of quitting Trek, Dr Martin Luther King said: “No! Don’t you know who you are…” Uhura, he said, was the first non-stereotypical role portrayed by a black woman in television history.
  3. Gail Fisher, Mannix, TV, 1968-1975.     From the scond season, Joe Mannix quit the Intertect agency and set up his own private eye service with police widow Peggy Fair as his fiercely loyal secretary – his Della Street! And so like Nichelle in Star Trek, Gail was among the first black  actresses to win a series  – and definitely  the first to win an Emmy Award (as Best Actress on June 7, 1970). For Peggy, she also won Golden Globes in 1971 and 1973… when  “blacks were pretty much alien objects on TV… and now we’re people. I’m proud I’m a part of that…  My friends and family thought I was crazy, you know. But honey, there ain’t any black actresses!”


“In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women. A daughter of a working-class family from Illinois, she first honed her craft as an actor and singer in Chicago before touring the country and the world performing with the likes of Duke Ellington and giving life to the words of James Baldwin. During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, she shattered stereotypes to become the first Black woman to act in a major role on a primetime television show with her groundbreaking portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek. With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries. And she continued this legacy by going on to work with NASA to empower generations of Americans from every background to reach for the stars and beyond. Our nation is forever indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who show us a future where unity, dignity, and respect are cornerstones of every society.”-  President Joe Biden. 

“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.” -William Shatner

“A trailblazer, a heroine, and an extraordinary woma – someone who inspired millions and millions of people but inspired me. “Nichelle was the first Black person I’d ever seen who made it to the future.. It just made me feel like that was an amazing thing and she helped propel other women to go into space. She was extraordinary and I was lucky enough to spend time with her over the years. She was my friend and she will be missed.” – Whoopie Goldberg.

 “Today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend. We lived long and prospered together.” George Takei 

“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. Thank you, dear Nichelle, for leading the way.” – Alex Kurtzman, producer of Trek movies and series during 2009-2022.



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  3