William Shatner, Levar Burton & More Star Trek Stars Honor Nichelle Nichols After Her Passing: We’ll ‘Miss Her’



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Nichelle Nichols died of natural causes at age 89 on Saturday (July 30), according to a Facebook message posted by her son, Kyle Johnson. “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,” he wrote. “Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.” Soon after word of her passing spread, members of the Star Trek community publicly mourned the dynamic woman behind the trailblazing character of communications officer Lieutenant Uhura.

(Everett Collection)

George Takei

George Takei was one of the first to share an emotional tribute for his friend and former Star Trek cast member. George, 85, shared a sweet selfie of the two giving the iconic Vulcan hand greeting at a past fan convention. “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,” he wrote in a tweet on Sunday, July 31.

“For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend,” he also wrote. “We lived long and prospered together,” he added in a second tweet.

William Shatner

William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk to Nichelle’s Uhura, shared a message following her death. “I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle,” he posted to Twitter. “She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social iU.S.ues both here in the US & throughout the world. I will certainly miss her. Sending my love and condolences to her family.”

Shatner and Nichols are noted for a scene in “Plato’s Stepchildren,” the tenth episode of Star Trek’s third season. In the episode, Kirk and Uhura – under telekinetic control – are forced to kiss. Though it’s often erroneously credited with being the first interracial kiss on television, it’s considered a watershed moment for Black-White on-screen relationships. The kiss is also regarded as one of the most significant moments in Star Trek lore.

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton famously portrayed Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation and its subsequent movies. Following the news of Nichelle’s death, he posted a photo of him and Nichols together. “Heartbroken at the news of her passing,” he wrote. “However, I am comforted in the knowledge that she illuminated the way for so of us many with her grace, beauty, talent, intelligence, and her commitment to humanity going boldly to the stars!”

Celia Rose Gooding

“She made room for so many of us,” tweeted Ceila Rose Gooding, the actress who portrays a young Lt. Uhura on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. “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!”

Kate Mulgrew

“Nichelle Nichols was The First,” wrote Kate Mulgrew, who portrayed Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager. “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.”

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes, who charmed audiences as Commander William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, wrote that Nichelle was “So kind and so important and so stunning R.I P. ”

Marina Sirtis

Jonathan’s TNG co-star, Marina Sirtis (best known as Counselor Deanna Troi), wrote that Nichelle “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.”

Jeri Ryan

Jeri Ryan, best known for her role as Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager and Picard, mourned Nicole. “RIP to a true legend,” she tweeted. “Her Legacy will live forever.”

Melissa Navia

Melissa Navia is a new member of the Star Trek family, portraying Erica Ortegas on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. “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,” she tweeted.”

JJ Abrams

“A remarkable woman in a remarkable role,” tweeted JJ Abrams, director of the 2009 Star Trek movie and its 2013 sequel, Into Darkness. “Nichelle, you will be deeply missed. Sending much love and respect.”


Nichols, born Grace Dell Nichols, was widely regarded as a trailblazer in the television industry for her portrayal of Black lead Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, debuting in 1966. The role was so monumental that Martin Luther King Jr. called it “the first non-stereotypical role portrayed by a black woman in television history.”

Nichols made her final public appearance at Comic-Con in Los Angeles last December, where she greeted fans alongside members of her family, including son Kyle Johnson and sister Marian Michaels.

Her death was confirmed by Gilbert Bell, who worked as both her business partner and talent manager. Nichols passed away in Silver City, New Mexico.



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(With Inputs from hollywoodlife)