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Nichelle Nichols
Nichelle Nichols
Vital statistics
Name Nichelle Nichols
Aliases Grace Nichols
Place of birth Robbins, Illinois
Gender Female
Date of birth December 28th, 1932
Date of death
First appearance Star Trek: The Man Trap


Nichelle Nichols, born Grace Nichols, is an American film and television actress born in Robbins, Illinois on December 28th, 1932. Nichelle is best known for playing the role of Communications Officer Nyota Uhura in the Star Trek television and film franchise. Nichelle's character was introduced in the season one episode of the original Star Trek television series, "The Man Trap" and has appeared in 67 out of 78 broadcast episodes. Nichols reprised the role of Uhura in the first six Star Trek feature films. She also served as a consultant to actress Zoë Saldaña, who re-imagined the character for the 2009 relaunch film simply titled Star Trek.

Career Edit

Nyota Uhura 001

Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura.

Before turning her sights towards acting, Nichelle was an accomplished singer and dancer. Having performed with the likes of jazz pioneers Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington, Nichelle's early stage work began with the musical play Kicks and Co. by playwright Oscar Brown (also from Illinois).

Nichelle's work on Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek however, though minimal, made her an icon of not only the science fiction genre, but for African American culture and the feminist movement as well. As Nyota Uhura, Nichelle Nichols was the first black character regularly featured in a television series that was not portrayed as a stereotype. She was also the first female military officer to serve as part of the bridge crew of a ship. In one episode of the series, Nichelle and co-star William Shatner gained notoriety and more than just a little controversey by presenting the TV-viewing audience with the first televized interracial kiss. Nichelle's work on Star Trek earned the attention of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., who encouraged her to remain on the series even after Nichols had considered quitting the show. Nichelle's character also inspired a young Caryn Elaine Johnson who, under her stage name Whoopi Goldberg, would earn herself a place in the Star Trek franchise as well playing the role of Guinan, a recurring guest star featured on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Along with the rest of the cast from the series, Nichelle Nichols also provided the voice for her character on the 1973-1974 Star Trek: The Animated Series. She was credited in all twenty-two episodes of the show and also provided the voice for several other characters including Doctor Sarah April, Karla Five, Devna, Kali, Magen, Anne Nored and an alien entity.

As a cultural icon, Nichelle Nichols has used her popularity to advocate career roles for other women and African Americans. Following the discontinuation of the first Star Trek series, Nichelle volunteered her time in a special project with NASA to recruit minority and female personnel for the space agency, which proved to be a success. Those recruited include Doctor Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, as well as Doctor Judith Resnik and Doctor Ronald McNair, who both flew successful missions during the Space Shuttle program before their deaths in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28th, 1986.

In 1994, Nichelle Nichols published her memories entitled Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories. The first printing was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons and released in October, 1994. It was released again in 1995 by Boulevard Books and Boxtree. In the year 2000, Nichelle Nichols voiced a character called the Chief in the "The Yukari Imprint" episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.

Nichelle was one of several veteran sci-fi talents to appear on the popular TV series Heroes. She played a character named Nana Dawson and appeared in five episodes of season two.

Body of work Edit

Film Edit

Film Year Character
Star Trek: The Motion Picture 1979 Nyota Uhura
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan 1982 Nyota Uhura
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock 1984 Nyota Uhura
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home 1986 Nyota Uhura
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier 1989 Nyota Uhura
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country 1991 Nyota Uhura

Television Edit

Series Episode Character
Star Trek The Man Trap Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Charlie X Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Naked Time Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Enemy Within Nyota Uhura [1]
Star Trek Mudd's Women Nyota Uhura
Star Trek What are Little Girls Made Of? Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Dagger of the Mind Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Menagerie (Part 1) Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Menagerie (Part 2) Nyota Uhura [2]
Star Trek The Conscience of the King Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Balance of Terror Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Shore Leave Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Galileo Seven Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Squire of Gothos Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Arena Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Tomorrow is Yesterday Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Court Martial Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Return of the Archons Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Space Seed Nyota Uhura
Star Trek A Taste of Armageddon Nyota Uhura
Star Trek This Side of Paradise Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Errand of Mercy Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Alternative Factor Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The City on the Edge of Forever Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Operation - Annihilate! Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Amok Time Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Who Mourns for Adonais? Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Changeling Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Mirror, Mirror Nyota Uhura [3]
Star Trek Catspaw Nyota Uhura
Star Trek I, Mudd Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Metamorphosis Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Journey to Babel Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Friday's Child Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Deadly Years Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Obsession Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Trouble With Tribbles Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Gamesters of Triskelion Nyota Uhura
Star Trek A Piece of the Action Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Immunity Syndrome Nyota Uhura
Star Trek A Private Little War Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Return to Tomorrow Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Patterns of Force Nyota Uhura
Star Trek By Any Other Name Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Omega Glory Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Ultimate Computer Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Bread and Circuses Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Assignment: Earth Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Spock's Brain Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Enterprise Incident Nyota Uhura
Star Trek And the Children Shall Lead Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Is There in Truth No Beauty? Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Spectre of the Gun Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Day of the Dove Nyota Uhura
Star Trek For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Tholian Web Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Plato's Stepchildren Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Wink of an Eye Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Elaan of Troyius Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Whom Gods Destroy Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Let That Be Your Last Battlefield Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Mark of Gideon Nyota Uhura
Star Trek That Which Survives Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Lights of Zetar Nyota Uhura
Star Trek Requiem for Methuselah Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Cloud Minders Nyota Uhura
Star Trek The Savage Curtain Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series Beyond the Farthest Star Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series Yesteryear Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series One of Our Planets Is Missing Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Lorelei Signal Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series Star Trek: More Tribbles, More Troubles Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Survivor Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Infinite Vulcan Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Magicks of Megas-Tu Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series Once Upon a Planet Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series Mudd's Passion Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Terratin Incident Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Time Trap Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Ambergris Element Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Slaver Weapon Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Eye of the Beholder Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Jihad Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Pirates of Orion Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series Bem Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Practical Joker Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series Albatross Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth Nyota Uhura
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Counter-Clock Incident Nyota Uhura

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • Nichelle Nichols performed the song Oh, On the Starship Enterprise in the "Charlie X" episode of Star Trek.

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. Voice only
  2. Voice only
  3. Also played the "Mirror Universe" counterpart to Uhura


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