Hollywood continues to mourn the death of iconic Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols. The actress, singer, and dancer best known for her portrayal of Nyota Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series and its subsequent sequels passed away due to natural causes on Saturday, July 3. She was 89.
In a social media statement, Nichols’ son Kyle Johnson spoke about his mother’s legacy and impact, writing: “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.”
The Hollywood trailblazer was born on December 28, 1932, in Robbins, Illinois, where she would ultimately get her start in the entertainment business by performing in musicals and theater plays.
Nichols' love for space exploration stretched off the screen. She later became a significant supporter of NASA and routinely volunteered to help recruit minority and women candidates for the agency. Evidence of the star’s contributions could be seen in former astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, who shared how Nichols’ powerful influence motivated her to join NASA.
Dr. Jemison took to her Twitter account where she paid tribute to the role model in a pinned post, writing, “Nichelle’s Uhura is forever for me the embodiment of grace, daring, intelligence, fun, inspiration, beauty, talent & the future. Today I am heart-sad at her passing. I consider our dearest friendship a great treasure & privilege in my life.”
Stacey Abrams also took time out of her campaign to honor the star. The politician and voting rights activist shared a heartwarming photo of her and Nichols, holding up the popular Vulcan salute and smiling. “One of my most treasured photos - Godspeed to Nichelle Nichols, champion, warrior and tremendous actor,” Abrams wrote. “Her kindness and bravery lit the path for many. May she forever dwell among the stars. #RIPNichelle #Uhura.”
“Many actors become stars, but few stars can move a nation,” wrote fellow actress and Wonder Woman star, Lynda Carter. “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.”
Check out some more reactions from Hollywood below.