Beloved television icon, Nichelle Nichols, is best known for her role on the original Star Trek as Lt. Nyota Uhura. Today, she's at the center of a battle between her son, her manager, and a close friend over who should be the guardian of the 88-year-old actress who has dementia.
In early 2019, Nichols' son Kyle Johnson was appointed the conservator of her person and estate. Johnson is his mother's sole caregiver in New Mexico. He says he moved her there to take better care of her and to protect her from exploitation.
Nichols' friend, Angelique Fawcette, and her former manager, Gilbert Bell, both have challenged the actress's conservatorship arrangement, claiming that her son is not acting in Nichols' best interests.
Bell says he hasn't seen Nichols since April 2019. He told PEOPLE Nichols' son had designs to sell his mother's house, saying, "[He said] she had no business being there, that he wanted her in a one-bedroom condo." He further told the magazine, "He wanted to get the property sold."
Bell allegedly lived with Nichols rent-free in Nichols' guest house on the Woodland Hills, California property for a decade. Johnson told the Los Angeles Times he filed the conservatorship petition because he found out Bell had transferred Nichols' home into his name.
The third person involved in Nichelle Nichols' conservatorship is longtime friend, movie producer Angelique Fawcette, who has argued in court filings that neither Johnson nor Bell are concerned for Nichols' wellbeing.
In an interview with The Hill, Fawcette made it clear that Nichols' son was absent from his mother's life, and also addressed Nichols' former manager. She said of Bell, "Gil was the gatekeeper, fiercely controlling Nichelle's financial affairs and her person. 'He allegedly used her money to upgrade the home he lived in on Nichelle's property and bought new cars while Nichelle's house sat in decay. He even contemplated marrying Nichelle so that her son would be denied his inheritance."
The LA Times cited property records that Nichols' house and guesthouse were sold for nearly $2.2 million to Baron Construction & Remodeling Co.
Johnson says the proceeds were placed into his mother's conservatorship account and will let him care for his mother.
Nichols earned her a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992. She is also the first woman to receive a lifetime career award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films in 2016.