Actress Nichelle Nichols died of natural causes on Saturday night at the age of 89. The information was confirmed today by the artist’s son, Kyle Johnson, on social media. Nichols is best known for her role as Lieutenant Uhura in the 1966 original series Star Trek. With this role, the actress became one of the first black women to appear in a major television series.
Nichols also starred in the first interracial kiss on American television in a scene with Captain James T. Kirk, played by Canadian actor William Shatner. The episode did not air until 1968, a year after the United States Supreme Court overturned laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
In “Star Trek” Lieutenant Uhura was one of the crew members of the starship USS Enterprise (NCC1701) under Kirk’s command. Together, the characters in the 1966 series, produced by Gene Roddenberry, aimed to “go boldly where no one has gone before” in the galaxy.
Born in Robbins, Illinois, Nichols began her career in 1961 in the Oscar Brownwritten musical Kicks and Co. With a talent for music, Nichols has toured singing for jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. During her role in Star Trek, she wanted to leave television to work on Broadway, but was dissuaded by her boyfriend, Martin Luther King, who is a huge fan of the series.