Hollywood is mourning the death of Nichelle Nichols, who made history for her portrayal of communications officer Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek.
Nichols died Saturday of natural causes at age 89, her son, Kyle Johnson, posted on Facebook.
“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 Sunday. “Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”
Among those paying tribute to Nichols was President Joe Biden, who praised her as a “trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women.” Her statement continued about her Star Trek role, “With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries. And she continued this legacy by going on to work with NASA to empower generations of Americans from every background to reach for the stars and beyond.”
Also remembering Nichols was the team behind woman in motion, a 2021 documentary film highlighting her efforts to help recruit people of color to work for NASA. “Nichelle, we will eternally be grateful for the opportunity to tell your story and share it with the world,” director and producer Todd Thompson said in a statement. “You entertained us, you inspired us, you showed all humankind how easy it can be to love and respect one another, live long and prosper.”
Additionally, many in Hollywood took to social media to express their condolences, including her Star Trek co-star George Takei. Read on to see their tributes to the actress.
✨Nichelle Nichols✨ Her light will keep shining. Brighter & stronger than ever. All the rest of her to her now and peace to her family of her. Cannot wait for the celebration of her life by her that is to come and all the stories that those who knew her best by her will share. https://t.co/lK07CTahJx
— Melissa Navia (@melissaCnavia) July 31, 2022
I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle. She was a beautiful woman & she played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world. I will certainly miss her. Sending my love and condolences to her family. bill
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 31, 2022
RIP to a true legend. Her legacy will live forever.#NichelleNichols
— Jeri Ryan (@JeriLRyan) July 31, 2022
— Tawny “My Name is Tawny” Newsome (@TrondyNewman) July 31, 2022
Nichelle Nichols – Live Long & Prosper
December 1932 — July 2022
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) July 31, 2022
— Terry Matalas (@TerryMatalas) July 31, 2022
Nichelle Nichols was The First. She was a trailblazer who navigated a very challenging trail with grit, grace, and a gorgeous fire we are not likely to see again.
— Kate Mulgrew (@TheKateMulgrew) July 31, 2022
Rest well, legend 🕊✨🤍 pic.twitter.com/OdKjlCtB69
— ALIEN SUPERSTAR CRG (@celiargooding) July 31, 2022
A remarkable woman in a remarkable role. Nichelle, you will be deeply missed. Sending much love and respect. pic.twitter.com/ZRnMblXx0Z
— JJ Abrams (@jjabrams) July 31, 2022
RIP @NichelleIsUhura. You 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💔😢
— Marina Sirtis (@Marina_Sirtis) July 31, 2022
Nichelle was a singular inspiration. She’s the one who really opened my eyes to what Star Trek is and can be. I can’t tell you how many people have told me she’s the reason they became… an astronaut, a scientist, a writer, a linguist, an engineer… it goes on and on. 1/2
— Alex Kurtzman (@Alex_Kurtzman) July 31, 2022
My love for the original Star Trek is profound. Nichelle Nichols was a ground-breaker and a glorious ambassador for her show, her role and her science all her life. And a truly lovely person. May she have a wonderful adventure to the final frontier.#ripnichellenichols
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) July 31, 2022