Star Trek star Nichelle Nichols dies at 89

African-American actress Nichelle Nichols, known for her high-ranking pioneering role in the cult series Star Trek, died on the night of Saturday July 30 to Sunday July 31 at the age of 89, her family announced in a communicated. “Last night my mother Nichelle Nichols died of natural causes”said her son Kyle on the official website of the actress. “His life was well lived and was a role model for all of us”.

A family spokesperson said the actress died in Silver City, New Mexico, where she lived with her son. This former dancer and singer who played in the 1960s science fiction series Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, an officer of African origins and fluent in Swahili, had quickly become an icon of civil rights.

Her role as a high-ranking black woman had earned her the admiration of Martin Luther King, assassinated in 1968, who had asked her not to leave “StarTrek” as she had planned, telling him that it was the only series he allowed his children to watch, she confided.

In 1968, when William Shatner, who played the famous Captain Kirk, and Nichelle Nichols kissed, it was the first kiss between a white person and a person of color on American television.

“My heart is heavy”

Born on December 28, 1932 in Chicago, Grace Dell Nichols began her career at the age of 14 as a dancer and singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Best known for her role in the first Star Trek series, she had also danced with Sammy Davis Jr. in “Porgy and Bess”acted in other television series and recorded two albums.

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She also played Uhura, a name derived from the word ” Freedom “ in Swahili, in the first six films of the Star Trek series. In the 1970s, Nichelle Nichols made a video to help NASA recruit astronauts, especially women and minorities.

“My heart is heavy”tweeted another figure in the series, George Takei. “My eyes shine like the stars you now rest beside, my dear friend”.

The World with AFP

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