Sunday’s sad news of the passing of Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols resulted in an outpouring of condolences, remembrances, and love from inside and outside the Trek community. There’s so much it isn’t possible to share everything, but we have gathered together some notable memorials.
Star Trek family remembers Nichelle
Many who knew and worked with Nichelle took to social media to offer their thoughts, starting off with her Star Trek co-stars George Takei, Walter Koenig, and William Shatner.
I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89. For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 31, 2022
We lived long and prospered together. pic.twitter.com/MgLjOeZ98X
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 31, 2022
My heart goes out to Nichelle son, Kyle, Nichelle's sisters and Sky Conway who stood bye and up for our dear co-worker Nichelle Nichol's these very trying past years. Love always
— Walter Koenig (@GineokwKoenig) August 1, 2022
I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle. She was a beautiful woman & 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
Adam Nimoy, son of the late Leonard Nimoy, also shared a nice photo of Nichelle and Leonard together on the set of Star Trek.
My favorite photo of Dad and Nichelle Nichols on set. The importance of Nichelle's legacy cannot be over-emphasized. She was much loved and will be missed. pic.twitter.com/1zlTd4F9BD
— Adam Nimoy (@adam_nimoy) July 31, 2022
Rod Roddenberry shared how Nichols helped him after the death of his father, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
Nichelle touched the hearts of others who worked in Star Trek throughout the years, and some shared their personal memories of her, such as designer Mike Okuda, TOS movies associate producer (and Star Trek IV’s Punk on the Bus) Kirk Thatcher, and TAS writer Fred Bronson.
I first met Nichelle Nichols in 1985 at KHNL, a TV station in Honolulu. She posed with me, and the next day, I asked her to sign a print. “Sure, as long as you sign a print for me!” I still smile when I think of the day that she asked ME for MY autograph. Go boldly, Nichelle. pic.twitter.com/wEa5o7eVmL
— Michael Okuda (@MikeOkuda) July 31, 2022
RIP Nichelle. A lovely, kind and gracious soul I met in my teens and had the pleasure to work with on STIV. She was epitome of grace and dignity. So grateful I was able to experience her wonderful spirit a numberof times through the decades. pic.twitter.com/Hru7pbgSOy
— Kirk R Thatcher – Monsters, Muppets, Tiki 🧟🐸🍹😂 (@KirkThatcher) July 31, 2022
I have many fond memories of Nichelle Nichols and mourn her passing. She has left a lasting legacy and will never be forgotten. Thank you, Nichelle, for everything you did in your lifetime.
— Fred Bronson (@FredBronson) July 31, 2022
A number of Star Trek stars from later generations of Trek who were impacted by her shared their memories, including TNG’s LeVar Burton, DS9 executive producer Ira Steven Behr, Voyager star Robert Picardo, and Enterprise star Linda Park.
Heartbroken at the news of her passing, however, I am comforted in the knowledge that she illuminated the way for so of us many with her grace, beauty, talent, intelligence and her commitment to humanity going boldly to the stars! #godess #queen
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) July 31, 2022
A @StarTrek legend, a kind soul and a passionate advocate for women and people of color to pursue their dreams of space exploration. R.I.P. @NichelleIsUhura . pic.twitter.com/A8ZQuEXVZu
— Robert Picardo (@RobertPicardo) August 1, 2022
Only met Nichelle Nichols twice. Impressive woman even as age took its toll. Never got to tell her how much I enjoyed her performance as the tough talking Dorinda in Truck Turner.
RIP to a true Trek Legend.
— Ira Steven Behr (@IraStevenBehr) July 31, 2022
What a goddess. So grateful to have met her and have been in her sphere. Her spirit is soaring now ⭐️ https://t.co/inycEhun1y
— Linda Park (@realLindaPark) July 31, 2022
Whoopi Goldberg talked to the Hollywood Reporter about how important Nichelle Nichols was to her, leading to her joining Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Whoopi Goldberg Remembers Nichelle Nichols as “First Black Person I’d Ever Seen Who Made it to the Future” https://t.co/LX7hmBzWDx
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 1, 2022
The latest generation of Star Trek has also honored Nichols, including Star Trek movie producer J.J. Abrams, Star Trek television executive producer Alex Kurtzman, and Zoe Saldana, who played Uhura in the Kelvin universe movies and shared a long, heartfelt message.
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
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
We stand in her light and honor her today and every day. Thank you, dear Nichelle, for leading the way. 2/2
— Alex Kurtzman (@Alex_Kurtzman) July 31, 2022
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Actors from across the new Star Trek shows have also expressed their thoughts, including Lower Decks star Tawny Newsome, Discovery’s Wilson Cruz, and Strange New Worlds’ Uhura, Celia Rose Gooding.
Thank you for giving so many of us a place in the universe. #NichelleNichols pic.twitter.com/TycRdKOOfH
— Tawny “My Name is Tawny” Newsome (@TrondyNewman) July 31, 2022
Before we understood how much #RepresentationMatters #NichelleNichols modeled it for us. With her very presence & her grace she shone a light on who we as people of color are & inspired us to reach for our potential. Rest well glittering diamond in the sky https://t.co/DmeLFbg825
— Wilson Cruz (@wcruz73) July 31, 2022
She made room for so many of us. She was the reminder that not only can we reach the stars, but our influence is essential to their survival. Forget shaking the table, she built it! #RIPNichelleNichols 🕊✨🖖🏾 pic.twitter.com/k1aVw15w3d
— ALIEN SUPERSTAR CRG (@celiargooding) July 31, 2022
Rest well, legend 🕊✨🤍 pic.twitter.com/OdKjlCtB69
— ALIEN SUPERSTAR CRG (@celiargooding) July 31, 2022
And of course, Nichols’ influence goes beyond actors to those who work behind the scenes. There were messages from the Star Trek: Prodigy writers’ room and Picard production designer Dave Blass showing how both shows honored Nichelle and Uhura in their latest seasons.
Remembering Nichelle Nichols, 1932-2022 ❤️🖖 pic.twitter.com/FW6s8h6vMB
— Star Trek: Prodigy Writers (@TrekProdigyRoom) July 31, 2022
We honored Nichelle Nichols' and that of the character she created with Uhura with this plaque seen in the premiere of Season 2 of Star Trek Picard. Farewell Captain Noyta Uhura, You embodied everything that Starfleet stood for. pic.twitter.com/abrmH6lWfx
— Dave Blass (@DaveBlass) July 31, 2022
The world remembers Nichelle
Nichelle Nichols impacted the lives of many beyond the world of Star Trek; here are some of the memories and messages of condolence that flooded social media over the last day. This included a message from the White House and President Joe Biden.
Statement by President Joe Biden on the Passing of Nichelle Nichols: https://t.co/Z0oXHHjCgx
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) August 1, 2022
Other political figures who shared their thoughts about Nichelle included Hillary Clinton, Florida congresswoman Val Demmings, and candidate for governor of Georgia (and Discovery guest star) Stacey Abrams.
"If you can see it, you can be it," the saying goes. Nichelle Nichols gave millions of people the opportunity to see themselves on the frontiers of science and exploration, boldly expanding human understanding.
She inspired so many of us to reach for the stars. What a legacy. pic.twitter.com/Ly2IpmxWiJ
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 1, 2022
Rest In Peace Nichelle Nichols, a trailblazing actress who helped inspire generations of actors and astronauts alike. #RIPNichelle https://t.co/zU5RZddMY2
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) July 31, 2022
One of my most treasured photos – Godspeed to Nichelle Nichols, champion, warrior and tremendous actor. Her kindness and bravery lit the path for many. May she forever dwell among the stars. #RIPNichelle #Uhura pic.twitter.com/nFXHif8HEC
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) July 31, 2022
A few government agencies also joined in. Here are messages from NASA and the Smithsonian.
We celebrate the life of Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek actor, trailblazer, and role model, who symbolized to so many what was possible. She partnered with us to recruit some of the first women and minority astronauts, and inspired generations to reach for the stars. pic.twitter.com/pmQaKDb5zw
— NASA (@NASA) July 31, 2022
Today we remember Nichelle Nichols. She starred as Lieutenant Uhura on "Star Trek" wearing this uniform now in our @NMAAHC, making history for African American women in TV and film. Nichols also volunteered to recruit women and people of color for NASA. #BecauseOfHerStory pic.twitter.com/fZZqfGlomz
— Smithsonian (@smithsonian) July 31, 2022
Nichols had a big impact on NASA. Many from the space community shared their memories, including astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, who was visited by Nichols on the TNG set when she filmed her guest appearance on the show.
@NichelleIsUhura 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. pic.twitter.com/1U1PpWSryy
— Dr. Mae Jemison (@maejemison) July 31, 2022
And of course there were many more in the world of the arts impacted by the life of Nichelle Nichols who took to social media to share their thoughts. This included writer/producer/actor Seth MacFarlane, Seinfeld (and Star Trek: Voyager guest star and upcoming Prodigy voice actor) Jason Alexander, and Wonder Woman star Linda Carter.
This woman was a pioneer. Her significance not only to the world of science fiction but to television as a whole cannot be overstated. Not to mention the mountain of charm and magnetism she brought to the screen. Nichelle Nichols will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/o7KPZNoUiL
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) August 1, 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 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
Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura on the original STAR TREK series–and broke new ground–has passed away at 89.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 31, 2022
Many actors become stars, but few stars can move a nation. 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. pic.twitter.com/KhUf4YM6pX
— Lynda Carter (@RealLyndaCarter) July 31, 2022
Nichelle in the news
The death of Nichelle Nichols was big news. There were featured segments about her on a number of channels and programs on Sunday from CNN, Entertainment Tonight, and ABC News, among others.
Hollywood event today
As reported yesterday, the family of Nichelle Nichols will be holding a private ceremony for her memorial, and there will be an event in Hollywood today with flowers being placed on Nichelle’s star on the Walk of Fame at 1 PM (PT).
Memorial flowers will be placed on the star of Nichelle Nichols on Monday, August 1, at 1 pm.
The star is located at 6635 Hollywood Boulevard. Nichol’s star was dedicated on January 9, 1992. pic.twitter.com/r6O5G3pwSX
— Walk of Fame (@WalkofFameStar) July 31, 2022
A representative of the family tells TrekMovie that fans can offer their condolences on Nichelle’s official Facebook Page.
She is one of the greats!
Marina Sirtis also tweeted
Yes, as did others… as noted in the article, this is not a comprehensive list of everyone in and out of Trek who shared something on social. To keep it manageable we picked a selection, including one person per post-TOS show.
But why not add more or add a part 2 please? There no limit.
Now Patrick Stewart has tweeted
She was so wonderful in her role as Lt Uhura. She was a class act all the way. Sweet and kind. I met her once at a con. Her smile was all I needed.
I missed her when she came to my town for a convention. I was penny-pinching University student, and I had met Takei and Doohan, so I thought I could skip it. I’ve regretted that for years.
Nice work, Anthony and Gang; this is a beautiful compilation of the many tributes.
Listening to Nichols’ beautiful rendition of “Beyond Antares,” which seems to sum up her legacy as well as anything could. Given her prodigious talents, you can only wish that Uhura had gotten the chance to spread her wings more often.
Even so, Ms. Gooding, you’ve got some mighty big shoes to fill.
So totally true. Now, she rests beyond Antares. Forever was just a day.
Even over here in Austria, all 3 local news feeds that I follow did honor her – a tech news site, a local newspaper, and the biggest (and state-owned) news outlet of the country. She moved and influenced the world, and her legacy will last for a long time. The latter even more if we continue pushing forward what she pushed and being as graceful to other human beings as she was.
Dear Trekmovie. Thanks for putting together such a wonderful tribute to Nichelle Nichols; a true cultural icon. My love for the Original Series is unbounded and this article brought tears to my eyes. FYI the BBC News channel did a very nice 10 minute segment this evening looking back at her life and the influence she had on so many areas of society.
Obama commented on Facebook about the passing of the great basketball player Bill Russell. Still waiting for him to say something about Nichelle.
Yeah interesting, when Nimoy died he had a big tribute. It really says something about the importance of Star Trek that whenever one of the icons passes, the White House pays tribute
Very surprised and disappointed that he still hasn’t said anything especially since he has admitted being a big fan and posed with Nichelle in a photo not too long ago.
A statement was made through the Obama Foundation, and the President’s very high praise of her when she was still alive and able to appreciate the moment shouldn’t be minimized.
Around 2011 or thereabouts I used some frequent flyer miles for a quick trip to Santa Monica for the Trekmovie.com screening of STIV. Ms. Nichols spoke before the screening. So glad I went!
* * *
In my 9th grade English class, circa 1989, I wrote an essay about Star Trek. In my research (probably reading library books and rewatching my VHS tapes of TOS 20th anniversary specials from 1986) I learned (as a white kid who didnt know what he didnt know) what Ms. Nichols’s presence on the bridge signified. I remember including the multuracial aspect of TOS in my essay, and my teacher, who wasn’t a Trek watcher, discovered that aspect of the show through this little essay. I haven’t thought about that essay in years!
so captain uhura captained a ship after ST6 / the ENT-A was decommissioned? trying to wrap my head around the picard season 2 easter egg
She was a commander by then and therefore on the command track, so I get it. What I don’t necessarily get is why she pursued that path – command didn’t seem like something she particularly wanted, at least as her character was written. When it came to the TOS crew, they all gradually moved up the ranks over the years, but the idea that every character should wind up captaining their own ship doesn’t really make sense to me. I suppose after however long she was a comms officer, she wanted to try something new in her later years
Hailing frequencies are opened forever. Nichelle’s contributions are enormous and cemented. She will be missed by all. May her light shine in the stars above eternally. RIP
Hailing frequencies closed Captain
The role of Uhura is in good hands of Zoe Saldana and Celia Rose Gooding.
I don’t live too far from Hollywood, I might try and see the little memorial people left her star on the Hollywood walk of Fame this weekend. I haven’t been in that area since pre-pandemic. And I visited James Doohan star after he died in 2005.
Where at, if you don’t mind my asking? It was all Highland Park then, but I spent my formative years in the Hermon neighborhood before moving out to Riverside in 1979 (yeah, I’m old)……
Hey Phil, sorry this is soooo late. I haven’t clicked on this thread since I wrote my last post. I live in Pasadena but was born in another part of the city. It’s about 20 minutes from Hollywood.
And sadly I never made it out there to see her star.
Okay, Pasadena is a great place to be, just over the hill via Monterey Road. Been trying to catch a Dodger game or two this year, but the gods of work don’t seem to agree..,
I’ll add here my tribute video I made during the all-nighter I pulled to finish it this morning…I was at the NYC Trek meetup group and people have enjoyed it a lot, so please check it out if you want :) She was probably the greatest gift that Star Trek gave to this world, and I’m so glad her light will forever shine through the cosmos
RIP Nichelle Nichols. Her legacy and the tremendous impact she had both on and offscreen may not be quantifiable, but she will be remembered for decades to come.
Btw, the images I remember most of Ms Nichols on TOS is from Balance of Terror when she took over the navigator position from Stiles at the very height of the tense battle with the Romulans. Years later, I also noticed she was in the navigator’s seat in the opening scene of the very first TOS episode aired on NBC – The Man Trap. The social significance of young people seeing a woman of colour (and a Japanese) at the helm of the Enterprise in 1966 is not lost on this legacy Trek fan.
Something learned when my son was a submariner in the Navy, crew frequently cross trains to assume another post in the event of an emergency. It would have been very natural for Uhura to assume the navigation post in the event of a crisis and function professionally. As she understood, or came to, during her time on the show, representation mattered then. And still does now, a lasting legacy her family can take some solace in.