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Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols - MoPOP Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame

Nichelle Nichols is most famous for her role as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in Star Trek (1966-1969), Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1975), and the first six Star Trek feature films (1979-1991). As communications officer, Lt. Uhura, Nichols broke down stereotypes that had limited roles for Black women in American entertainment, and shared a groundbreaking kiss with Star Trek castmate, William Shatner, in the episode "Plato's Stepchildren.

Nicols was born to a large family in Chicago, Illinois in 1932, and her father was the mayor and magistrate of their town of Robbins, Illinois. She was discovered by Duke Ellington in her mid-teens and toured with him and Lionel Hampton as a lead singer and dancer. Her first onscreen role was in Otto Preminger's Porgy and Bess (1959) alongside Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Portier, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Pearl Bailey.

Nichols also pioneered the NASA recruiting program to hire people of color and the first women astronauts for the space agency in the late 1970s and 1980s. Within six months of her involvement with NASA the number of applicants increased 16-fold. Astronauts Sally Ride, Guion Bluford, Judith Resnik, and Ronald McNair's recruitments were all a direct result of Nichols' work with NASA. She is also the author of two science fiction novels, Saturn's Child (1995) and Saturna's Quest (2002).



Beyond Uhura (1994)
Saturn's Child (1995)
Saturna's Quest (2002)


Porgy and Bess (1959)
The Lieutenant (1964)
Star Trek (1966-1969)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Antony and Cleopatra (1984)
Futurama (2000-2002)
Sharknado 5: Global Swimming (2017)
Woman in Motion (2019)