Actress, singer, and dancer Nichelle Nichols (born Grace Dell Nichols; December 28, 1932, is best known for her role of Nyota Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series and its successors. When Nichols portrayed Uhura on American television, she set a new standard for African American female roles. As a volunteer for NASA from 1977 until 2015, Nichols promoted the agency’s initiatives and recruited a diverse group of astronauts, including women and people of color.
Grace Dell Nichols, the future Nichelle Nichols, was born on December 28, 1932, in Robbins, a Chicago suburb. Father Samuel, mother Salish, and younger brother Thomas were her childhood influences. At the same time, her father worked as mayor and chief magistrate of Robbins, the town where she was raised. Nichelle’s brother, who was a member of the Heaven’s Gate sect, committed mass suicide in March 1997.
At the age of 16, Nichols joined Duke Ellington’s ensemble as a dancer, and her career in show business took off. He invited her to sing for him and was so delighted with her performance that he decided she should lead the band.
Hugh Hefner, owner of “Playboy,” engaged Nichols to perform at the Chicago Playboy Club in 1961 after seeing her in the Oscar Brown musical “Kicks and Co.” “Carmen Jones” and “Porgy and Bess” were two more shows she appeared in while living in Chicago.
“Porgy and Bess,” starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge in 1959, was her first cinematic performance as a dancer. Tarzan’s Deadly Silence, Made in Paris, Mister Buddwing, and Doctor, You’ve Got to Be Kidding! followed.
Nichelle was also featured on the cover of Ebony magazine in 1967. “The Lieutenant” guest-starred in 1964, and two years later, Nichols was hired as Uhura by Gene Roddenberry in the science-fiction series “Star Trek.”
Before it was canceled in 1969, the show had broadcast 79 episodes since its September 8, 1966, debut on NBC. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. persuaded Nichelle to continue in the show when she pondered quitting to pursue a career on Broadway during the first season “You can’t just walk away from this vital part.
Because of this, we’re protesting. Something like this never occurred to us as something that would be shown on television.”
When Nichols and “Star Trek” co-star William Shatner experienced their first interracial kiss in the 1968 episode “Plato’s Stepchildren,” they created history.
The role of Uhura was reprised by Nichelle Nichols in the films Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), the television series “Star Trek:
The Animated Series” (1973), and the video games “Star Trek: 25th (1994). Actor Nichols featured in the films “Truck Turner,” “The Supernaturals,” and “Captain Zoom in Outer Space,” as well as the TV movie “Antony and Cleopatra” after Star Trek was canceled (1984).
Nichelle Nichols Net Worth
American actress, singer, producer, and author Nichelle Nichols has a fortune of $500,000. For her portrayal as Lieutenant Uhura on the original “Star Trek” (1966–1969), Nichols has appeared in six of the franchise’s films. Nichelle was a big draw at conventions later in her career. According to the scale of the convention and her dedication, she may make anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 as a guest speaker.
Because of these conventions, Nichols made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year before she was forced to retire due to health difficulties. Over the course of her career, Nichelle has starred in more than 60 films and television shows, including “Snow Dogs” and “Are We There Yet?” (2016).
“Lady Magdalene’s” (2008), “Unbelievable!!!!!” (2020), and “Woman in Motion,” a NASA documentary on her work, were all produced by Nichols. “Gargoyles,” “Batman: The Animated Series,” “Futurama,” and “The Simpsons” are just a few of the animated productions in which she’s provided her voice (2004). “Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories” (1994) is Nichelle’s book, as well as “Saturn’s Child” (1995) and “Saturna’s Quest” (1995). (2002). There are two albums she’s published in the past, titled “Down to Earth” (1967) and “Out of This World” (1991).
During the 1960s, Nichelle was romantically involved with “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, but their relationship ended before the show premiered, according to her own admission.
Nichols delivered a song she co-wrote, “Gene,” during Roddenberry’s burial in 1991. In 1951, Nichelle married dancer Foster Johnson, but the couple divorced the following year. Kyle was born on August 14, 1951, to a mother and a father. The next year, Nichols married Duke Mondy, with whom she divorced in 1972.
During her visit to the White House in 2012, she had a meeting with President Barack Obama, which she documented on Twitter with the hashtags “He had a crush on me when I was younger, President Obama was reported stating months ago.
When I asked him if he was sure, he was all smiling. For the record, I have President Obama on good authority as being a Trekkie. Isn’t it wonderful?” Following the announcement that Nichelle was hospitalized in June 2015 following a small stroke, news of her diagnosis of dementia broke in 2018.
Gilbert Bell, Nichols’ manager, and carer was sued in August 2020 by Nichols’ son, who claimed that Gilbert Bell had engaged in “financial elder abuse.” Bell “actively misappropriated monies received by Ms. Nichols, including siphoning cash from Ms. Nichols’ appearances at conventions, illegally dividing the money Ms.
Nichols earned, and misappropriated funds from Ms. Nichols’ financial accounts,” according to the lawsuit. In November 2020, Kyle relocated Nichelle to New Mexico, where he acts as her primary caretaker.
Awards and Honors
Nichols was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1980. She was recognized in the Online Film & Television Association Hall of Fame in 2015 and won a Millennium Award for “Star Trek” in 1999.
Nichelle was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for “The Young and the Restless” in 2017 and an NAACP Image Award for “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” in 1987. Nichols and Shatner were nominated for Most Memorable Kiss in 2006 and TV Moment That Became Headline News in 2007.
Nichelle got the 2018 Comic-Con Inkpot Award and a 2010 honorary degree from Los Angeles Mission College. Nichelle got a Walk of Fame star in 1992.
Nichelle spent $110,000 in 1983 to buy a house in Woodland Hills, CA. Baron Construction & Remodeling Co. purchased the house from Nichelle’s son, who sold it to the company for almost $2.2 million in August 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Nichelle Nichols in a Conservatorship?
Star Trek actress Nichols, well known for her role as Lt. Uhura in the series, has been placed under conservatorship by her son Kyle Johnson since 2018, according to sources. She may be suffering from dementia, as has been reported.
Why Did Nichelle Nichols Almost Leave Star Trek?
To put it another way, Nichols, who portrayed Uhura in the original series and its sequels, finally got the job she’d always wanted. Except that it interfered with her schedule on the program, so she quit going after her dream full time.