Last Saturday, Star Trek legend Nichelle Nicholas passed away at the age of 89 due to natural causes. Her death led to numerous tributes and condolences from people in the industry as well as public figures, who praised the late actress for her groundbreaking portrayal of Nyota Uhura and for inspiring women and ethnic minorities to join NASA.
Several actors in the Star Trek franchise (including her surviving colleagues in The Original Series and subsequent films) also paid tribute to Nichols for being a pioneer and trailblazer in the franchise.
William Shatner, who plays Captain James T. Kirk, tweeted his condolence where he called her "an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US and throughout the world." His kissing scene with Nichols in The Original Series episode "Plato's Stepchildren" is cited as the first example of an interracial kiss on U.S. television.
Another Nichols' Star Trek co-star, George Takei, also paid tribute to the actress by calling her "trailblazing" and "incomparable."
Celia Rose Gooding, who currently plays Uhura in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, tweeted their tribute to their predecessor. "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," they wrote.
Kate Mulgrew, who played Kathryn Janeway (the first female captain to lead a show in the franchise), called her "a trailblazer who navigated a very challenging trail with grit, grace, and a gorgeous fire we are not likely to see again."
It is great to see these actors and colleagues pay tribute to the legacy and trailblazing career of Nichols, who will forever be part of the history of both the Star Trek franchise and the history of American television thanks to her groundbreaking casting in The Original Series during the 1960s.
There is no doubt that her portrayal of Uhura inspired millions of people around the world and her legacy will definitely live on after her passing. She will be missed by her family, friends, colleagues, and fans across generations.