- Also Known As:
- Lieutenant Uhura
- Date of Birth:
- December 2, 1932
- 5' 5"
Nichelle Nichols (born Grace Dell Nichols on December 2, 1932 in Robbins, Illinois) is an American actress, singer and voice artist. As a young girl, Nichelle studied dance at the Chicago Ballet Academy and wanted to perform on Broadway. While growing up, she admired female vocalists Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt and Mahalia Jackson. At the age of 16, she sang with Duke Ellington and danced to a ballet made for one of his musical compositions. Her early career included a handful of small film roles but her breakout came in 1966, when she was cast as Lieutenant Uhura on the original series of Star Trek. Nichelle’s portrayal was groundbreaking at the time, as she was an African-American woman in a confident, authoritative role. She considered leaving after the first season, but a conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in which he encouraged her to stay, changed her mind. She would remain with the show up until it’s cancellation in 1969. She would also appear in six Star Trek movies. Nichelle’s non Star Trek roles include Nana Dawson on the NBC TV series, Heroes, the film Snow Dogs and as the character of Miss Mables in Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet?
Best Known For:
Nichelle Nichols is best known as Lieutenant Uhura on the original series of Star Trek.
After Star Trek, Nichelle volunteered her time to NASA to recruit minority and female personnel for the space agency. Her efforts were successful, as she helped recruit Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut. She has served on the Board of Governors of the National Space Society since the mid 1980’s. Nichelle claimed she had an affair with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. She married dancer Foster Johnson in 1951, but it ended in less than a year. She and Foster have a son name Kyle. She married songwriter Duke Mondy in 1967. They split five years later.