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Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols will always be Commander Uhura to legions of Star Trek fans, but her extensive resume showcases her many other talents. In addition to acting, Nichols has established herself as a singer, writer and gifted stage performer.

Born in Robbins, Illinois, Nichols started her career at age 16. She got her first big break touring with Duke Ellington, and also sang with Lionel Hampton. Her performances took her across the United States, through Canada and to Europe. She performed in "The Roar of the Grease Paint, the Smell of the Crowd and For My People, and also starred in James Baldwin's play Blues for Mr. Charlie."

She soon found herself before the camera, starring on Gene Roddenberry's series The Lieutenant. Her next starring role cemented her in pop culture history as Lt. Nyota Uhura on the science-fiction series Star Trek.

The series was the first to feature a regular black role, and Nichols became a role model for African-American women across the country. She broke ground by being half of television's first interracial kiss, with co-star William Shatner. When the series ended in 1969, Nichols went on to star in six Star Trek feature films. She has also appeared in The Supernaturals and most recently in Snow Dogs alongside Cuba Gooding Jr.

Nichols is also an accomplished stage performer. She has been nominated twice for the Sarah Siddons Award for Best Actress, for her performances in Kicks and Company and The Blacks. She received rave reviews for her performance in Horowitz and Mrs. Washington and starred in Reflections at the Westwood Playhouse, a cabaret-style show in which Nichols saluted her most notable influences by channeling legendary female entertainers.

To the pleasure of many Star Trek fans, Nichols released her autobiography Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memoirs in 1994. She followed up her writing debut with the science-fiction novel Saturn's Child, which was a hit among sci-fi fans.

Nichols is also a noted philanthropist. She received the NASA Public Service Award for her efforts in recruiting minorities to space study, and she continues to serve as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Space Society and as a member of the Advisory Board of the International Space Camp.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Nichelle Nichols Facts

OccupationActress
BirthdayDecember 28, 1933 (83)
SignCapricorn
BirthplaceRobbins, Illinois, USA
Height5' 5" (1m65)  How tall is Nichelle Nichols compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Not available.