Dec. 28th, 1932
Robbins, Illinois, USA
Nichelle Nichols' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Nichelle Nichols is an American actress from Robbins, Illinois. She is most famous for portraying communications officer Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and the first six Star Trek movies. She also provided the voices for a number of other characters on the animated series.
Hailing from Robbins, Illinois, USA, Ms. Nichols was discovered by jazz legend Duke Ellington in her mid-teens, Nichols toured with both Ellington and Lionel Hampton as a lead singer and dancer. She broke into acting in the film Porgy and Bess (1959, with Sammy Davis, Jr., Loulie Jean Norman, and Brock Peters) and has had an acting career lasting over 45 years.
Her first television role was on The Lieutenant (1964, which was written and produced by Gene Roddenberry and featured Gary Lockwood and Don Marshall). She has also made TV appearances as herself in It Takes Two (1969), Head of the Class (1988), and Weakest Link (2002); she also voiced animated versions of herself on The Simpsons (2004) and in two episodes of Futurama (2000, 2002).
She appeared as Ruana in two Tarzan films: Tarzan's Jungle Rebellion (1967, with fellow Star Trek actor Lloyd Haynes, William Marshall, and Jason Evers); and Tarzan's Deadly Silence (1970, with Robert DoQui). These were episodes from the Tarzan TV series edited together and released as films.
She also appeared in the TV movies Gettin' Up Mornin' (1964, with Davis Roberts and Don Marshall) and William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (1983, with Ted Sorel, Earl Boen, Barrie Ingham, Dan Mason, James Avery, and her original series co-star Walter Koenig).
Aside from the first six Star Trek films, her other film credits include: Made in Paris (1966, with Jack Perkins), the blaxploitation classic Truck Turner (1974, with Dick Miller), Mister Buddwing (1966, with Ken Lynch, Bart Conrad, and Charles Seel), The Supernaturals (1986, with LeVar Burton and Jessie Lawrence Ferguson), Disney's Snow Dogs (2002), and, most recently, Are We There Yet? (2005, with Jerry Hardin). Nichols co-produced and plays the title role in the yet-to-be-released Lady Magdalene's.
In 2006, Nichols returned to the role of Uhura in the fan film, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.
In August 2007, it was announced that Nichols would have a recurring role in the hit NBC series Heroes.  She was the second star of Star Trek: The Original Series to appear on the series, after George Takei. Star Trek: Enterprise star Dominic Keating also had a recurring role on the series and Star Trek star Zachary Quinto returned in his famous role as the villainous Sylar. Other performers who appeared on the show during the second season included Joanna Cassidy and regular Christine Rose.
Her role as Uhura on Star Trek was one of the first times that an African-American actress portrayed a non-stereotypical role. Previously, most African-American female characters on American television were depicted as maids or housekeepers, and Nichols' role helped break that stereotype barrier. Years later, Whoopi Goldberg told Nichols about excitedly watching Uhura, as a child, and telling her mother "Come quick! Come quick! There's a black lady on TV, and she ain't no maid!" She participated with series star William Shatner in another breakthrough, with American "episodic" television's first interracial kiss between fictional characters, as seen in the original series episode "Plato's Stepchildren". (Nancy Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. had openly kissed months earlier in a musical-variety special broadcast by NBC on December 11, 1967, entitled Movin' With Nancy.)
She became the first African-American actress to place her handprints in front of Hollywood's Chinese Theatre, along with the rest of the Star Trek cast. In 1992, she earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
After meeting Nichols at a Star Trek convention in 1975, scientist Dr. Jesco von Puttkamer suggested the actress to spearhead NASA's recruitment drive. Nichols took up the role in 1977, making recruitment and training films, and supervising astronaut recruits and hopefuls. She noted that the applicant count went from less than 100 a year to 1,649 within six months. Most of the recruits that she launched were women or from ethnic minorities. For her efforts, Nichols was named as NASA's 'Woman of the Year' in 1979. Nichols is good friends with former NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison. Dr. Jemison was a fan of the original Star Trek and was inspired by Nichols when she decided to become the first African-American female astronaut. Jemison herself appeared in TNG: "Second Chances".
- Author of a book, "Saturn's Child".
- Parents: Samuel Earl and Lishia Nichols.
- With _"Star Trek" (1966)_ (qv) co-star 'William Shatner' (qv), she shared the first on-screen kiss between a black female and white male on American television. This resulted in a deluge of mail - 99% of which was positive.
- (March 1997) Her younger brother Thomas commited suicide with the cult members in Rancho Santa Fe, near San Diego.
- In early 1951 at age 18, she married a dancer who was 15 years her senior. Within four months they split and in August of 1951 she bore his son. She remarried in 1968, this time to a songwriter, but that marriage also ended in divorce a few years later.
- Discovered by 'Duke Ellington' (qv) in her mid-teens, she toured with both Ellington and 'Lionel Hampton' (qv) as a lead singer and dancer. Decades later, in 1992, she went back to her singing "roots", starring in a dramatic one-woman musical show called "Reflections", in which she became 12 separate song legends. She was also able to use her singing skills a few times in the _"Star Trek" (1966)_ (qv) series'.
- Became the first African-American to place her handprints in front of Hollywood's Chinese Theatre, along with the rest of the _"Star Trek" (1966)_ (qv) crew. In 1992 she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Made both her first (Star Trek, Season 1, Episode 10: entitled "The Corbomite Manoeuvre") and last (_Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)_ (qv)) "Star Trek" appearances with 'DeForest Kelley' (qv).