Star Wars fans are mourning the loss of Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Nyota Uhuru in the original series and its film sequels, following her death on July 30 of natural causes. Among mourners are franchise stars past and present as well as other celebrities who were inspired by Nichols, a trailblazing actress who also played an integral role in recruiting diverse astronauts for NASA.
Leading the tributes was George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu alongside Nichols.
“I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89. For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend,” Takei shared via Twitter.
“We lived long and prospered together,” he added.
“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. Forget shaking the table, she built it! #RIPNichelleNichols”
Star Trek: Voyager star Kate Mulgrew shared, “Nichelle Nichols was The First. She was a trailblazer who navigated a very challenging trail with grit, grace, and a gorgeous fire we are not likely to see again.May she Rest In Peace.”
J.J. Abrams and Alex Kurtzman, who are behind the 2009 film Star Trek and its follow-up Star Trek Into Darkness, tributed Nichols via Twitter.
“A remarkable woman in a remarkable role. Nichelle, you will be deeply missed. Sending much love and respect,” Abrams posted.
Kurtzman wrote, “Nichelle was a singular inspiration. She’s the one who really opened my eyes to what Star Trek is and can be. I can’t tell you how many people have told me she’s the reason they became… an astronaut, a scientist, a writer, a linguist, an engineer… it goes on and on.” We stand in her light and honor her today and every day. Thank you, dear Nichelle, for leading the way.”
More tributes can be found below.