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Biden marks the passing of ‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols: ‘Our nation has lost a trailblazer’


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President Biden released a statement late Sunday evening on the passing of actress Nichelle Nichols.

Nichols died Sunday at the age of 89. She was known for playing Lt. Nyota Uhura in all three seasons of the original “Star Trek” show, which ran from 1966 to 1969. She also starred in all six “Star Trek” movies from 1979 to 1991 .

“In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a pioneer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women,” President Biden said in the statement.

He said she was from a “working-class Illinois family” and honed her acting and singing skills in Chicago before touring the country with Duke Ellington and giving ” life to the words of James Baldwin”.

‘STAR TREK’ ACTRESS NICHELLE NICHOLS DEAD AT 89

‘Star Trek’ star Nichelle Nichols has died aged 89. The actress was known for her role as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura.
(Getty Pictures)

“At the height of the civil rights movement, she broke stereotypes to become the first black woman to play a major role on a primetime television show with her groundbreaking portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek,” said Biden said. “With defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries. And she carried on that legacy by continuing to work with NASA to empower generations of Americans of all horizons to reach the stars and beyond.”

Biden continued, “Our nation is forever indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who show us a future where unity, dignity and respect are the cornerstones of every society.”

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Biden marks the passing of ‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols: ‘Our nation has lost a trailblazer’

President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a meeting in the South Court Auditorium of the White House on July 28, 2022 in Washington, DC
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Nichols’ son Kyle shared the news of his death on Facebook, writing, “I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years. Last night my mother, Nichelle Nichols succumbed to natural causes and passed away, however her light, like the ancient galaxies seen now for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn and be inspired.

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He added: “Hers was a life well lived and as such a role model for all of us. I and the rest of our family would appreciate your patience and indulgence as we mourn her loss until we can recover enough to speak further. Her services will be for members of her family and closest friends and we ask that her and our privacy be respected.”

He signed with the signature “Star Trek”, “Live Long and Prosper”.

Memorial flowers will be placed on his Hollywood Walk of Fame star on Monday, August 1 at 1 p.m. The star was dedicated to Nichols on January 9, 1992.

Nichols has had other health issues in recent years and suffered a minor stroke in 2015. She also reportedly suffered from dementia and was embroiled in a conservatorship battle.

Biden marks the passing of ‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols: ‘Our nation has lost a trailblazer’

‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols has died aged 89. The star was pictured on day three of Los Angeles Comic Con 2021 held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on December 5, 2021.
(Albert L. Ortega)

She was rewarded for breaking stereotypes of black actresses, with the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. personally encouraging her to stay with the TV series when she expressed doubts about continuing to work on the program. She met him at a civil rights rally in 1967, at a time when she had decided not to return for the show’s second season.

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He said, “You can’t do that,” Nichols recalled. “You changed the face of television forever, and as a result, you changed people’s minds,” she said. the civil rights leader told him in a meeting.

During the third season of “Star Trek,” Nichols and fellow star of the show, William Shatner, who played Captain James Kirk, made television history when they shared an interracial kiss.

Fox News’ Tracy Wright and Larry Fink contributed to this report.

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