Nichelle Nichols was an American actress, singer, and dancer. She is best known for her role as Lieutenant Uhura in the original Star Trek series and its film sequels, and she has also appeared in numerous other movies and TV shows. She is an advocate for diversity in Hollywood and has received a number of awards and accolades over the course of her career.
Nichols grew up in Robbins, Illinois and pursued singing and dancing lessons from an early age. She worked with famous musicians such as Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington throughout her career. She began modeling and had a small acting career before getting her big break in 1961, when she appeared in the musical Kicks and Co. Hugh Hefner took notice of her performance and invited her to appear at his Chicago Playboy Club.
In addition to her acting, she was also involved in a special project with NASA, paving the way for more women of color to work in the space industry. She flew onboard the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy Boeing 747SP to study Saturn and Mars, and she attended the christening of Enterprise, the first space shuttle, in 1976.
Her most prominent role was as Uhura in the original Star Trek series, and she reprised the character in six films. Her acting career led to a number of awards and accolades, including the Goldene Kamera for Kultstar des Jahrhunderts and an honorary degree from Los Angeles Mission College. Nichols was also a frequent guest at Star Trek conventions, and she retired from the circuit in 2021.
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