Nichelle Williams: Hollywood Mourning Champion, Actor of Star Trek

J.J. Abrams, Stacey Abrams and More Pay Tribute to Nichelle Nichols: “Champion, Warrior and Tremendous Actor”

The actress, who made history for portraying the communications officer Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek, died Saturday at 89.


Nichols died Saturday of natural causes at age 89, her son, Kyle Johnson, posted on Facebook.

“Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration,” he wrote Sunday. “Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”

President Biden

Among those paying tribute to Nichols was President Joe Biden, who praised her as a “trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women.” His statement continued about her Star Trek role, “With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries. She continued this legacy by going on to work with NASA to empower generations of Americans from every background to reach for the stars and beyond.”

Remembering Nichols was the team behind Woman in Motion, a 2021 documentary film highlighting her efforts to help recruit people of color to work for NASA. “Nichelle, we will eternally be grateful for the opportunity to tell your story and share it with the world,” director and producer Todd Thompson said in a statement. “You entertained us, you inspired us, you showed all humankind how easy it can be to love and respect one another, live long and prosper.”

Many in Hollywood took to social media to express their condolences, including her Star Trek co-star George Takei. Read on to see their tributes to the actress.