Nichelle Nichols, the actress known for her role as Lt. Nootka Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series, has died. She was 89.
Nichols was widely known as one of the first black female actresses to earn a major role in a film.
Throughout her life, Nichols was also vocal about her faith, Faithwire reports.
Following Nichols’ passing, Dylan Novak, known as the “Celebrity Evangelist,” recalled in a Sunday Facebook post that he met her in 2016 at a comic convention. This was when he learned that she was a believer.
“No fan has ever cared about my eternal life before,” Novak said she told him.
“She went on to share her testimony of coming to know Jesus s her personal Lord and Savior,” Novak said. “She asked if I was going to share Jesus with William (Shatner), who was at the same comic con. I told her I was, and she handed me $100 and said, ‘It’s on me. Go show him Jesus’ love.”
After Star Trek, Nichols went on to help NASA recruit diverse astronauts. In its own statement, NASA called Nichols an “inspiration to many.”
Others also took to social media to express their condolences about 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,” George Takei wrote on Twitter. Takei co-starred with Nichols as USS Enterprise’s helmsman Hikaru Sulu.
“For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend. We lived long and prospered together,” he said.
Nichols was born in 1932 in Chicago and was singing in local clubs by the time she was 14.
She also helped develop the name for her Star Trek persona. She was reportedly reading a book called “Uhuru,” the Swahili word for “freedom,” and suggested the term as her character’s name.
“I said, ‘Well, why don’t you do an alteration of it, soften the end with an ‘A,’ and it’ll be Uhura?’” Nichols said in a previous interview.
“He said, ‘That’s it, that’s your name! You named it; it’s yours!’”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chelsea Guglielmino/Staff
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.