Nichols died from pure causes, he stated.
Nichols portrayed communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura within the “Star Trek” TV sequence and plenty of of its movie offshoots.
When “Star Trek” started in 1966, Nichols was a tv rarity: a Black lady in a notable function on a prime-time tv sequence. There had been African-American ladies on TV earlier than, however they usually performed home staff and had small roles; Nichols’ Uhura was an integral a part of the multicultural “Star Trek” crew.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as it “the primary non-stereotypical function portrayed by a Black lady in tv historical past.”
After “Trek’s” three-season run, Nichols devoted herself to the house program. She helped NASA in making the company extra numerous, serving to to recruit astronauts Sally Experience, Judith Resnik and Guion Bluford, amongst others.
George Takei, who portrayed the USS Enterprise’s helmsman Hikaru Sulu, posted a touching tribute to his co-star.
“We lived lengthy and prospered collectively,” he added with a photograph of the pair making the long-lasting Vulcan salute.
Nichols was born Grace Dell Nichols close to Chicago in 1932. (Sad with Grace, she took the identify Nichelle when she was a young person.) Her grandfather was a White Southerner who married a Black lady, inflicting a rift in his household.
She moved to Los Angeles within the early ’60s and landed a job in a Gene Roddenberry sequence, “The Lieutenant.” A lot of “Star Trek” veterans, together with Leonard Nimoy, Walter Koenig and Majel Barrett, additionally labored on the present.
When Roddenberry was creating “Trek,” he remembered Nichols. She was in Europe when she received the decision.
Uhura wasn’t within the unique script, and Nichols was liable for the identify. She was studying a ebook referred to as “Uhuru” — “freedom” in Swahili — and steered her character take the identify. Roddenberry thought it was too harsh.
“I stated, ‘Properly, why do not you do an alteration of it, soften the tip with an ‘A,’ and it will be Uhura?’ ” she recalled. “He stated, ‘That is it, that is your identify! You named it; it is yours.’ ”
Nichols is survived by her son, Kyle Johnson.