took the name Nichelle when she was a teenager. Her grandfather was a White Southerner who married a Black woman, causing a rift in his family.
Blessed with a four-octave vocal range, Nichols was performing in local clubs by the time she was 14. Among the performers she met was Duke Ellington, who later took her on tour. She also worked extensively in Chicago clubs and in theater.
She moved to Los Angeles in the early ’60s and landed a role in a Gene Roddenberry series, “The Lieutenant.” A number of “Star Trek” veterans, including Leonard Nimoy, Walter Koenig and Majel Barrett, also worked on the show.
Whoopi Goldberg, who later played Guinan on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” has described Uhura as a role model, recalling that she was astounded and excited to see a black woman character on television who was not a maid.
As well as working as an actress, Ms Nicholls also became an ambassador for the US space agency Nasa, helping to recruit women and minorities to its Space program.
NASA also honored the late Nichols via twitter:
“We celebrate the life of Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek actor, trailblazer, and role model, who symbolized to so many what was possible. She partnered with us to recruit some of the first women and minority astronauts, and inspired generations to reach for the stars.”