Nichelle Nichols was born in Robbins, Illinois on December 28, 1933. Nichelle has appeared in the role of Carmen for a Chicago stock company production of "Carmen Jones." She has twice been nominated for the Sara Siddon Award as best actress. Her first Siddon nomination was for her portrayal of Hazel Sharp in "Kicks and Co." and the second for her performance in "The Blacks." Nichelle's other stage works include "Roar of the Grease Paint, Smell of the Crowd," "For My People" and "Blues for Mr. Charlie." She received rave reviews for her performance in "Horowitz and Mrs. Washington" and starred in "Reflections" at the Westwood Playhouse, a cabaret-style show in which Nichelle saluted her most notable influences by channeling legendary female entertainers.
In 1964 Nichelle landed a guest starring role in Gene Roddenberry’s series “The Lieutenant.” In 1966 she would land a historical role as Lt. Nyota Uhura in the science fiction series “Star Trek.” “Star Trek” was the first to feature a regular black role and Nichelle became a role model for African-American women across the country. She broke ground by being half of television's first interracial kiss with co-star William Shatner. Nichelle almost abandoned the part when she learned the network was withholding racially charged mail from less enlightened viewers who were angry at seeing a capable, competent black woman in a command position. But Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. convinced her that her very presence on the Enterprise was revolutionary, with long-ranging effects of the perception of African Americans. When the series ended in 1969 Nichelle went on to star in six Star Trek feature films. She also provided the voice for Lt. Uhura on the Star Trek animated series in 1974-75.
Nichelle has appeared in a number of films including “Porgy and Bess,” “Truck Turner,” “The Supernaturals,” “Snow Dogs” and “Are We There Yet.” Her Star Trek film appearances include “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan,” “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” and “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”
Besides acting Nichelle is also an accomplished singer. While in New York Nichelle appeared at the Blue Angel and Playboy Clubs as a singer and she toured the United States, Canada and Europe as a singer with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton bands. She released a single “Shoop Shoop” and released an album “Dark Side of the Moon.”
Some of Nichelle's hobbies are oil painting, designing her own clothes, reading science fiction and sculpting. Her biography "Beyond Uhura" was published in 1994.
Nichelle has been married twice and she has a son Kyle. In 1997 her brother Thomas Alva Nichols committed suicide with 38 other members of the Heaven's Gate near San Diego, CA.
Nichelle's film credits include the following:
- Escape From Heaven (2007)
- Lady Magdalene's (2006)
- Are We There Yet? (2005)
- Surge of Power (2004)
- Snow Dogs (2002)
- Gargoyles: Brothers Betrayed (1998)(Voice)
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
- The Supernaturals (1986)
- Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984)
- Antony & Cleopatra (1983)(Tv Movie)
- Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
- Truck Turner (1974)
- Tarzan's Deadly Silence (1970)
- Tarzan's & The Blue Stone of Heaven (1967)
- Mister Buddwing (1966)
- Made In Paris (1966)
- Great Gettin' Up Mornin (1964)(Tv Movie)
- Porgy & Bess (1959)
Check out the following sites for additional information about Nichelle:
Nichelle Nichols Interview@BBC Online
Nichelle Nichols Interview
Nichelle Nichols@Memory Alpha
Nichelle Nichols@Internet Movie Database