Writer Fondly Recalls 1989 Interview with “Star Trek” Icon Nichelle Nichols
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The “Star Trek” multiverse recently lost one of its brightest stars when Nichelle Nichols, the actress who portrayed Communications Officer, Lt. Nyota Uhura on the USS Enterprise in the original series and in six subsequent movies, passed away July 30 at age 89.
Her death was particularly touching for Dale King, a writer for South Florida Theatre Magazine, who, as a staff reporter years back at the Pawtucket (R.I.) Times, interviewed her for a newspaper feature. The story appeared April 21, 1989, the day before Ms. Nichols made a guest appearance at a Star Trek Convention at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence.
Not only did he speak to her via telephone to prepare the article, he delivered copies of the newspaper to her during the convention. She was so pleased with the story that she asked King to sit with her as she signed autographs for the hundreds of Trekkers attending the event.
Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura was groundbreaking for African American actresses on American television. In addition, from 1977 until 2015, Nichols volunteered her time to promote NASA‘s programs and to recruit diverse astronauts, including women and ethnic minorities.
King’s story, in its original form, appears below. We thank Carrie Anne Perez, MLIS, ILIC, reference librarian at the Pawtucket (R.I.) Public Library, who retrieved the article from a microfilm file.
We also extend our condolences to Ms. Nichols’ family, and comment with pride that the character of Lt. Uhura will “live long and prosper.” Actress Zoe Saldana portrayed Uhura in the three “Star Trek” films starring Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, and Celia Rose Gooding has assumed the role in the new TV series, “Star Trek, Strange New Worlds.”