Actress Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lt. Nyota Uhura in the “Star Trek” TV series and in the follow-up films, suffered a stroke Wednesday and is at present convalescing at her Los Angeles home.
“She is awake, eating, in good spirits and able to have full conversations,” said Zachery McGinnis, her booking manager. He said the stroke was mild and that the 82-year-old actress began her therapy last Friday
Nichols’ “Star Trek” role was a turning point for black actresses for breaking stereotypes and earned her compliments from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who personally encouraged her to stay on with the show. In 1967, at a civil rights gathering, she met King while she had decided not to return for the second season of the show.
‘You cannot do that,’ was King’s advise to Nichols. “You’ve changed the face of television forever, and therefore, you’ve changed the minds of people,” she recalled the civil rights leader’s words to her.
Her character and William Shatner’s Capt. James Kirk, during the show’s third season, shared what was dubbed as the first ever interracial kiss to be aired in U.S. television series history. In that particular episode, their characters were forced into a kiss by aliens who controlled their actions.