avatar for Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Star Trek
2nd Floor Room F

Pensacon is pleased to welcome our first guest of 2015, a groundbreaking woman in many fields, the first lady of the Enterprise, Lt. Uhura herself, Nichelle Nichols!

Nichelle Nichols is an actress, singer, and voice artist, best known for her role as Uhura, a role that she portrayed for over 40 years in the original Star Trek television series, animated series, and film series. Prior to her acting career, Nichelle sang with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. Some of her other notable television, animation and film roles include: Heroes (Nana Dawson), Futurama (as herself in two episodes), Gargoyles: The Animated Series (Diane Maza), Batman: The Animated Series (Thoth-Kopeira), The Simpsons (as herself), Snow Dogs, Truck Turner (opposite Issac Hayes), Lady Magdalene’s, The Torturer, and The Cabonauts (CJ).

Nichelle’s acting career began in 1961 on stage in the musical Kicks and Co. She toured the United States, Canada and Europe as a singer with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton bands. On the West Coast, she appeared in The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd, For My People, and garnered high praise for her performance in the James Baldwin play Blues for Mister Charlie. Prior to being cast as Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek, Nichols was a guest actress on television producer Gene Roddenberry’s first series The Lieutenant. On Star Trek, Nichols gained popular recognition by being one of the first black women featured in a major television series not portraying a servant; her prominent supporting role as a bridge officer was unprecedented. Following the original Star Trek television series, she provided the voice of Uhura in Star Trek: The Animated Series and co-starred in six Star Trek motion pictures, the last one being Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

After the cancellation of Star Trek, Nichols volunteered her time in a special project with NASA to recruit minority and female personnel for the space agency, which proved to be a success. She began this work by making an affiliation between NASA and a company which she helped to run, Women in Motion. An enthusiastic advocate of space exploration, Nichols has served since the mid-1980s on the Board of Governors of the National Space Society, a nonprofit, educational space advocacy organization founded by Dr. Wernher von Braun. Always interested in space travel, Nichols flew aboard NASA’s C-141 Astronomy Observatory, which analyzed the atmospheres of Mars and Saturn on an eight-hour, high-altitude mission. She was also a special guest at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on July 17, 1976, to view the Viking 1 soft landing on Mars. Along with the other cast members from the original Star Trek series, she attended the christening of the first space shuttle, Enterprise, at the North American Rockwell assembly facility in Palmdale, California. On July 14, 2010, she toured the space shuttle simulator and Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center.

In 1994, Nichelle published her autobiography Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories. She has twice been nominated for the Sarah Siddons Award as best actress and is an accomplished dancer and singer. Her first Siddons nomination was for her portrayal of Hazel Sharpe in Kicks and Co. and the second for her performance in The Blacks. Nichols has released two music albums. Down to Earth is a collection of standards released in 1967, during the original run of Star Trek. Out of This World is more rock oriented and is themed around Star Trek and space exploration.

My Guests Sessions

Friday, February 27

3:30pm CST

Saturday, February 28

1:15pm CST

Sunday, March 1

11:30am CST